As a parent, you might be concerned about the eye health of your kid right now, especially in this pandemic. Our eyes are truly called the ‘window to our soul’ but more often it also becomes a ‘window to good health’. As far as children are concerned, healthy eyes play a significant role in their overall development. It helps them to discover and learn more about the world. Nowadays, we can see that the screen-time of children has increased substantially as a part of the lockdown blues.
So, let us go through some healthy Ayurvedic ways by which we can prevent and protect their eyes from further damage.
Eye hygiene is the first and foremost thing that has to be maintained in children. Ayurveda advises to wash the eyes after waking up, after meals and before going to bed. Generally, eyes should be washed with lukewarm or plain water. But if your child is already experiencing any sort of eye irritations, eyewash with Triphala decoction – (Ayurvedic formulation) would be the best option. It can be prepared by boiling one spoon of Triphala powder in two glasses of water and reducing it to one glass. It can be used after cooling and filtering. It cleanses, cools and protects the eyes. Apart from the eyewash, keeping water-soaked coriander leaves over their eyelids gives immediate coolness when they are under fatigue. Herb infused water can also be used for eyewash. Flowers like crape jasmine can be an additional choice too.
2. Application of Kajal (collirium)
Regular application of good quality Ayurvedic kajal to their eyes expels out the excess kapha dosha and other dirt present in them. It is one among the Dinacharya (daily regimen) practices mentioned in the Ayurveda classic Ashtanga hridaya. It can be prepared at home itself by using gooseberry juice, rock salt, camphor, castor oil etc. Moreover, one drop of pure cow ghee can be applied on the eyelid surface during bedtime in case of dry eyes.
Another utmost important thing is taking care of their nutrition. Children are mostly picky eaters and they prefer taste over nutrition. But it is essential to include carrot, beetroot, broccoli, corn, spinach, moringa leaves, gooseberry, pomegranate, almonds, raisins, coconut milk, jaggery, honey etc in their diet to provide overall nourishment to their eyes. Green leafy vegetables are also a must to be added in any form. Home-made ghee and butter work as elixir for their eyes. Infact Ayurveda mentions their consumption by mixing either of them along with rice and other recipes for promoting healthy eyes in children. Since, eyes are the seat of alochaka pitta (type of pitta dosha), avoid giving them excess spicy, salty and sour food which aggravates the pitta dosha. Also, make sure that their body is hydrated enough by with adequate intake of water and watery fruits and vegetables. Half cooked vegetables should also be a part of their meal.
4. Padabhyanga (foot massage)
Yes, you read it right. Ashtanga hridaya mentions padabhyanga (foot massage) with appropriate oil (or even without oil) for promoting healthy eyes. It says that foot massage stimulates the two siras (veins) situated at the centre of soles of the feet which are directly connected to the eyes and thereby nourish them. So next time, don’t forget to massage your little one’s feet before taking them for a shower. Also, ensure that you are not pouring hot or warm water over their head as it weakens the eyes by vitiating the pitta dosha.
5. Proper Sleep
It is mandatory to schedule their screen time to day hours and steer clear of these gadgets at least one-two hours before bed time. This exposure may mess up the sleep cycle of children. Also, ‘ratri jagaran’ (late sleep or awakening at night) increases the ‘rukshata’ (dryness) of the body which may result in dry or watery eyes, etc.
6. Switching the range of vision
While the kids get engaged in watching television, mobile phones or any other electronic gadgets for longer hours, persuade them to switch their range of vision to far and near distance alternately. Acharya Sushruta says that limiting their vision to either ‘sookshma’ (minute or nearby) objects or ‘doorekshanath’(distant objects) continuously for a long time may lead to its impairment. Therefore, try to make a balance between both by making the child look for a far object or greenery (highly advised) at an interval of every 15-20 minutes and relax their eyes.
6. Amla for Eyes
Amla (Indian gooseberry) needs a special mention here which is considered to be a potent Ayurvedic Remedy for various eye related problems. It is the best and richest natural source of vitamin-C and helps in the healthy functioning of retinal cells and capillaries. If the kids are reluctant to take it as such, its juice can be added to their favourite fresh fruit juices. One or two gooseberries a day would do the magic in their eyes
7. Free their Natural urges
Another thing that should be kept in mind is, never force them to suppress their natural urges. The children are always being compelled to hold their natural urges like sneezing and yawning in front of others as a part of so-called mannerliness. But the fact is that, by doing so, we are putting their health at risk. As far as their eyes are concerned, Ayurveda explains that force stopping of sneezing, yawning, crying and sleeping leads to ‘indriyadourbalya’ (weakness of senses), ‘akshi rogas’ (eye diseases), and ‘akshigaurava’ (heaviness of eyes) respectively along with some other disorders. Therefore, instead of pressurizing the kids, teach them to express these politely. Similarly, excess weeping which is too common among the kids also provides more strain to the eye muscles. So, instead of being an angry bird, try to console them softly whenever possible.
Hence, with these simple lifestyle changes, dietary recommendations and easy home remedies, let us take care of those innocent little eyes in this pandemic and forever.