While it is common knowledge that COVID-19 as an infectious viral ailment affects respiratory functions, inducing dry cough, breathing difficulty, lung damage, the effects of the pandemic-induced lockdowns have been equally detrimental to other organs and overall wellbeing too. With school and college students learning through online lectures and adults across professions functioning in work from home (WFH) mode, eye health has inevitably declined substantially in the past year, in people of all age groups.
Doctors, paediatricians and ophthalmologists in India and other countries worldwide have reported a surge in the number of patients seeking solutions for vision-linked conditions. Eye problems such as dry eyes, optic defects and digital strain arise from constantly being glued to screens – be it desktops, laptops, tablets, phones or the television. Apart from conventional treatments like medications, eyeglasses, contact lenses and other aids to rectify visual faults, healthcare experts across the country recommend practising eye yoga.
What Is Eye Yoga?
Eye yoga comprises a set of basic activities that engage the visual organs in varied dynamic movements, asanas and physical exercises, thereby flexing the ocular muscles and strengthening them for healthy vision. Just like yoga asanas which involve coordinated body motions and deep breathing to promote physical fitness and mental wellness, eye yoga uplifts the functioning of the pair of delicate, vital optical organs that enable the sense of sight.
The eyes being our gateway to witness the beautiful world outside; very fragile and sensitive, require extra care including eye yoga for merely 15 minutes daily, not only amidst the pandemic but at all times, for optimal eyesight.
Benefits Of Eye Yoga For Healthy Vision:
Eye yoga confers excellent health incentives for the optic tissues. It vastly alleviates dryness, lowers pressure on the optic nerve and uplifts eye strength, to prevent vision-related ailments such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma and cataract later on in life. Moreover, yoga asanas for the eyes improve focus, memory, brain power and provide relief from sinus headaches and migraines.
By stimulating blood flow to the eyes and activating tear secretions, these yoga exercises and asanas help to effectively overcome dry eyes, itching, lessen digital strain, fatigue and ameliorate symptoms of refractive defects like myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and presbyopia.
Yoga Exercises And Techniques To Augment Eye Health:
Apart from fundamental yogic eye exercises of palm massage/palming, eye rolling and blinking, here are some fantastic techniques that can be easily done at home, which bolster ocular muscles, reinforce the optic nerve and boost eyesight.
Be seated with the spine erect and legs stretched out in front. Place the left hand on the left leg and extend the right arm forward with the thumb held up. Concentrate the gaze of the eyes on the thumb and move them in a circle, five times clockwise, then pause for a few seconds and rotate them five times anti-clockwise. Perform this iteration with the left hand stretched outward, then close both eyes and relax.
Kapala Randhra Dhauti
“Kapala” translates to skull, “Randhra” refers to a cavity or hole and “Dhauti” means cleansing of the openings/skull. This yoga technique helps eliminate the toxins and excess mucus trapped in the head region – face, eyes, nose, sinuses and eases tension in the eye muscles. It entails massaging the areas of the forehead, eyebrows, under eyes, cheeks, lips, chin and neck with the fingers in circular motions in an upward direction.
Sit down on an even surface in a cross-legged position. Place the left hand on the left knee with the thumb pointing upwards. Take a deep breath and stare at a point right in front at eye level. Slowly exhale and shift the gaze sideways to the left thumb, then relax and look up straight at eye level. Do this five times and repeat the same process with the right hand on the right leg, thumb raised up and then close the eyes and rest.
Nose Tip Gazing
Sitting down in a cross-legged pose, stretch the right arm forwards. With the fist closed and the right thumb pointing upwards, concentrate both eyes on the tip of the thumb. Breathe in and bring the hand towards the tip of the nose, all the while gazing at the thumb tip. Hold it in that position for a few seconds, then breathe out and extend the hand fully forwards, continuing to focus on the thumb tip. Repeat this technique five times each with both, the right and left hands, then close both eyes and relax.
Tratak is powerful meditation practice also known as concentrated gazing or focus gazing, which not only improves eye muscle functioning for crystal clear vision but also dispels distractions, stress, worry from the mind, for heightened awareness and mental wellbeing. Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position and focus on a lit candle at the centre of the flame. Stare at it steadily without blinking, then close the eyes and conjure up the image of the candle flame in between the eyes at the centre of the eyebrows. Then open both eyes and relax.