The ancient science of Ayurveda is an integral form of medicine and healthcare which primarily aims at the prevention of disease and promotes positive well-being. Its holistic approach towards lifestyle and health makes it vital in the modern-day scenario. Intensive eye care is described under “Shalakya Tantra”, one of the eight parts of Ayurveda. It also offers numerous safe, effective and simple methods for maintaining ocular health. Although these approaches are primitive, they are viable and can still be easily practiced in our daily lives to avoid lifestyle-related eye disorders.
The eye is considered as one of the most vital organs of the body because vision plays a crucial role in the social and intellectual development of a person. Moreover, about 80% of the knowledge we gain is through the eyes only. So, our existence and status in this universe are directly influenced by the eye.
Many of the eye problems can be eliminated by avoiding faulty lifestyles. Smoking, tobacco and alcohol consumption, high fat diet and junk food, chronic stress, prolonged exposure to bright light from computer and TV screens are a few examples that damage the eye health. Clinical conditions like ARMD, diabetic/hypertensive retinopathy, computer vision syndrome, may occur as a result as well. According to Ayurveda, the eye diseases can be prevented, and proper vision can be maintained for a long time by following specific points in life, such as dinacharya, ritucharya, sadhvritta, swasthavritta, and taking chakshyusya rasayana.
Ayurveda describes several ways to maintain the strength and health of your eyes.
When you wash your face in the morning, Ayurveda recommends splashing cold water on the eyes while holding water in your mouth. This makes your eyes feel fresh. You can also use an eyecup to cool your eyes.
Gazing into the flame of a ghee lamp is a traditional Ayurvedic eye care method followed for centuries to strengthen and soothe the eyes. To prepare a ghee lamp, use a small bowl of ghee and place a cotton wick in it. Using a wick made of genuine cotton is better.
Now, light the wick and place the lamp two or three feet away from you. Gaze at the flame for a minute or two without blinking. It is known to improve the lustrous quality of eyes.
Ayurveda suggests that dipping a cotton ball or a piece of gauze in goat’s milk and putting it on the eyes can relieve eye strain and make them feel better.
Put a drop of castor oil on each eye before going to bed. Make sure to use an oil with no preservatives. Also, rub some oil into the soles of your feet. You will wake up with fresh and bright eyes.
Cucumber is well known for its anti-irritation properties. When applied to the eyes, it can help in reducing inflammation, puffiness, swelling, and irritation. As it has high water content, they work as a useful Ayurvedic remedy for dry eyes.
Home remedies for certain eye conditions
Degeneration of eye health and loss of vision can occur due to a variety of factors. But with Ayurveda, balanced nutrition and avoidance of certain behaviours, you can keep your eye health in check. Many pieces of evidence have shown that specific nutrients can strengthen the eye muscles and improve eyesight, but more research needs to be conducted to prove its significant benefits.
Ayurvedic medicines and therapies have been used for millennia for the treatment and prevention of several conditions affecting the eyes. Moreover, one of the earliest surgical procedures for cataract also was described by the Indian physician Sushruta, over two thousand years ago. Ayurveda primarily focuses on the overall well-being of the body, and the treatments it suggests are entirely natural and less invasive. The ancient science uses various methods to correct body imbalances by the use of herbs, both externally and internally. Some of the popular herbs used in Ayurvedic eye care solutions are as follows.
Triphala is a potent herbal formula that consists of three fruits – Amla (Emblica Officinalis), Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica) and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula). Each fruit is known to impact the three doshas of the body positively. Triphala has strong medicinal properties and is widely used in Ayurvedic medicines to lower toxicity levels in the body and support general health. It is usually ingested, but to address eye-related concerns, it can also be topically applied in the form of eye drops.
The therapeutic effects of triphala are backed up by modern-day science and research. It has been proven that the administration of triphala eye drops can potentially reduce problems like eye inflammation, redness, and strain. Moreover, triphala is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, which can protect the eyes from damage associated with oxidative stress.
You can receive the benefits of this herbal preparation by consuming triphala powder, tea, capsules or extract.
The Ginkgo Biloba is a plant native to China. The therapeutic properties of the plant are useful in the treatment of a variety of conditions, such as memory problems, blood disorders, and improving eye health. The Ginkgo Biloba extract used in herbal remedies is taken from the dried green leaves of the plant and made into liquid extracts, capsules, and tablets.
As a natural antioxidant, the herb is often recommended to strengthen eye health and protect vision. Certain studies have shown its effectiveness in the treatment of glaucoma also. Due to its neuroprotective and vascular regulating effects, Ginkgo can be used as an adjuvant therapy to deal with normal or high-tension glaucoma.
