“To any artist worthy of name all in nature is beautiful, because his eyes fearlessly accepting all exterior truth, read there as in an open book all the inner truth.”
– Auguste Rodin
Eye-How important in life:
It is very difficult to imagine the very existence of mankind without eyesight. Thus one has to admit the sayings of Vogbhatacharya- “SARVENDRIYANAM NAYANAM PRADHANAM.”
Eyes are the most important and beautiful among five sensory organs. It is said that 80% of the knowledge we gain is through our eyes. It is needless to mention here the worth and praise about the eyes. Even though our eyes are one of the most important organs in our body, yet people neglect to care about them and rarely pay attention until there is some serious problem.
The number of blind people across the globe is not within the exact realms of counts. However from time to time the World Health Organization provides the estimate. At present, an estimated 180 million people worldwide are visually disabled, of whom 45 million are blind.
Mind & Eye:
According to Ayurveda, the eye is connected directly with the brain. It is a highly sensitive organ, very closely related to the functioning of the mind. The mind is not visible, but its activity can be partially monitored by observing the eyes. Fear, grief, lust, anger, peace, happiness, and suffering reveal the state of the mind as they alter the facial muscles around the eyes. Observation of the patient’s eyes is very important for the Vaidya (Ayurvedic doctor) to understand physiological problems.
According to Ayurveda:
The vision through the eye is governed by the energy of the Fire Element. The eye captures within itself the Fire of the universe, allowing perception of the constant and ever-changing flux of colors and shapes of objects. Any radiation of heat or light, whether originating from the sun or from an electric filament belongs to the Fire Element. Because it captures Fire and heat, the physical structure of the eye requires immersing the cornea, lens and retina in the cooling liquid aqueous and vitreous humors. This is the Ayurvedic explanation as to why the eye is so adversely affected by excess heat.
General Causes of eye diseases:
- Vata, Pitta and Kapha (the three humors or three doshas) are responsible for normal functioning of the body, but when vitiated lead to diseases. The function of Doshas is different from organ to organ. There is a specific group of factors which are responsible for vitiation of doshas in the eye.
- Due to sudden changes in temperature the eyes would be subjected to a lot of strain that can be a cause for eye disorders e.g.: – cold water bath when body is hot
- Persons who are usually engaged in looking for distant objects are more prone to eye disorders.
- Alteration of sleep pattern due to shift duties etc. disturbs the biorhythm which can lead to strain on the eyes leading to ocular disorders.
- Worrying too much over tensions or crying for a long period or getting angry quite frequently may lead to increase in vitiated Vata dosha and hence lead to ocular disorders.
- Some traumatic injuries are also cause eye disorders.
- Indulging in excessive sexual intercourse lead to vitiation of doshas that can be a cause of ocular disorders.
- Excessive consumption of sour food items leads to increase of vitiated pitta which cause eye disorder.
- Suppression of natural urges like urine, feces, tears, appetite, thirst, sleep etc. may be a reason for eye disorders.
- Too much sauna or steam bath.
- Excessive smoking, alcohol, environmental pollution.
- People working in the field of microscopy, diamond cutting, x-ray welding etc. are more prone to eye disorders,
- People working in front of computers, televisions, films etc. are more prone to eye disease.
- Reading in wrong position, reading in vehicles.
- Using too big and too small pillows.
According to Ayurveda due to various above-mentioned causes, doshas (Vata, pitta and Kapha) get vitiated and affects the eyes.
Abnormal Conditions of the EYE:
Gradually Diminishing Vision- is the most common complaint patient comes to the eye clinic of Ayurveda Faculty irrespective of Chronicity, Stage and Progression with an age group usually varying between 6-60 years. Many patients also approach Ayurvedic treatment in very late stages, after undergoing the medications and surgeries of allied sciences with poor results, sometimes with late post operative complications disturbing the visual acuity.
Many Eye problems look minor and fleeting at initial period. But most of them lead to permanent loss of vision. Eye problems commonly included are:
- Pathological Myopia (Short Sightedness)
- Cataract (Clouded Lenses)
- Glaucoma (Pressure in the eyeball)
- Diabetic Retinopathy (Diabetic Eye)
- Retinitis Pigmentosa (Night Blindness)
- Age related Macular Degeneration
- Retinal Detachment
As the days are passing with growing generation and changing life styles, people experience more eye problems (IT professionals, those who do lots of traveling & stressful jobs) along with their routine activities which in later leads to impairment in the quality of vision.
- Computer Vision Syndrome
- Dry Eye Syndrome
- Conjunctivitis (Allergic or infective)
- Contact Lens Induced Complications
- Eye strain/ Pain/ Pins and Needles in the Eyes.
