Updated: Sep 13
According to Ayurveda, dry, red eyes are much more than an ocular surface issue. What's going on deep inside with the doshas?
Explore more on the Saumya Blog, selected top Ayurveda blogs and websites to watch.
Let’s start from the beginning.
Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word that translates directly as the “knowledge” (veda) of “life” (ayu). Ayurveda is a branch of the Vedic tradition - an ancient Indian knowledge system, and the oldest wisdom tradition in the world - which is based on the idea that all of life, from the mundane to the majestic, is inherently connected and divine
Ayurveda is often thought of as only one component: Ayurvedic medicine. While Ayurveda is a profound approach to holistic health and healing, this is just one small dot on the vast map of this ancient tradition. Ayurveda is a path, a system of living, a spiritual journey that lasts a lifetime.
Ayurveda uses food as medicine, herbs, and lifestyle practices like meditation and breathwork to balance the doshas – creating harmony throughout our inner and outer worlds. According to Harvard Medical School, "Allergies of the eye affect about 20% to 40% of Americans each year and are on the rise. Pollens, animal dander, dust mite feces, and mold—are all triggers of allergic conjunctivitis, also called ocular allergy. It’s an inflammation of the con¬junctiva, the lining of the eye. The symptoms are itchy and red eyes, tearing, edema (swelling) of the conjunctiva or eyelid, and a mucous discharge."
This Pitta aggravation not only feels terrible, doesn't look so great, such inflammation is not healthy for the healthy.
What Is Ayurveda Eye Analysis?
First, to know what is happening with your eyes, an Ayurvedic consultation is needed to get a clear, holistic, systemic picture of the whole you. To identify and understand the root cause of why you're experiencing symptoms of dry, red, irritated, and itchy eyes, Ayurveda uses a comprehensive multi-point assessment to determine one's state of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha dosha--and not just with the eyes, but body and mind.
When that clear assessment is made, and the state of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha is assessed, then a comprehensive, custom Ayurveda plan is designed to address the dosha imbalances at the root cause.
Part of the Ayurveda conusltation involves assessment of the tongue, poo, nails, urine, skin, hair, voice, and eyes which have observable qualities (to the trained eye) that comunicate imbalances occuring throughout the body and mind.
"Let's put it this way, yes, the eyes are red and dry, but what I want to know so I can help my client in the deeest way is what is going on elsewhere that led to red, dry eyes. Sure, we want symptom relief, and we need to understand the pathogensis that led to dry eyes, because it is likely there are other imbalances in the doshas, and the eyes are but one manifestation of the dosha imbalances. This is the systemic, holistic Ayurveda approach. " - Veena, Saumya Ayurveda
According to the Ayurveda, eye analysis, known as Netra Pariksha, provides insights into the dosha balance of the mind and body. The eyes are windows through which a picture of Vata, Pitta and Kapha may be seen.
You see, it's interesting isn't it? If you're ready to take a peek, book your free discovery call today.
Many people experience dry and red eyes and typical treatments are focused on treating symptoms of the ocular surface disorder, but Ayurveda looks deeper at why that dryness and redness exist.
Ayurveda sees this not only as an ocular issue, but as an expression of dosha imbalances. The tear film, know as ashru, is considered a by-product (as in left over) of the body’s inner ocean, think of blood and plasma, (rasa and rakta), fat, think of a thick, oily, watery, nourishing lubricant (meda), and the nervous system and marrow (majja). Without restoring balance to the doshas involved in rasa, rakta, meda, and majja, dry, red eyes cannot be optimally treated.
Known as shushkakshipaka in Ayurveda, dry eye syndrome is not only uncomfortable, but can lead to long term eye health issues such as corneal blindness.
According the the American Optometric Association, "More than 16 million Americans—including twice as many women than men—endure dry eye disease (DED)."
Quick Dry Eye Disease Facts
1. A 2012 Gallup Poll suggested that 29 million Americans will suffer from the disease by 2022
4. Over 86% of people with dry eyes show signs of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, according to the National Institute of Health.
"Digital screens are not going away, and that has a direct influence on our eye and nervous system health. Saumya Ayurveda offers a healing trifecta of herbs, food as medicine and Ayurveda lifestyle tools to treat, and to take care preventively." --Veena, Saumya Ayurveda
While many factors are involved in dry eyes, such as environmental factors (dust, wind, sun, pollution, dander, digital screens, contacts, medications including antihistamines, antidepressants, anxiolytics...), systemic issues are key. Vata and Pitta doshas, according to Ayurveda, are the major players that are imbalanced.
