Dry Eyes is a very common eye condition in the present day. According to experts, dry eye affects millions of adults across the globe every year. The risk of developing dry eyes increases with advancing age, women being more at risk than men.
What is dry eye?
Dry eye is a condition that occurs due to inadequate production of tears or decreased quality of tears, in your eyes, leading to irritation. Dry eyes occurs when the quantity or quality of tears fail to keep the surface of the eye lubricated.
Symptoms of dry eye
- Foreign body sensation in the eye
- Stinging / burning sensation
- Sometimes episodes of excess tearing that follow periods of dryness
- Eye pain
- Redness / itchiness in the eye
- Feeling of heaviness in the eyelids
- Blurred vision
While you may not experience all of the above symptoms if you have dry eyes, these are the general symptoms associated with the condition.
Causes of dry eyes
- Ageing and menopause
- Looking into electronic devices for prolonged duration, without blinking.
- Certain medications, particularly, antihypertensive, decongestants, antihistamines, oral contraceptives.
- Thyroid disorder, diabetes, Vitamin A deficiency, abnormal tear glands
- Some conditions which make you unable to close your eyes completely
- Exposure to dry air, wind and smoke
- Being in an air-conditioned room for long time.
- Use of contact lens
Ayurvedic perspective of dry eyes
According to Ayurveda, dry eyes are due to vitiated vata dosha, and hence, the aim is to maintain the balance of the same. The dried channels of the eye are lubricated with Ayurvedic medicines for quick reduction in symptoms. Thereafter, natural and normal tear formation is gradually maintained.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Dry Eyes
Ayurveda believes in treating the deviated vata. Eyes are treated with medicated or plain ghrit (ghee). The most common and effective medication is the ‘Triphala ghrit’, which is useful in treating such eye condition. The ghrit has its own nutritional values, and helps regulate functions of extra-occular muscles, eyelids and tears, thereby decreasing the dryness of the eyes, irritation and burning sensation prevailing in the eyes. For the treatment, drops of Triphala ghrit are instilled into the eyes. A gentle massage with Triphala ghrit over and around the eyes is done for added benefit. Internal and external use of Triphala ghrit soothens and strengthens the eyes.
Apart from Triphala ghrit, Ayurvedic treatments like ‘Nasya’, ‘Tarpana’, ‘Aschyotana’ ‘Virechana’, ‘netradhara’, ‘lepa’ and ‘Seka’ are also very effective in treating eye disorders. Internally, the patient is prescribed Jeevaniya ghrita, Amalaki churna, or Triphala churna to be taken with honey and ghee.
Another Ayurvedic procedure, known as ‘Netra-Tarpan’ offers immense relief from dry eyes, by reducing irritation and burning sensation, and imparts nourishment to the eyes.
Ayurvedic Home Remedies
- Take a spoonful of Triphala powder, add a glass of water to it. Leave it overnight. Strain the liquid the next morning and wash the eyes with the infusion.
- Add Triphala Churna to a glass of hot water. Cover the solution. Once the powder settles down, dip sterile eye pads into clear liquid, and place them on both eyes for 10 to 15 mins.
- You can also place eye pads dipped in chilled rose water for good relief.
- Boil Triphala powder in water and reduce it to half. Strain, add a teaspoon of honey, and drink this daily, as a general eye tonic.
- As far as possible, avoid excessive use of air conditioners, hair dryers, and avoid direct facing towards the fans.
- Take a break from computer screens every half an hour. Blink more often, as this helps spread tears over the surface of eyes.
- Give a warm compress to the eyes with lukewarm water by dipping a clean cloth. Place the cloth on both eye lids for 15 minutes both in the morning and at bed time.
- Drink adequate amount of water for sufficient lubrication of the eyes.
- Include more of Vitamin A-rich foods in your diet.
- Apply castor oil / lavender oil / aloe vera gel on your eyes and lashes before going to sleep.
- Avoid exposure to dry wind and smoke. Stop smoking.
- Do regular oil massage to your head.
- Get adequate sleep of at least 7 to 8 hours daily.
- Gentle massage of eyelids is recommended.
- Maintain eye hygiene as far as possible.
- Quit smoking and excessive consumption of caffeine.
- Yoga and pranayama are extremely beneficial.
- Avoid bright sunlight and other bright lights.
- Regularize bowels.
- Yogic eye exercises when done daily are gentle, yet effective way to prevent any type of vision problem. Sit in Sukhasana, with legs crossed comfortably, and your neck, spine and head in straight line. Look ahead at eye-level and breathe normally. Move your eyes upwards to the ceiling and stay for 2 seconds. Close your eyes for 2 seconds. Look towards the right side for 2 seconds, left side for two seconds, and then look to the front again. Then close your eyes for 6 seconds. This completes one round. Begin with 2 rounds and increase to 4.
- Rub both palms together quickly for 8 to 10 seconds. The friction creates a mild heat. Close the eyes and gently place the left palm over the left eye and right palm over the right eye for a minute. But, ensure that you do not press the eyeballs with the palms. Let them just gently rest there. Breathe in and slowly exhale. Repeat this 2 to 3 times.
- Other yogic postures like ‘Bhujangasana’, ‘Surya Namaskar’, and ‘Shavasana’ are also beneficial for the eyes.
With the above mentioned treatments, home remedies and precautions, dry eyes can be effectively cured. Take good care of your eyes, as the eyes are the windows to the soul.