– An interview with a Leading Ophthalmic Surgeon

It was a wet and chilly day. A middle aged man with a pleasant
appearance came to the doorstep of Institute wiping his glasses and
soaking to the skin. “Can we help you?” asked the attendant at the desk.
A mild smile, and then, “I was called today. I am Dr. Dave”, said the
visitor. The person at the desk courteously led him to Shri Yogendraji,
The Founder of The Yoga institute. The bond seemed to be instantaneous
of two simple great men. After exchanging a few pleasantries an informal
discussion ensued. Shri Yogendraji in his vibrant tone said, “I came
across a book by Bates, Sight without Glasses and I became intrigued
that people did not know about the yogic way for restoring eyesight. So
I wrote down in my Yoga Personal Hygiene book how to look after the eyes
and other organs of the body by ancient methods. People were amazed to
see in our country and in other lands that there was so much that the
Yogi knew about internal cleansing and they were able to look after
their bodies perfectly well. The doctor said he was not very much
acquainted with yogic methods of eye care. We had requested the doctor
to clarify a few points which were claimed in Yoga. We inquisitively
asked the doctor whether they are valid according to modern physical
science. A question-answer session followed between the doctor and some
of the Institute’s teachers.
Hansaji: We know today that therapy has advanced much in the treatment
of the eye. In Yoga we do certain fixation practices. We would like to
know from you which muscles of the eyes can be helped.
Dr. Dave: There are two types of the muscles of the eye – voluntary and
involuntary. The two sets of muscles work in a team. One set of muscles
on one side and the other on the opposite side to create a balance.
There are six voluntary muscles – up, down, both the sides and for
rotation. These muscles can be helped with the yogic practices. There
are two types of muscles in the iris also. You know that you tend to
close your eyes when there is a sudden flash of light. The iris muscle
contracts and less light penetrates through the pupil. The light comes
in parallel waves and to do reading the light waves have to be focused
at a certain point so that there is more strain in reading. The muscles
get strained and therefore it has been noticed that after 40 years many
people who do a lot of reading have to wear glasses.
Hansaji: It has been claimed that with the eye exercises a person canget
rid of the glasses. If he is middle aged or older.
Dr. Dave: Sometimes the grandfather is a pride of the grandchildren as
he is not wearing glasses whereas the younger ones are! This might be
that due to certain sclerosing of the lens the person can see better at
that point. But that does not mean that his eye is definitely better.
Also it has been claimed that the number of the glasses changes, but I
feel that many times the number of the glass which changes is due to a
physiological defect in the size of the eye ball. The corrective lens
makes the light fall on the retina at the proper angle and this
physiological handicap, I believe, cannot be rectified with the
Mrs. Nutan: “Dr, my child had a 0.25 number and after the exercises the
number gradually vanished.”
Dr. Dave: This is a very small number and perhaps fo those who have very
small numbers it can work, but I am open to claims and experiments of
Yoga teacher who says that the number can be reduced. They may come to
me for a check-up before they begin the exercises and after, and I will
examine and give my report.
Mrs. Desai: In certain yogic practices, the eye gaze is fixed on a
certain place for a long time. Would these practices be contraindicated
for any eye disorder e. g. detachment of the retina.”
Dr. Dave: “In detachment of the retina there is contraindication for
jerky movements and I do not think that while you are doing your eye
practices there are any jerky movements. So these eye practices can be
done safely. A person who has a high number though should maintain
caution in doing these practices fo a long time, as too much fixation at
one point without blinking can create a strain.”
Pt. Shambhunath: “If the person feels no strain and does palming after
the practices, could it be safe/”
Dr. Dave: “Yes, that is right.”
Mrs Desai: “Dr. Dave, it has been noticed in yogic literature and even
Shri Yogendraji relates during his training that he had to sit in
Trataka (fixation practices) for a long time. Do you think that was
Dr. Dave: I am not sure and wonder how one could sit without blinking
for such a long time. But the eye might become dry when it was kept open
for a long period without blinking.”
Mrs. Desai: “It has been stated that frequent blinking while reading is
good. True?”
Dr. Dave: The purpose of closing the eye is to keep it wet so that the
eye gets some relief. In a healthy body natural glands are functioning
well and the eye keeps wet normally. It is only when in certain diseases
like Trachoma or certain other condition which affects the body that the
eyes should be kept wet by the addition of certain drops.”
Pt. Shambhunath: “Can certain muscles of the eye be trained?”
Dr. Dave: “Yes. Many times if a person cannot do the shoulder gazing on
a certain side till the end of the shoulder, that side may be the weaker
side. So you have to try and make him do the exercises on that side
first and then the other.
Hansaji: “It has been claimed in Yoga literature that 50% of the body is
conserved when we close eyes. Is there any scientific truth in this
Dr. Dave: “Every time we see something the mind vibrates and starts
thinking and that makes us lose energy. So every time we close the eyes,
so much less thinking is done and the senses are less stimulated and
that conserves the energy. It has been noticed that the blind many times
have more strength because they are conserving energy as the mind is not
being visually stimulated so much.
Dr. Dave made a clear statement: “Each organ in our body has a certain
life span. As long as it is kept healthy and preserved it can give its
optimum life, just like a motor, if one looks after it well it can give
a long life.”

Pt. Shambhunath: “Is there a direct relationship between good general
health and health of the eye?”
Dr. Dave: There is definitely a relationship. No part of the body works
in complete isolation and the eye being a part of the body, if the
general health of the person is maintained at an optimum level the eye
will be equally good.”
Pt. Shambhunath: “Is there any value in sun gazing?”
Dr. Dave: “At sun rise and at sunset when the rays of the sun are very
mild, there is no harm if sun gazing is done, but it should not be done
when the rays are hot. When the rays are mild at sunset and sunrise the
effect on the mind too can be soothing and that has a value
psychologically to yield a feeling of quietude.”

An article from the Yoga & Total Health Magazine of August 2010

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