Your best defense is to have regular checkups, because eye diseases do not always have symptoms. Early detection and treatment could prevent vision loss to its maximum. The clinical features which need attention to the Eyes are:
- Gradual loss of Vision or Dim Vision
- Distorted Vision
- Colored halos around the Light
- Black Spots or Floaters in front of the Eyes
- Flashes of Light in front of the Eyes
- Diplopia or double Vision
- Pain and redness of the Eyes
- Watering of the Eyes
- Asthenopic Symptoms (Refers to Mild eye ache, head ache and Tiredness of the Eyes)
Principles of Ayurvedic eye treatment at IVAC:
According to Ayurveda, eye diseases are manifestations of imbalance of ‘doshas’ within the human body and therefore, needn’t be viewed in isolation. Most eye ailments witnessed today are unfortunately lifestyle related. Early detection of ailments helps in faster and better recovery. If treated early, Ayurveda strengthens the nervous system and prevents degeneration of the optic nerves and thereby arresting the progression of the disease. Methods explained in Ayurveda are perfectly effective and is a great hope to humanity to recover their lost eyesight.
Indus Valley Ayurvedic Centre provides Complete Ayurveda through Internal Medications & Therapies for the eye diseases, which are challenging, under the supervision of Specialist Ayurvedic Consultant. Ayurveda is the world’s oldest and most complete system of natural health care.
A special attention has been given to Netra Kriya Kalpas -the Ocular therapeutics for eye disorders in the classics Sushrutha Samhitha. These are the local external therapies (pertaining to site) administered based on the Clinical features and diagnosis along with treatment modalities like Panchakarma/detoxification and Internal Medications accordingly.
The kriyakalpas include, Aschyotana, Seka, bidalaka, Pindi, Tharpana, Putapaka, Anjana.
- Aschyotana- Medicated drops into the eye.
- Seka- pouring of liquid in thin stream over the closed eye from a height of four inches height. Indicated in Inflammatory conditions (Pitta Vitiation).
- Bidalaka- Application of a paste over the eye lids except the area of eye lashes. Best in Lid disorders
- Pindi- Poultice i.e. drug, tied with cloth, kept over the eyes. Useful in abhishyandi (conjunctivitis) and vranas (Ulcers) of the eyes. (beneficial in kapha pitta disorders)
- Tharpana- Unctuous substance is kept on the eyes for stipulated period of time by constructing the wall around the eyes with flour. Indicated in all the degenerative disorders, Inflammatory & chronic disorders.
- Putapaka- Similar as tarpana, the medicine is extracted by a special method called Putapaka. Usually done after tharpana.
- Anjana-Application of medicine to the internal surface of lid margin. Used as treatment & also as preventive measures. Useful in ocular growths, opacity, Kapha predominant condition.
The treatments described in Ayurveda for various conditions are, Jaloukavacharan (leech applications), Agni karma (cauterization) and surgical procedures like Lekhana (scrapping method in the lid disorders), Chedana (excision method to cut off unwanted growth), Bhedhana (Incision & removing the contents in inflammatory conditions), Vyadhana (piercing method to clear the channels specially in Cataract).
Preservation of good eyesight is almost impossible without proper eye education. The greater the knowledge of Eyes better is the eyesight preserved.
- By blinking eyes, work under rest.
- Reading fine print daily is extremely beneficial to the eyes.
- Facing the morning sun with eyes closed for a few minutes improve the health of the eyes.
- Regular eye exercise maintains perfect eyesight. One simple method of exercise is moving of eyeball – right and left, upwards and down wards and rotating it in the clockwise and anti clockwise direction.
- Closing the eyes and covering them with palms of hands in such a way that there is no pressure on the eyeball and no light enters the eyes for a few minutes called Palming makes the mind quiet and gives good relaxation as it is a well-known fact that vision is a process of mental interpretation.
- Massaging the feet with medicated oil regularly maintains the quality of Vision.
- One shouldn’t strain the eyes continuously for a long time particularly by watching television or working on computers.
- If there is blurring of vision one must not waste time and seek help of an eye consultant.
- Carrot, milk, Wheat, unpolished rice, green gram, grapes, asparagus, pomegranate, green leafy vegetables, sugar cane, ghee, honey, gooseberry, rock salt, sesame oil, moringa leaves are good for the eyes.
- Consume less salty, sour and spicy food.
- Some Yogic exercises like Thratakam and Nethi are very good for eye health. These exercises will increase strength of muscles of eye and will increase the blood circulation.
Some home remedies:
- Eating a fresh gooseberry fruit every day keep the eyes healthy.
- Triphala powder (powder of gooseberry, terminalia cebula, terminalia bullerica) should be consumed with honey and pure ghee at nighttime. It will rejuvenate the eye.
- Ayurvedic preparation Saptamruthalauha vati, Jeevanthyadi gritham, is good for maintaining good ocular health.
- Place cold-water pack or rose water pack on closed eyes for 10-15 mins especially in summer.
