Relief for dry eyes
I have been working with a call centre in Gurgaon for five years. Almost 90 percent of my time is spent at my desk, staring at my computer screen. I find my eyes have become dry and itchy and it is difficult to wear my contact lenses. So I have reverted to wearing spectacles.
Dry eye syndrome sees a generalised decrease in the production of tears qualitatively and quantitatively.
Those with dry eyes commonly experience persistent dryness, itching and burning sensation in the eyes, sometimes accompanied by pain, redness and irritation. They usually complain of a feeling of having a foreign body in their eyes. Some may even experience sensitivity towards light and blurred vision.
Diminished secretion or faster evaporation of tears is the prime cause. Advanced age, hormonal changes and damage to tear glands may also be some common causes.
Insufficient blinking of eyes is also one of the reasons. Continuous staring at the television or computer screen for long hours worsens the condition.
Use of contact lenses may also cause dry eyes.
Living in dry, dusty, windy and hot climate or over-exposure to pollution, an air conditioned room or dry heating systems can result in dry eye syndrome.
Certain medications like decongestants, anti-histamines, anti-depressants, tranquilizers or birth control pills may lead to dry eyes.
Some health conditions like Bell’s palsy and rheumatoid arthritis may also result in dry eyes.
Adequate consumption of water will be helpful. Try to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day.
Rubbing of eyes should be avoided as much as possible.
Avoid exposure to dry air as it hastens evaporation of existing tears. Prolonged exposure to air-conditioned environments can also aggravate dry eyes, as this air is drier than natural air.
Indoor humidifiers / air cleaners can be helpful to a certain extent.
Wash your eyes twice daily. Blink 10-15 times in eye cups filled with filtered triphala decoction. You can make triphala decocotion by boiling one teaspoon coarse powder of triphala in 100 ml water and then reducing the water to half. Filter the water using a triple layered muslin cloth or filter paper to get sediment-free triphala decoction. Wipe your eyes with a soft towel.
After the eye-wash procedure, place sterile pads dipped in rose water or cow’s milk or thin slices of cucumber over the eyes for about 10 minutes.
People who work for long hours on computers and those who watch television for longer duration usually complain of dry eyes. Every 30 minutes, look away from the computer and ‘palm’ your eyes.
Rub both your palms together quickly for about five-six seconds to generate warmth.
Close your eyes and gently place your warm palms over the eyes for about a minute. Do not press the eyes — just let the palms gently rest there. Breathe in and out slowly.
Repeat two-three times.
Nutrition / Supplements:
Regular consumption of grapes and carrots will be helpful. Dry eyes are indirectly caused by a lack of essential fatty acids in the diet. Consumption of cow-milk ghee, almonds, walnuts, sesame, flax seeds and whole grains will help keep dry eyes at bay!
As per Ayurveda, every patient suffering from dry eye syndrome needs a different approach as each individual’s etiology and pathology differ. However, the following medicines should generally help in relieving dry eyes:
Triphala ghrita (Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala) — 5 ml twice daily followed by 30 ml of hot water, preferably on an empty stomach;
Eye drops — Ophthacare (Himalaya) / Itone (Dey’s) — 2-3 drops in each eye, three-four times daily or during an emergency would be helpful.
In extreme cases, a specialised Ayurvedic therapy called netra tarpana done with a suitable medicated ghee helps relieve the symptoms.
Dr Srikanth is a postgraduate in Ayurveda and has been a consulting physician for the past 17 years. He is currently National Manager, Scientific Services, at The Himalaya Drug Company.