The eyes are a mirror of general health and the most expressive features of the face. Beautiful, bright eyes are a part of radiant health and the best asset one can have. They give a wonderful effect to one’s personality. On the other hand, eyes are an indication of ill-health and a depressed state of mind. During illness, the eyes are the first to tell their story of pain.
Causes of Dull Eyes: The main causes of dull eyes are mental strain, faulty diet, and improper blood supply. Mental strain, resulting from overwork, worry, fear and anxiety puts a corresponding physical strain on the eyes and their muscles and nerves. Physical strain on the eyes may also be caused by reading in dim light or in glaring light, or reading in moving trains, buses or cars, watching too much television and films, and excessive reading. Dust, smoke and prolonged exposure to darkness are all harmful to the eyes and should be avoided. Dull eyes are symptoms of a general toxemic condition of the body mainly due to excessive intake of starch, sugar and protein. The muscles and blood vessels surrounding the eyes share in the clogging process taking place due to improper metabolism caused by an imbalanced and too concentrated diet. For healthy and lively eyes, it is necessary that they are properly supplied with blood and nerve force. Any interference with the blood vessels or with the nerves of the eyes could result in lack-lustre eyes.
Natural Care: The first important factor in restoring normal health and sparkle to the eyes is to loosen the strained and contracted muscles surrounding the eyes. The eye muscle and neck exercises mentioned below will help achieve this purpose. All these exercises should be performed while sitting in a comfortable position. Eye Exercises
(i) Keep the head still and relaxed; gently move the eyes up and down six times. Repeat the same movement two or three times after a rest of two or three seconds in between.
(ii) Move the eyes six times from side to side, as far as possible, without any force or effort. Repeat two or three times.
(iii) Hold up the index finger of the right hand about eight inches in front of the eyes, then look from the finger to any other large object ten or more feet away the door or window will do. Look from one to the other ten times. Do this exercise fairly rapidly.
(iv) Move the eyes gently and slowly round in a circle, then move them low in the reverse direction. Do this our times in all. Rest for two or three seconds and repeat the movements two or three times, using mini: num effort.
Neck Exercises: Rotate the neck (a) in cirlces and semi-circles, (b) move the shoulders anti-clockwise briskly, drawing them up as far as possible several times, (c) allow the head to drop forward and backward as far as possible, (d) turn the head to the right and left as far as possible several times. These exercises help to loosen contracted neck muscles which may restrict blood supply to the head.
Splashing: Splash plain, cold water several times on the closed eyes. This cools the eyes and increases blood supply.
Palming: Sit in a comfortable position in an armchair or on a settee and relax with your eyes closed. Cover the eyes with the palms, right palm over the right eye and the left palm over the left eye. Do not press on the eyes. Then. with your eyes completely covered in this manner, allow your elbows to drop on to your knees, keeping the knees fairly close together. While eyes are closed thus, try to imagine blackness, which grows darker and darker. Palming lessens strain and relaxes the eyes and it surrounding tissues.
Massage: Massaging the eyes with warm vegetable oil (olive or safflower) helps in getting a smoother look. As the skin around the eyes is very delicate, use gentle movements. without tugging. Start by running the third fintertip from your nose, under the eyebrow and in a circle around and under the eye and back to the nose. Repeat the movement using circular rotating actions, keeping them light and gentle.
Diet: Diet is of utmost importance for the health and beauty of the eyes. Natural, uncooked foods are the best diet These include fresh fruits such as oranges, apples, grapes, peaches, papaya and pomegranate; green vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, spinach, turnip tops; root vegetables like potatoes, turnips, carrots, onions and beetroot’s; nuts, dried fruits and dairy products. Genuine whole meal bread is the best . and most suitable. Jams, cakes, pastries, white sugar, white bread, tea and coffee, together with meat and fish, soon play havoc with the digestion and the body. Constipating or wind forming foods, alchohol and other intoxicating substances are also harmful and should be avoided.
Each of the essential nutrients needed by the body plays some part in the health and beauty of thee yes. The effect of vitamin A upon the eyes is, however, most pronounced. For normal and healthy eyes, liberal amount of vitamin A must be continuously supplied by the food. The valuable sources of this vitamin are cod liver oil, whole milk, curd, butter, egg yolk, pumpkin, carrots, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, mango papaya orange and melon.
If vitamin A is in short supply, the eyes may become sensitive to bright lights and a person may suffer from visual fatigue and a consequent feeling of tiredness. If a deficiency of this vitamin becomes severe, visual fatigue and sensitivity to light grow progressively more pronounced.
To keep the eyes normal, beautiful and bright, an adult should have at least 10,000 units of vitamin A daily. Persons using their eyes for long hours or working either in extremely bright or in dim light require more of this vitamin that those who use their eyes for short hours. This vitamin is also essential to the health of certain tissues, known as mucous membranes, which line such body cavities as the tear ducts and tear glands. Healthy mucous membrane, or the normal flow of tears, determines the highlights, the sparkle, the charming play of shadows in the eyes.
Another vitamin necessary for visual health is riboflavin, or vitamin 82. Valuable natural sources of this vitamin are green leafy vegetable, milk, cheese, egg, citrus fruits, banana, tomato, brewer’s yeast, almonds and sunflower seeds. A healthy diet of milk, butter, fruits, green vegetables and proteins should be taken for the proper care of the eyes. Raw carrots, contain vitamins which help maintain the eyes in a healthy and bright condition. They should therefore be taken liberally.
Tears are believed to be beneficial to the yes as they wash the eyes clean of dust and other particles. Medically, it is known that the enzyme lysozyme present in the lacrymal secretion is antibacterial and destroys pathogenic germs that enter the eyes. There are certain ways recommended to increase lachrymation like squeezing the rind of the orange or lime, crushing an onion close to the eyes and instilling a few drops of oil. Those who habituate their system to these practices from a young age will benefit greatly. To start on these practices suddenly may not be easy.
Amongst the various natural substances, the use of castor oil is highly beneficial for the eyes. A few drops of this oil should be put daily in each eye. This causes increased laceration of the eyes for a while but leaves the eyes clean and cool. Regular massage of the scalp with castor oil decreases eye strain. The herb nutmeg exercises beneficial effect on the eyes. It is rich in fats and volatile oils. A paste of this herb made with milk may be applied all around the eyes and over the eyelids. It will have a cooling effect. A teaspoon of this preparation should be soaked overnight in a cup of water. It should be poured through a clean muslin cloth and thee yes should be washed with it. The eyes should also be dabbed with the cloth for a minute. If a burning sensation is felt in the eyes, the water should be cooled in the refrigerator before use.
Cold tea can be used to brighten tired eyes. A cotton wool pad soaked in cold tea can be used as eye pads for this purpose. Bathing the eyes in warm water, to which a little salt has been added, can brighten them. It also helps to relieve puffiness. A cotton wool pad dipped in a salt water solution, containing one tablespoon of salt in half a litre of water, can also be used as an eye pack for the same purpose.
Another important factor for the beauty of the eye is sleep. Without adequate sleep, the eyes can look puffy, bloodshot and even become encircled by dark shadows. At least seven hours of sleep is the average daily pattern. Whenever one misses out on sleep, it should be made good as soon as possible. As and when time permits, one should take a few minutes off to close the eyes and relax. The eyes should also be proctected from long exposure to strong sunlight. The glare created by sunlight can harm the eyes. It will be advisable to wear sunglasses outdoors. It should, however, be insured that the quality of the glasses used is good.