- Putting one drop of honey in each eye once a week is also beneficial to the eyes, it cleans the eyes.
Yoga for Eye Diseases:
Since the ancient times yoga has helped to improve the physical as well as the mental condition of an individual. Also in yoga are various measures which when followed result in great benefit in various disorders. Various yogic practices that were followed for eye care were Yoga sun gazing, Eye accommodation, Eye squeezing, nasal massage, head lift techniques and various other measures.
Yoga Sun Gazing:
In yoga, sun gazing was used as a means to completely fill the body, mind and soul with the healing solar light and meditate. The most appropriate way to do so was to go outside at sunrise or sunset when the solar light is orange or reddish orange in color and rays coming out are a bit weaker in strength one must open his eyes wide taking in nine deep breaths (inhaling and exhaling gently) while looking towards the sun. Feel the energy of sun traveling through your body into various systems and Chakras. After this, gently cover your eyes with your palms for a few minutes. Relaxing your eyes and releasing out the stress and tension in your mind, and eyes. But while performing this gaze one must take care not to gaze to long and also the strength of sun rays should be appropriate to gaze on (sunset or sunrise).
Accommodation Exercises for Eye (Improving the distant vision):
Various yogic exercises benefit the eyes by means of giving strength to the eye muscles as well as improving the eye sight. Thus these exercises help the human eye to improve its ability to change its focus and see distant objects clearly. As with progressive age we know that the accommodative eye muscles get weakened. But if an individual continues to use and exercise these muscles regularly eye sight will remain strong throughout the life. This must be done outside with proper light available or in a well-lit room. Hold a card or place it at a distance now look and read out the letters on it after a while start looking at an object at least 20 feet away e.g. a car, building or tree. Repeat this three to four times a day. Then look at an object about 20 to 30 feet away than the first object. Repeat the eye movements back and forth at least three times. Continue to do looking at objects to a further distance.
Accommodation Exercise for Eye (Improving the near vision):
Pick up a distant object at the distance of 20 feet or more and hold in your hands letters in black clear enough to be seen. Hold a card at the eye level at arms length. Now look at the distant object for few moments now move your eyes back to the letter on the card. Further now look towards outside as far as you can for a while now look back at your card for a while repeat this in same way by first looking at the card and the at a distance further then the previous. And then at a point when you stop seeing or vision is blurred now close your eyes for a few moments relaxing them.
Now begin rubbing your hands and palms together with each other so they get warm enough now place these palms onto each of your eyes. Relaxing and chanting “OM”.
Eyes easily can tell us that they have had enough of the staring at the computer monitor or the TV screen. As also when you are working, your eyes do not tend to blink as much as they do normally. And so they tend to become dry. Also working for a long period in front of the computer screen tends to limit the movement of the eye balls. Therefore, to be relieved from this eye strain, following measures can be followed as mentioned or described in yogic exercises or asanas.
- Keep the eyes open.
- Lift your eyes up and then lower them.
- Continue to do this 10- 12 times without blinking. The movements of the eyes should be steady and relaxed.
This technique is capable of obliterating the diseases of the eye. This kriya also improves vision, aids in concentration and purifies the mind.
- Sit on the floor in a comfortable position with the spine erect.
- Keep the eyes open and fix your gaze on any object like a candle or a picture of ‘Om’.
- Without blinking, gaze steadily at the object till tears flow from the eyes. Do not strain the eyes and breathe deeply.
Aanas Beneficial in Eye Diseases:
- Hastapadasana (Hands to feet pose)
- Arda chakrasana (Backward bend)
- Shashankasana (Sitting moon pose)
- Makarasana (crocodile pose)
- Bhujangasana (cobra pose)
Pranayama and Meditation:
After Trataka, one can try to concentrate on the tip of the nose or on the point between the eyebrows. The point between the eyebrows is called the third eye center or Agnya chakra. According to yogis, concentrating on this chakra prepares the mind for meditation.
The period of meditation is preceded by pranayama. This means simple breathing exercises that involve drawing in the breath to a count of 4, holding the breath to a count of 4 and releasing the breath to a count of 4, which marks as one practice; 4:4:4 is the ratio to be maintained for this breathing exercise.
- Inhalation- 4 counts
- Retention- 4 counts
- Exhalation-4 counts
Anuloma viloma pranayam is highly beneficial for eye sight.
After pranayama, one can start to meditate on the divine within. Restless thoughts must be gently pushed away; concentration on the sound of ‘Om’ produces peace and tranquility in the mind of the practitioner.
Benefits of Yoga Exercises for Eye Care:
- Helps improve vision.
- Helps improve focus.
- Helps strengthen the eye muscles.
- Helps coordination between both eyes.
Helps relax the eyes by relieving tension and stress in the eyes muscles.