Myopia or short-sightedness refers to the inability to see far- off objects clearly. It is a widely prevalent condition.
Causes and Symptoms
Myopia begins with blurred vision, particularly with regard to far-off objects. The blackboard at school, the screen in a cinema hall, or the TV screen may look blurred and the eyes of the sufferer may start watering due to strain. There may be itching and heaviness in the eyes, and the patient may suffer from a mild headache.
The three chief causes of myopia are mental strain, wrong food habits, and improper blood and nerve supply. Mental strain puts a corresponding physical strain on the eyes, and their muscles and nerves. Other causes of this eye disorder are reading in dim light or in too glaring a light; reading in moving trains, buses or cars; watching too much television and films; and excessive reading.
Vitamin A: The intake of vitamin A is of utmost importance for improving vision. The best sources of this vitamin are raw spinach, turnip tops, milk cream, cheese, butter, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, cabbage, soya beans, green peas, fresh milk, oranges, and dates. If taken as a supplement, 25,000 IU of vitamin A are recommended daily.
Triphala: Triphala, the famous Ayurvedic preparation, is considered beneficial in the treatment of myopia. This preparation consists of three myrobalans, namely, embelica myrobalan (amla), chebulic myrobalan (harad), and belleric inyroblan (bahera). A decoction of this preparation should be made by mixing thirty grams of Triphala in half a litre of water and should be taken by mouth and also used for washing the eyes twice a day. This will bring good results if continued for some months.
Liquorice: Another effective remedy for myopia is liquorice. Half a teaspoon of powder of the root, mixed with an equal quantity of honey and half the quantity of ghee, should be given twice daily with a cup of milk on an empty stomach for the treatment of this condition.
Chicory: The herb chicory or endive is extremely valuable in defective vision due to myopia. It contains food elements which are constantly needed by the optic system. It is one of the richest sources of vitamin A which is very useful for the eyes. The addition of juices of carrot, celery, and parsley to chicory juice makes it a highly nourishing food for the optic nerve and the muscular system. It can bring amazing results in correcting eye defects. Half a litre to one litre of this combination, taken daily, has frequently corrected eye troubles in the course of a few months to the extent that normal vision was regained, making the wearing of spectacles unnecessary. The formula proportions considered useful in this combination are 200 ml of carrot juice, 150 ml of celery juice, 75 ml of endive juice and 75 ml of parsley juice to make half a litre of this combination.
Natural, uncooked foods are the best diet for defective vision. These foods include fresh fruits such as oranges, apples, grapes, peaches, plums, cherries; green vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, spinach and turnip tops; root vegetables like potatoes, turnips, carrot, onions, and beetroots; nuts, dried fruits, and dairy products. Cereals are also necessary, but they should only be consumed sparingly. Genuine wholemeal bread is the best and most suitable. .Jams, cakes, pastries, white sugar, white bread, confectionery, tea, coffee, meat, fish, and eggs play havoc with the digestion and the body and should therefore be avoided.
A person suffering from defective vision should adopt the various methods of relaxing and strengthening the eyes as outlined in the chapter on Conjunctivitis. Besides these methods, the following measures are also beneficial in the treatment of defective vision:
Sun Gazing: The subject should sit on a bench, facing the rising sun with his eyes closed, and gently sway sideways several times for ten minutes. He should then open his eyes and blink about ten times at the sun and look at some greenery.
Splashing: Plain cold water should be splashed several times over closed eyes. The closed lids should then be rubbed briskly for a minute with a clean towel. This cools the eyes and boosts blood supply.
Swinging: The subject should stand with his feet twelve inches apart, hands held loosely at his sides, his whole body and mind relaxed. He should sway his body from side to side gently, slowly, and steadily, with the heels rising alternately but not the rest of the foot. This movement may be likened to the slow moving of the pendulum of a clock. Swinging should be done in front of a window or a picture, so that the window or picture appears to be moving in the opposite direction of the swing. When facing one end of the window or object, the subject should blink once.