Each person with dry eye needs a custom approach based on exactly what is going on with Vata and Pitta for them, to restore balance to the doshas. Ayurveda is a systemic, holistic treatment approach.
So, while it looks like it's about the eyes, there's much more to it from Ayurveda's view.
Symptoms of Dry Eyes:
Blurred eyesight. If you blink and you see more clearly, you might have dry eyes.
Itchy-sometimes feeling like you want to scratch your eyes out!
Watery from irritation
Feeling strained or fatigued
Sensation of a foreign body in the eye
Filmy obscured vision
Gloppy, crusty, mucousy, glued shut eyes after sleeping
Ayurveda's Approach for Dry, Burning Eyes
The Saumya Ayurveda treatment trifecta of herbs, food as medicine, and Ayurveda lifestyle tools are customized to the individual to restore balance to the doshas systemically and can improve irritation as well as other dosha imbalances for overall improved heatlh.
Lifestyle tools include free daily guided practices and Learn Diaphragmatic Breathing and Change Your Life.
Drinking correct and ample fluids each day to keep well hydrated and remove toxins, relearning how to blink correctly (yes, we don’t blink the correctly or at the optimal rate as devices are so prevalent), yoga eye exercises, eye cupping, and even home treatments are part of a comprehensive approach to treating dry, irritated eyes at the root cause.
"What Ayurveda tools will optimally rebalance the doshas, is different for each person." - Veena, Saumya Ayurveda
General Guide To Ayurveda Eye Tips
Ayurvedic Eye Analysis: Possible Imbalances
Tics and tremors around the eyes indicated deep seated Vata aggravation such as fear, anxiety, profound stress.
Droopy eyelids are said to show a sense of insecurity, low self-esteem, lack of confidence and related Vata manifestations.
Excessive blinking is a sign of high Vata (nervousness, fear, anxiety, panic)
Bulging eyes may indicate non-optimal thyroid function.
Yellow conjunctiva indicates liver concerns and pale may mean anemia
Red, inflamed eyes indicate an excess of Pitta
Vata, Pitta and Kapha Characteristics of the Eyes
Vata Dosha Eye Insights
Vata eyes are relatively small consistent with Vata’s subtle nature (Vata: air + ether). They may appear sunken, eyelids may droop and the lashes may be scant. Vata eyes may appear nervous. If Vata is high, the eyes may dart around due to the excess movement of Vata especially if the excess is in the mind and nervous system. The sclera (that's the whitish part of the eye) tends to be muddy grey or dull. The iris tends to be dark, dark brown, grey-brown or black, but may be a less common color as well. Eyebrows are thin and may be irregular.
Pitta Dosha Eye Insights
Pitta eyes are medium in size and deeply set—a thinker’s or philosophical look to the eyes showing the discerning nature and sharp, penetrating nature of Pitta dosha. (Pitta: water + fire). The eyes may appear intense and lustrous. The sclera may have red or yellow coloring and the iris tends to be green or hazel. Pitta eyes may be more sensitive to light with a tendency towards near-sightedness, redness and inflammation. The eye lashes are medium and oily, and the eyebrows and eyelashes are balanced.
Kapha Dosha Eye Insights
Kapha eyes are large, moist and surrounded by enviable long, thick lashes. (Kapha: water + earth) The look of the eyes tends to be a soft, gentle, compassionate gaze. The iris tends to be blue. The sclera is perfectly white, and the eyebrows are thick and tend to join in the middle if left on their own.
Ayurvedic Eye Tips for Vata, Pitta and Kapha Dosha
1. Bath the eyes with cool water in the morning while holding water in the mouth at the same time. (not hot, not cold, just right.) Hold the water in the mouth for a few seconds and spit it out. Repeat 2-3 times. This is a nice addition to your Ayurveda Morning Routine.
2. Screen over consumption has many deleterious effects including increasing dry eyes. Remember to blink often when using a screen. Use a stickie note or a timer to remind yourself. Take breaks by looking away from the screen every 15 minutes. Leave the screen and enjoy a screen fast from 6pm to 6am each day. Also consider a digital fast one day a week.
"We will jump on intermittent fasting for detox and weight loss, but are we willing to fast from a screen? We seek peace and calm and feel stressed and anxious--start to consciously transition to digital intermittent fasting.
