Our eyes are being used more than ever, especially with the increased use of mobile and laptop screens in the last few decades. This excess use is creating various signs of eye stress in the form of headaches, burning or dry eyes, dark circles, and vision related issues. The unnatural light emitted from the LEDs and TFT screens which are pure white and very different in composition from the natural sunlight which our eyes are used to, and was evolved to deal with. It also affects our pituitary hormones, neurotransmitters and negatively impacts sleep. Let us try to understand the significance of proper eye care according to Ayurveda and learn simple ways to incorporate eye care routines into our diet and lifestyle to prevent such issues.
Eyes are considered to be the seat of pitta dosha and needs proper care, cooling and lubrication regularly. If the blinking of eyes is less frequent than normal, this cooling and lubricating process is disturbed, thereby increasing chances of issues related to eye strain. Please see below some of the eye care tips recommended from Ayurveda.
Ayurvedic Eye Care Tips
Always splash your eyes with cold water in the morning. This clears off the dried mucous and dirt accumulated in the eyes and stimulates the glands that lubricate the eyes. Eyes always benefit from cool exposures.br />
Avoid using any chemical beauty products around the eyes. Try using an Ayurvedic Kajal or medicinal eyeliner daily to cleanse and nourish the eyes.
Regular head massage is great for improving the circulation around the area and relax the muscles necessary for maintaining visual acuity and stimulate the tear glands. You may use coconut oil or any medicated varieties of it.
Palming the eyes: Rub the palms of your hands together rapidly for 10 seconds and cup your hands over them. Avoid putting any pressure on the eyeballs. Relax in this position for 2-3 minutes, and try to repeat every 30 minutes especially if you’re mostly working on screens. Breath deeply and observe the space in front of your eyes.
Try to stay in shade and avoid direct exposure to strong sun’s rays. Wear a hat or good protective glass if staying outdoors for long hours.
Apply a cotton pad soaked in good quality distilled rose water over the eyes for 10 minutes once daily to relax and cleanse the eyes. This will also reduce the tendency for the dark circle around the eyes. Slices of cucumber are also considered good.
Cho aloe-vera flesh into a cube large enough to hold with your finger comfortably and freeze them separately. When the eyes feel tired, take one cube from the freezer and massage the face and area around the eyes with it once daily preferably in the evening. When the cube is finished, keep your cold finger on the eyes to soothe them.
Triphala Eye Wash
This is very traditional and easy eye ritual to maintain healthy eyes.
Make a Triphala tea in distilled water using 1 tsp of powder in 200 ml water.
Filter this liquid once cold, using cotton pads.
Use this solution cold in an eye bath cup on both sides for 5-7 minutes.
The astringent effect of the Triphala berries causes some burning sensation but only initially.
Once the eyes get used to it, it feels cool and comfortable.
This is good to do once in the evening, and is effective for (chronic) dry eyes, red eyes, irritated conjunctiva, and sty.
Eye Care Smoothie
1 cup almond milk (Preferably home-made)
2 cups of berries (blueberries or raspberries)
1 tbs Amla powder (preferably organic)
½-1 tsp Organic turmeric, 1 carrot
1–2 Medjool date or date syrup
1 tsp cinnamon (ground)
Method: Blend all the above until smooth and serve at room temperature with a pinch of black pepper to help complete absorption.
Exercise also is an important aspect of maintaining good vision and eye health. The traditional way of doing this can be through the gazing meditation called trataka in Yoga. According to the ancient textbook, ‘Hatha Yoga Pradipika’, trataka is defined as 'looking intently with an unwavering gaze at a small point until tears are shed' This simple technique has an invigorating effect on the mind and improves concentration, paving the way for a deeper meditation practice. This is one of the shat kriyas or six cleansing methods described in Hatha Yoga, and also aids in cleaning and healing the eyes.