Eye Appeal

Protect your eyes from some common infections. Here are a few options

woman with healthy eyesJust as we must eat well, exercise and nourish our body, we must also care for our eyes. Commonly encountered eye problems include itching, blurriness or fatigue, redness, and problems related to contact lens. Most of them are short-lived and probably get cured on their own. However, sudden eye problems and those that last for more than a couple of days should be checked by an eye doctor. The following is a list of common eye problems and simple remedies to tackle them.

Stye

Stye refers to a small painful boil, an inflamed hair follicle or an infection of a sebaceous gland in the edge of the eyelid. A stye is associated with throbbing pain, redness, swelling and oedema of the eyelid and conjunctiva.

Remedies

  • Dissolve 2 to 3 granules of alum in one cup of water and use it as an eyewash. You can also use Sphatika bhasma [available in ayurvedic medical stores] instead—it reduces inflammation, congestion and redness.
  • Boil a teaspoon of turmeric in a glass of water till it reduces to half a cup. Strain it repeatedly through a fine muslin cloth and use it as eye drops [two drops three times a day].
  • Rub date seeds on a stone and apply it over painful stye.

Conjunctivitis

honeyConjunctivitis [commonly called 'pink eye' or 'Madras eye'] is an acute inflammation of the conjunctiva, often due to an allergic reaction or an infection.

Remedies

  • Add a tablespoon of triphala churna to a cup of water, boil and reduce it to half. Filter repeatedly and use it for frequent eyewash, 3 – 4 times a day. It reduces redness, irritation, watering and burning.
  • Make a paste of tulsi leaves and honey and use it as a collyrium [a cleanser for the eyes].
  • Put of few drops of juice of drumstick leaves [by instillation] in the eye. You can even use aloe vera juice.
  • Have some triphala kashaya and amrutha kashaya to fight eye problems, including conjunctivitis.
  • Wash your eyes with a decoction made of coriander. Mix a handful of dried coriander in 60ml of water. This decoction when used as eye drops, relieves pain and lessens the swelling.

Redness

Often, red eyes are caused by extremely dry air, over-exposure to the sun, dust, foreign bodies, an allergic reaction, infection or trauma.

Remedies

  • Avoid touching the infected eye and then rubbing the other eye with the same hand; the infection can spread from one eye to the other.
  • Use eye drops made of rose water added with a pinch of Sphatika bhasma/ few granules of alum three times a day to find relief.
  • Apply a few drops of castor oil over the eye while sleeping. You can even use warm compress.

Burning

Of the many causes, the presence of chemicals or soap in the eye, hair dye, and sun exposure are responsible for burning of the eyes.

Remedies

  • Make a cold infusion of chandan [sandalwood powder] and use it as eye drops frequently.
  • Frequently wash eyes with a cold infusion made of coriander seeds. [Add two teaspoons of coriander seeds to a glass of water that is boiled and cooled. Soak it overnight; filter it in the morning and use].
  • Apply castor oil over eyelids at bedtime.

Dark circles

Dark circles are extremely common and distressing. They make you look older, tired, stressed, sick, and depressed.

Remedies

oranges with other fruits

  • Apply a paste of tomato and rose water around the eyes at bedtime. Alternately, you may also place a slice of cucumber on the eyes. In addition to curing dark circles, it helps soothe tired eyes.
  • Massage the area with almond oil at bedtime.
  • Ensure that you get eight hours of sleep to avoid dark circles and prevent eye fatigue.
  • Twice a day, cover your eyes with a cotton pad dipped in rose water for 15 minutes.
  • Include citrus fruits, especially oranges, in your diet to get rid of dark circles.

Foreign body

Materials such as dust, sand or paint that gets into the eye is called a foreign body. Penetrating foreign bodies need medical attention, whereas superficial bodies can be handled easily as follows.

Remedies

  • As a first-aid treatment, gently rinse the eye with warm water. An 'eye bath' can make this easier to do on your own, or you can get someone to help rinse the eye from the side, with you lying down.
  • Smell a pungent onion; it will cause profuse watering of the eyes, resulting in easy expulsion of foreign body.
  • Do not try to remove a foreign body with cotton buds, matchsticks or any other type of solid object. You could do more harm than good.

Contact lens problems

contact lensPoor lens fit, poor lens care, damaged lens and drying lens, irritation, dry eyes, discomfort, ulceration, or redness are some common problems that occur due to the use of contact lenses.

Here are some simple tips to follow when wearing contact lenses:

  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap before touching lenses; avoid using soaps and chemicals that can irritate the eyes.
  • Use rose water as eye drops frequently to avoid dryness.
  • Wash eyes with a decoction of triphala immediately before and after wearing lenses.
  • Always start cleaning with the same contact lens [left eye for example] so that lenses are not mixed.
  • Avoid sleeping with contact lenses.
  • Sterilise the lens case once a week to reduce your risk of infections.
  • Always keep contact lenses moist.
  • Avoid wearing permanent or lash-building mascaras; as they can create deposits on contact lenses that are difficult to remove.
  • Avoid wearing contacts while swimming. Soft lenses may absorb chemicals from the water and hard lenses may pop out.
  • Do not use aerosol sprays around contact lenses.
  • Use contact lenses with caution as improper use may lead to scarring or tearing of the corneal tissue.
  • Consult your doctor, if you experience discomfort while wearing or after wearing contacts. Seek immediate attention incase of swelling, puss, redness or irritation.
  • Let the lenses dry naturally before you store them.

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Vinaya TM, BAMS, is a Mysore-based ayurvedic doctor presently pursuing MD in SDM College of Ayurveda Hassan in the Dept of Swasthavritta. Apart from ayurveda, her areas of interest include research and preventive medicine.

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