This fasting may occur every 15 minutes when we look away from the screen and cup our eyes, it can occur from after dinner until breakfast and we can add a day or part of the day on the weekend. This three tiered tool for digital intermittent fasting will make a world of difference not only to your eyes, but to your mind and nervous system. See what it does for your mood and sleep" - Veena, Saumya Ayurveda
3. Get good sleep. Try to be in bed and be falling asleep before 10:00pm. You will discover it makes a significant difference due to the times of day and night the doshas dominate. Just before 10:00pm, Pitta dosha begins to rise and that gives us a second fire of productivity. (Mistakenly referred to as a "second wind.") We need to be resting and heading into slumber before that fire gets stoked again.
4. Have proper lighting for the task at hand.
5. Invest in your vision by wearing good quality protective sunglasses. (Wind, sun, sand and pollution affect the eyes and imbalance Vata, Pitta and Kapha dosha.) Not only will you look cool, your eyes will be protected.
6. Manage stress levels as stress negatively impact the doshas and that shows in the eyes. Make use of our free guided practices daily.
7. Eat an Ayurvedic diet that is correct for you by having a consultation. Reduce or eliminate white sugars and favor fresh, cooked properly spiced vegetables and fresh fruits that balance your dosha picture. What is your correct Ayurvedic diet? That depends on your constitution, symptoms, location, season and stage of life. This is accurately determined through an Ayurveda Wellness Consultation.
8. Practice one yog-asana every day: Surya Namaskar, or sun salutations. Benefits include increased circulation which directly benefits the eyes and the whole body. Practice these asanas gently and with awareness of the breath. Three salutations done with breath awareness is a complete experience. It's about quality not quantity.
9. Learn to breath diaphragmatically and change your life. In other words, learn this key life skill and Vata, Pitta and Kapha will begin to balance through the natural remedy called, diaphragmatic breathing.
Food as Medicine
First, eat an Ayurvedic diet that is correct for your dosha picture, at this particular season, based on your location and your stage of life. Second, eat cooked, spiced foods specific to your dosha and include green leafy veggies. Greens are loaded with antioxidant lutein and zeaxanthin which help to prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Almonds are another great food for the eyes. Check out our recipe box for more inspirational ideas.
Ayurveda for Dry, Burning Eyes is more than an ocular surface issue according to Ayurveda. Book your free phone consultation to learn more.
“As a physician, I have always believed ‘Prevention is better than cure.’ In an era of spiraling health care costs, Ayurveda is the logical and natural solution.
I started working with Veena at a time when I was at the end of my tether, juggling my professional and personal aspirations. She responded to my desperate call and went out of her way to find ways to work things into my busy schedule.
I was encouraged to pursue a steady approach to create lasting changes. Now when I see my patients, I see so many sufferings from similar symptoms related to diet and stress. I have routed several of my patients to Saumya Ayurveda. Veena is a blessing to have such a rich resource.
I am eternally grateful to Veena for anchoring me to my present state of health and peacefulness and for helping me to embark on a path towards the balance we all are striving for. Thank you so much.” — Gauri Nagargoje, M.D., Minnesota
Peruse our client stories.
Ayurveda Remedies for Healthy Eyes
Gain insights into your health with Ayurveda. Ayurvedic diet, herbal remedies, diaphragmatic breathing, Ayurvedic cleanses and guided practices all go a long way to balance Vata, Pitta and Kapha dosha and to taking care of your eye health and the whole you.
Discover the Saumya Ayurveda Way
We all want to be heard, understood, and cared for as whole beings, not a set of isolated symptoms. True health is more than the absence of disease, which is why Western medicine so often leaves us feeling hopeless and unseen.
Deep down, you already know what you’re searching for: a new framework for living – one that brings your entire being back into balance. With Saumya Ayurveda, you’ll receive individualized guidance to create the physically, mentally, and spiritually vibrant life you crave.
Veena is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and meditation teacher, and monk.
She is President Emeritus of the Meditation Center and former staff member of the Minnesota Institute of Ayurveda.
Veena fell in love with the traditional medicine used in her family’s home learning herbal remedies at her grandmother's knee. She remains passionate for over 30 years, helping clients feel their best physically, emotionally, and spiritually with Ayurveda.
Veena individualizes treatment plans to each person, rather than offering a one-size-fits-all approach, so it fits your life and becomes woven into your daily life, naturally.