Achieve Optimal Vision with Ayurvedic Eye Care
The eye is one of the five sense organs in the body. The organ through which we see this world. The organ which in the science of Ayurveda is said to be the seat of Alochaka pitta. It has been given prime importance in Ayurveda and quotes as “Sarvendriyanaam Nayanam Pradhanam”, which means among all the Indriya (sense organs), Nayana (eye) is the most important organ.
There is a separate branch of Ayurveda that deals with the study of the eye, its diseases, and its management. This branch is called ‘Shalakya Tantra’. Various scholars of Ayurveda have described preventive measures for eye diseases and measures for eye care. Today’s world always witnesses a fast-paced life and due to digitalization, the harmful rays emitted out of various electronic devices like cell phones, laptops, personal computers, etc. have led to various eye disorders both anatomically and physiologically.
Modalities for Ayurvedic Eye Care
Before we know the modalities for ayurvedic eye care, it is important to know the causes of eye disorders. Untimely sleep, disturbed sleep, watching very far objects, watching very near and very minute objects, indulging in incompatible food habits, excess anger-grief-worry, suppression of natural urges like tears, sneezing, coughing, etc. exposure to very bright and hot sunlight, exposure to water immediately after exposure to sunlight, continuous watching of televisions, watching televisions very closely, exposure to electronic gadgets like mobile phones, personal computers, laptops, etc. are the causes for eye disorders.
Nidana parivarjana (avoiding the causative factors) is the first line of preventive and curative aspects for any disease. The pioneers of Ayurveda have highlighted the importance of Dinacharya (daily regimen) for eye care. Some opine that the application of collyrium or Anjana at the beginning of the day is a preventive measure and some others say Netra Prakshalana (Eye Wash).
Eye wash (Netra Prakshalana)
Eye wash is the cleansing of the eyes with medicated decoction. It cleanses dust, and foreign particles, corrects refractive errors, helpful in painful conditions of the eye.
Application of collyrium to the eyes as a daily regimen is one of the preventive aspects. There are two ways of applying collyrium, one is the medically processed antimony sulphide called Sauveeranjana and the other is the extracts from the plant Berberis aristata known as Rasanjana. Sauveeranjana is applied to eyelashes regularly and Rasanjana is practiced once a week. This stimulates the kapha dosha and excretes the dirt from the eyes in the form of tears, reducing burning sensation, itching, redness, dryness, and excess moistness of the eyes.
Intake of warm water either through the nose or mouth (Ushnajalapana or Nasajalapana)
Intake of warm water either through the nose or mouth early morning cleanses the dirt from the nose, the eyes, and the gastrointestinal tract.
Holding liquid medicine in the mouth (Kavala and Gandusha)
Holding liquid medicine in the mouth without movements is Gandusha and with movements is Kavala and then spitting out. These procedures can be done two to three times a day for good eyesight.
Head Bath (Shira Snana)
A head shower or bath with cold or lukewarm water is healthy for the eyes and be done regularly or thrice a week.
Head Massage (Shiro Abhyanga)
Head massage with medicated oil or coconut oil daily or on alternative days helps for good eyesight and good sleep.
Foot Massage (Pada Abhyanga)
Foot Massage is good for vision, massage of oil over the soles is helpful.
Washing Feet (Pada Prakshalana)
Washing the feet is always beneficial for clear vision.
Wearing footwear (Padatra Dharana)
The use of footwear is one of the preventive methods of eye care.
Use of Umbrella (Chatra Dharana)
The use of an umbrella protects us from the sun, wind, cold, and rain and therefore is also a preventive measure to take care of our eyes.
Nasal Medications (Nasya)
Nasya is the installation of medicated oil/ghee/juice in the nostrils. Pratimarsha Nasya is the installation of medicated liquid in the dosage of one to two drops daily. This improves vision and cleanses the nose and eyes.
Facial Application (Mukhalepa)
Mukhalepa is the application of herbal paste to the face. This soothes the face and the eyes and therefore energizes the eyes and its functioning.
Medicated Smoke (Dhumapana)
Dhumapana is the inhalation of medicated smoke, and this helps remove the dirt from the nose, throat, and eyes.
Besides these, there are specific procedures mentioned for the prevention and treatment of eye diseases under the title Kriya Kalpa. These are the procedures done to the eyes.
Ayurvedic Eye Treatments
Akshitarpana or Tarpana
In this procedure, medicated ghee is kept for a specific period in the eye through a wall constructed around the orbit of the eyes. Depending on the dosha, the period of keeping the ghee varies. It improves eyesight and is a soothing and relaxing eye treatment and the surrounding tissues.
The procedure is like Akshi Tarpana. Juice is extracted from medicinal plants and kept over the eyes in the constructed wall instead of ghee. This procedure usually follows the Tarpana procedure.
Medicated liquid is poured over closed eyes from a height of four inches and the time is dependent on dosha. It helps in the inflammation of the eyes.
Pouring of medicated liquid into open eyes as drops from a height of two inches. This is indicated in the allergies and infections of the eyes.
- Movement of eyeballs upwards and downwards, sidewards, clockwise, and anti-clockwise directions followed by palming is helpful in the prevention of refractive errors.
- Trataka is continuously gazing at any small object or a particular point until tears flow from the eyes.
- A thin thread measuring 32 Angulas in length is inserted through the nose and removed through the mouth.
- Jala neti – lukewarm water with a pinch of salt is poured in one of the nostrils and the water comes out through the other. Both procedures cleanse the nose, mouth, and eyes and improve eyesight.
The immunomodulators improve immunity and thus help in the proper functioning of the eyes. One of those as an example to mention is Triphaladi powder along with honey and ghee at night every day is good for eyesight.
Yogasana and Pranayama
Practicing yogasana like Shavasana, Sukhasana, etc. Nadishuddhi pranayama and Bhramari pranayama improve blood circulation to the eyes and hence in smooth physiology of the eyes.
Diet for eye care
Old variety of rice and barley, wheat, green gram. Green leafy vegetables, snake gourd, spiny gourd, bitter gourd, drumsticks, garlic, onion, carrot, beetroot, cucumber, fruits like pomegranate, grapes, papaya, Indian gooseberry, milk obtained from cow and goat, fresh butter, ghee, sugar, rock salt, foods rich in Vitamin A, yellow-colored fruits and vegetables are the foods that are good for eyesight and prevent from any disorders of eyes.
The daily regimen explained in Ayurveda has a lot of techniques for eye care. Regular practice of these regimens can help prevent eye diseases and enhance the functioning of the eye. Kriya Kalpa is the set of procedures explained specifically for eyes and are both preventive and curative measures. Eye exercises hold a very important role in eye care. Yoga and Pranayama are also preventive measures for eye diseases.
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