The bilberry plant is characterized by bright green leaves and bell-shaped flowers. It grows primarily in northern Europe and is related to cranberry, huckleberry, and American blueberry. Bilberry stands out among other herbal remedies for eye care as it is known to improve both normal and night vision. It can reduce vascular permeability, capillary fragility and protect against cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
The Passionflower is a climbing vine that can be found in the south-eastern United States and Central and South America. The parts of the plant above the ground are used to make medicine. Passionflower is used to treat insomnia, anxiety, ADHD, pain, burns and contributes significantly to the improvement of eyesight conditions in Ayurvedic medicine. It relaxes the blood vessels in the eye and helps to maintain proper eye health. Additionally, it is a potent nerve relaxer as well. It reduces the tension in the eye nerves, thereby improving the ability of the eye to focus clearly and function better.
Though Calendula is used in the treatment of several problems like muscle spasms, fever, inflammation, leg ulcers, etc., it is also a potent herbal remedy for managing various eye issues. Calendula is also called pot marigold, and due to its antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, it is used to manage eye conditions, such as conjunctivitis, allergies, general eye irritations, minor eye injuries and redness or swelling of the eye.
Fennel seeds and almonds are often used as the ingredients of various Ayurvedic medicines for eye health. Although many pieces of evidence suggest that nutrients in fennel seeds and almonds promote healthy vision, more research needs to be done to support the claim that they can improve eyesight. People have been using this Ayurvedic eye care remedy for centuries, and it poses no known risk.
If you would like to give it a try, you can do it as mentioned below.
A home-made herbal eyewash can be a great way to deal with minor eye irritation when you need a quick fix or can’t reach a medical store. Follow the steps mentioned below to make your natural eyewash.
Rosewater is commonly used in Ayurvedic and Unani medicine for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It can be used as a soothing eye rinse as well. To create your own rose water eye drops, mix one teaspoon of organic honey with three tablespoons of organic rose water in a jar or bottle. Use a dropper to apply it to your eyes. Before preparing your eye drops, check whether the natural rose water has any added ingredients or chemicals as they may cause further irritation.
Yoga exercises have the potential to maintain the optimum health of all our organs. These exercises can also help to deal with various eye health issues such as short-sightedness and long-sightedness. Most of the eye disorders occur due to the malfunctioning of the ocular muscles caused by chronic mental and emotional tension. By following simple yoga techniques like palming and blinking, you can alleviate disorders caused due to defects in the eye muscles.
Here are a few yoga exercises that are simple and yet powerful. Regularly practicing these exercises can help to relax the eye muscles and make them healthier and stronger.
Before you start any of these exercises, you must wash your eyes thoroughly with cold water. Make sure that your head and spine are straight throughout the exercises.
Palming is not exactly an exercise, but an ancient yoga relaxation technique quite similar to meditation. You can start by sitting on a comfortable chair, maintaining a straight posture and then follow the steps.
Proper blinking is necessary to clean your eyes, relieve the strain and improve eye comfort. You can set aside a few minutes every day for the following blinking exercises.
Ayurvedic literature puts more stress on the preventive aspect of treatment. Therefore, the first step to treat disease must be focused on eliminating the factors that contribute to the disease. Ayurvedic scholars have prescribed specific aahara (diet), aushada (drugs), and vihara (daily regimen) for the prevention of eye diseases. They are described as follows.
Your diet is important for the proper functioning of the body and its organs. The dietary factors that negatively affect the eyes are:
To maintain proper eye health, one must always adhere to diets consisting of barley, wheat, red rice, green gram, vegetables, pomegranate, rock salt, pure cold water, etc.
Certain habitual factors that impact eye health are:
We should try to avoid these leading factors of eye diseases at all costs. We must also follow some of the practices for daily regimen as advised by Ayurveda are:
Neti is done by using plain warm saline water to clean the nasal tract of impurities. Trataka involves gazing at a candle flame without blinking so that the tears naturally cleanse your eyes.
We live in a world that is brimming with visual information, and our eyes are arguably the most overworked of all our senses. Additionally, the rising level of pollutants and airborne toxins in our environment puts our eyes at great risk of disorders and problems. Therefore, it is imperative to have a regular eye care routine and adopt Ayurveda eye treatment practices to offset some of the risks.
You can also add I-Clear 10 and Kerala Ayurveda Mahathikthaka Ghritam to your eye care regime for optimum eye health.
Each tablet of I-ClearTM tablet consists of 10 mg of Jhandu or Tagetes erecta Fl. Its unique proprietary formulation is quite effective in the treatment of eye problems, such as blurry vision, dry eyes, cataract, irritation of eyes and redness.
It can be used as a blood purifier, immunomodulator, anti-inflammatory, anti-infective and psychotropic. It is also helpful to treat conditions, such as erysipelas, carbuncle, chronic ulcer, giddiness, anaemia, intoxication, epilepsy, defective vision, etc.