I have dry eyes and blepharitis. I have tried medications, but these only help temporarily. Is there a long-lasting remedy in Ayurveda?

Blepharitis is the inflammation of the eyelids. The main symptoms include itchy and watery eyes, red swollen eyes and eyelids, a gritty or burning sensation in the eyes, greasy appearance of the eyelids, flaking on eyelids, sensitivity to light, loss or abnormal growth of eyelashes. Blepharitis is seen associated with several health problems like seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff), acne rosacea and allergies.

Dry eyes, a common complication of blepharitis, can also be caused by decreased tear production or increased tear evaporation. Direct exposure to cold air, smoke, blinking less often while reading, driving or working at computer are common causes of dry eyes in this region. Ageing, and antihistamine, decongestant and blood pressure medications can also lead to dry eye conditions.

Treatment of the cause – and not the symptoms – is important in the management of blepharitis and dry eyes. Some tips that could be useful:

• Apply a warm compress over your closed eyes for a few minutes and remove the flaky deposits on your eyelids.

• Boil a cup of water with a few Tulsi (basil) leaves or Thriphala. Once cool, use the water to wash your eyes.

• Make a small compress of a teaspoon of turmeric powder in a muslin cloth. Dip this compress in hot water and apply over closed eyes.

• Put a teaspoon of Thriphala powder in hot water overnight; strain it the next morning and use to wash eyes.

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• Eye drops such as Ilaneer kuzhampu are effective in reducing eyelid inflammation.

• Apply ghee around the eyes; a drop of castor oil in each eye is beneficial for dry eyes

• Apply two to three drops of ghee or sesame oil in each nostril.

• Avoid dry climatic conditions, reduce AC exposure, limit computer use and coffee.

• Reduce sour foods and quit smoking.

I suggest you consult an Ayurvedic doctor for a detailed diagnosis and treatment. He or she will be able to tell you your body type and prescribe a specialised treatment.