"Almost nothing needs to be said when you have eyes!" said a wise man. In other words, eyes can listen as well as speak, the ability other senses don't posses. No doubt Eyes have always caught the attention of all of us and hence countless words are dedicated to describe them. Ayurveda opines the same. It says that Eyes hold more importance in human life than any other sense organs. Therefore Ayurveda has elaborately discussed the ways to maintain the health of the Eyes and also vast description about all the diseases regarding them.
Our Eyes are the sites of Teja i.e. the energy which illuminates. Therefore two major reasons by which our Eyes tend to face ill-health are either the infusion of excessive heat (via Pitta) or increase in the coldness around the Eyes (via Kapha), which would tend to diminish the Teja. Nowadays most of the primary presentations regarding ill-health of the Eyes are because of their overuse and negligence in their maintenance. Almost all of us spend considerable time looking at a screen of some or the other gadget. Being the source of bright light as well as heat, any screen tires the Eyes. Eventually it leads to the dryness of Eyes. People complain of mild ache, burning sensation, excessive watering and many such symptoms. These are nothing but the warning signals. This scenario can be easily handled with simple yet effective measures.
The simplest measure is to wash your eyes with cold water. If the strain is too much, one must wash the eyes with the decoction of the Amala in the morning. It has excellent soothing and strengthening effect.
Another way to keep the Eyes from getting damaged because of excessive strain or heat, is to wash one's legs. Yes, Legs! Legs are just like chimneys of our body. They are the sources from which the excessive heat finds its way out. Because of this reason, it has been the tradition in India to wash one's legs after coming home from outside, or even while entering a temple. Older generations used to carry out Pradakshina around the temple with their bare feet. With the grass like Durva beneath them, it used to act as an excellent heat absorbent. The present scenario is exactly opposite. Our sole-mates rarely get to see the daylight. They are smothered inside the socks, and then stuffed inside a pair of leathery shoes. No doubt the incidences of diminished vision (i.e. the style statement known as Specs aka spectacles) are on the rise, right from the early ages.
Speaking of spectacles, you must be knowing why one wears them. They have purpose similar to that of crutches. If you hurt your leg and have to use the crutches, do you use them for rest of your life? Or do you lose them as soon as you recover? Why not apply the same logic for specs! One can get back the strength of the Eyes and lose the spectacles if the right diet, appropriate habits and proper Ayurvedic treatment is followed.
The diet, which contributes in the maintenance of the health of the Eyes include the items made from rice or wheat, produced a year before. The cuisines made from cereals ( Eg. green gram, black gram) and having considerable amount of Ghee while cooking are equally useful. Cow's Ghee is, in all, one of the best tonics for the Eyes. Among the fruits, Black Raisins, Pomegranates, Amala are most useful ones. In many cases, the root cause behind the Eye problems can be traced back to the disorders related to digestion. Hence correction of the diet is a must in these cases.
One of the most important habit is to minimize the intake of salt and salty food. Common salt is not good for the health of our Eyes. It fastens the overall aging process as well. It is suggestible to use rock salt (Saindhav) as much as possible, as it does not have the mentioned side effects. That is why, Ayurveda says that rock salt is the better than all other types and is to be used regularly.
Another effective tonic to keep the sight sharp, is Triphala. Small dose of Triphala Churna, mixed in unequal parts of Ghee and Honey, should be taken at night just before going to bed. Triphala is termed as Netrya i.e. excellent for the health of the Eyes.
The more I write, the more I realise that there is much more to write. Ayurveda has tremendous potential with wide variety of medicines and therapy, flanked by the guidelines related to food and other habits. It's always a pleasure to make those things beautiful again which make us see this beautiful world. After all, to look into one's Eyes in not an easy job!