The eyes are the window to the soul and among the most sensitive parts of the body. The Vedas (Ayurvedic texts) went into depth on how to care for the eyes. Although we need to take extra care of the eyes, we mostly just follow lifestyle habits that increase eye problems. Some of the common reasons for such problems are these:
- Misuse of the eyes – excess strain, concentrating too hard on minute objects, and spending hours together on gadgets such as Kindle, TV, and computers
- Injury to the eyes
- Excessive anger, jealousy, or negative feelings (echoing the thought that the eyes mirror the soul)
- Suppressing natural urges like hunger, thirst, sleep, and the need to cry
- Insomnia – either not getting to sleep or unable to stay asleep
- Changes in sleep cycles due to traveling, working at night, or jet lag
Rather than just treating the symptoms that arise out of these factors, Ayurveda looks at the problems as a result of disturbed dosha balance and treats the underlying imbalance. Now, let’s take a look at some common eye problems and their natural remedies.
Crow’s Feet, Dry Eyes, And Eye Strain
These are caused by a pitta dosha imbalance and can be aggravated by age, stress, worry, insomnia, alcohol, dehydration, and squinting. They can be treated as follows:
- Stop using chemical- and preservative-laden makeup.
- Rest your eyes as often as you can.
- Take regular breaks if you have to work continuously on a computer.
- Protect your eyes from direct sunlight.
- Blinking: Blink frequently as it can prevent strain, improve vision, and lubricate the eyes. Normally, the eyes blink 4–5 times per second. When you are reading or staring at a computer, get into the habit of blinking your eyes voluntarily and often.
- Palming: Every hour, close your eyes and cover them gently with your palms to cut out all external light. Relax for a couple of minutes. This greatly helps relieve bloodshot eyes.
- The eyelids are extremely permeable to oils. So, gently massage your eyes at bedtime using warm ghee, almond or olive oil, and a few drops of sandalwood essential oil.
You can also use a natural eye-bath to add sparkle and tone the surrounding tissues. Here’s how:
- Wash your eyes with a mixture of 1 tsp honey and 2 cups of warm water.
- For better results, repeat this procedure 3–4 times a day.
- This strengthens the eyes and restores their natural expression and sparkle.
Dark Circles Under The Eyes
Green-grey circles are caused by a pitta imbalance and brown circles are caused by a vata imbalance. These can be aggravated by anemia, ill health, lack of sleep, poor circulation, anxiety, hormonal imbalance, menstrual disorders, and eating more processed and dry raw foods. This issue can be treated as follows:
- Lie down and raise your feet above your head for 5–10 minutes.
- Practice blinking and palming, as mentioned earlier.
- Take a teaspoon of Shatavari powder in 1/2 cup warm water before lunch and dinner.
You can also try a natural eye tonic for dark circles. Dip cotton wool in pure rose water. Place the cotton pads on your eyes for 10 minutes and lie still to ease away tension.
Puffy eyes are caused by an aggravated kapha dosha imbalance. It can worsen due to hypertension, kidney or liver disorder, poor elimination, low digestive fire (agni), water retention and hormonal imbalances. This eye problem can be treated as follows:
- Drink a lot of water, which will de-clog your body’s channels.
- Do not sleep during the day.
- With your ring finger, press gently underneath each eye starting from the inside corner to the outside corner to help drain the lymphatic fluid.
- Take 1 teaspoon triphala powder each night in 1/2 cup warm water or 2 tablets before bed.
- Eat 1 handful of black raisins daily.
1. Vata Conjunctivitis
Vata conjunctivitis causes painful eyes, headache, dryness, and cool tears. A good remedy for this would be a natural eye drop.
Honey helps to treat eye infection in a natural manner, which leaves no side effects on the eye. So, mix 1 drop of organic honey with 1 teaspoon of rose water. Using this mixture as a natural eye drop will not only soothe your eyes but also help you resist infection, thanks to the antimicrobial power of honey.
2. Pitta Conjunctivitis
Pitta conjunctivitis is characterized by inflammation, a hot sensation, and hot tears. A good way to get relief from this is to use a natural eye wash.
Add 1 teaspoon of triphala powder to 1/2 cup filtered water and let sit overnight. The next morning, strain through a fine mesh cheesecloth or coffee filter. Using an eye bath, bathe the eyes each morning and evening. Make a fresh eye wash daily.
3. Kapha Conjunctivitis
Kapha conjunctivitis causes itching, edema (swelling), and a sticky discharge. A natural eye wash made at home can give you relief from this.
Apple cider vinegar contains malic acid, which helps in bacterial infections. So, dilute 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of warm water. Use this mixture to wash your eyes and cleanse the infection twice daily.
Dosha-Based Diet For Your Eyes
Clear, vibrant eyes are a sign of good health. And good health starts with good nutrition. Take time to learn what your body’s nutritional needs are. In Ayurveda, we recognize not only that everyone is different but also that each and every person needs different things to live a healthy life. Your genetic makeup or your bio-individuality type is known as your “dosha.” This dosha governs your metabolic constitution, personality, and physical characteristics. It is, in essence, what makes you “you.” By discovering your dosha, you can determine what foods to eat, what exercises to do, and what lifestyle choices are best for you.
Since your eyes are extremely sensitive, using herbal remedies to treat eye infections is a better, harmless mode of treatment. So, eat right, follow good habits, and keep your eyes healthy.