Meditation, what has helped me the most
Hi everyone. It's been about 6 years since I posted here last, but I thought I'd return since I have something to say about dry eyes that actually isn't negative.
I have been meditating for years now and it's had a huge (beneficial) cumulative effect on my dry eyes. For those who aren't familiar with meditation, one way of describing it is the practice of releasing fixations, reducing compulsive thinking and acting, which has the effect of increasing awareness, making everything more manageable. In terms of dry eyes, this means not inadvertently straining any of the various muscles in the eyes and eyelids and around the eyes and at the same time, having much greater body awareness, including in the eyes, with which to exercise different muscles and keep them healthy.
Another aspect of meditation is getting a handle on suffering itself. To constantly monitor our thoughts and actions is to humbly bring awareness to our own harmful habits and tendencies, while at the same time, increase receptivity to solutions...since we are doing less to distract ourselves. The solutions might not be exactly what we're looking for (e.g. having totally normal eyes again), but things, on a whole, become less and less problematic. For example, absent the frustration and resentment that I used to experience due to all sorts of failed expectations in life resulting from dry eyes, I can truly give attention to managing my symptoms as though there's nothing in the world that I'd rather be doing. The more we can look at dry eyes as being problematic only insomuch as we're looking to control outcomes and have other experiences, the more we can take control of the problem by living in the moment without expectations. And this central not just to dealing with dry eyes but to dealing with anything.
I realize that this post might seem vague, but I have a website that provides a much more extensive introduction to meditation for anyone who's interested or who's skeptical but still curious: http://www.meditation-source.com/#info
thanks for sharing your experiences, it is good to hear about some one healed or almost healed, i also started to meditate since two weeks my impulse was to fill the time, as my eyes currently in very bad situation, unfortunatly i became unable to use laptop almost so i searched for activities to do that do not depend on eye usage, i started hearing a lot of audio books, meditate and doing some sport, now i have trouble in my work as since one month i am unable to work because of strong pain in my eye balls and involuntary blinking, i asked for unpaid leave and do not know till when my company will be patioent with my case and do not fire me.
brave_heart, sorry about your situation there. I know what it's like to struggle at work because of this...had a career as a computer programmer cut short myself. Meditation helps to retain body awareness. So while your looking at a computer screen, you won't get so absorbed with what's on it and bug out with your eyes. And that impulse to fill your time is something everybody encounters. With practice, you can get used to ignoring it while maintaining alert and relaxed energy. Let me know if I can help with any of that.
please tell me does meditation helped you phisycally and enhanced your dry eye, or just it made you aware of the pain and so you could control it ? how long you meditate daily? and after how long of starting it you felt better ?
I've been meditating since 1991. Started with doing Transcendental Meditation (TM). Since then my life's interests and activities have centered around nature and energetic healing. But when dry eye crept into my life a few years ago, it certainly has been my biggest challenge. If dry eye was the result of a 'choice' such as Refractive surgery, guilt can often lead to depression and you'll know how anxiety feels if you've never had it before. Aside the guilt and regret is the pain and restriction to daily living which creates more stress leading to a viscious cycle. Since stress and anxiety plays a major role as a reaction to having dry eyes, meditation is a very useful tool. By decreasing stress/anxiety, the sensation of pain is reduced too.
I also have my own site for meditation, there are specific programs for stress, anxiety, depression and pain relief - www.mindivine.com.au
DCRdryeye, that is certainly an impressive web site! Thank you for sharing!
I took the TM course in 1982. . . still remember my mantra. I abandoned TM because I felt that I was not able to do it 'properly'. I always felt that I was somehow inferior with my inability to 'control' my wandering mind. I now practice mindful meditation and I am really pleased with the level of relaxation and peace of mind that this offers.
As an aside, do you not think that there is a natural alternative to Restasis . . . curcumin, colostrum, . . . ?
Originally Posted by brave_heart
There are short-term tangible benefits experienced right after meditation, such as greater relaxation/ability to manage pain, and then there are long-term benefits. These are cumulative improvements in the ability to selectively direct and withdraw attention and, physically, to scan the body and effect changes in more controlled, precise ways. With dry eyes, for example, rather than just being able to direct a small portion of our attention to the eyes with the rest of it scattered in uncontrolled ways, we can learn to bring concentrated attention to the area and feel it and manipulate it in a much more detailed and in-depth way. On an experiential level, this can feel like actually being the eyes rather than being a person managing the eyes. People often don't realize the flexibility of consciousness that is available with practice.
Generally, increasing our ability to observe and manipulate the body more effectively allows greater attention to be given to areas around which there is "dis-ease." This allows us to feel those areas from different angles with varying levels of focus and to relax them more thoroughly. So, increasing awareness through meditation automatically increases our capacity for physical well-being. To answer your question, yes, my eyes feel much better than they used to. Also, on average, I practice dedicated meditation for 1 or 2 hours a day and do all my daily activities in a meditative way--that is, with as little unnecessary fixation as possible.
Thanks hopeful for liking my website. I'm glad you found an alternative to TM and can meditate, it's best to keep meditation going because the benefits are from ongoing use.
I'm using Restasis myself, onto the third month. When you ask if there's an alternative, do you mean in the form of a "drop" that goes directly onto the eye, or an oral route? Restasis is an immunosuppressant, and (in theory) assists anyone who's immune system is over active in the eye area including the eyeball surface, goblet cells and the tear glands. Those with auto-immune dry eyes such as Sjogren's may see genuine benefit from Restasis. However, there certainly are 'natural' immunosuppressants and herbalists use them on cases of auto-immunity, examples of those herbs are Hemidesmus and Tylophora. I'm not aware of any studies using these herbs for dry eyes. Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory, and I've seen inflammed eyes improve with it. No harm in trying, but I'd suggest to see a professional herbalist or naturopath, never self prescribe
Yes I was thinking of something natural that would have an effect similar to Restasis, but that would be taken internally. I have not wanted to take Restasis due to possible systemic effects. I am rather prone to cold sores, had shingles once, and would hate to have Restasis potentiate any possible viral recurrence. One month on Restasis, so far so good. . . no stinging. . . some added moisture!
I don't know if I have Sjogren's in addition to post lasik dry eye. . . I do have some sjogren-like symptoms, as dry mouth. Preliminary blood tests are negative so my GP is doubtful.
I will definitely check out the herbs. My massage therapist is also an herbalist. I have been seen two naturopaths this past year. One was overly focused on a homeopathic remedy and the other on a spiritual solution. I will be seeing a holistic MD in a few weeks. I am looking forward to seeing what he has to offer. I have been using curcumin off and on.
I do find that practising focused relaxation of eye, face, mouth and stomach muscles, to be very beneficial. I can feel my eyes start to water after about five minutes in this relaxed state. This makes me wonder if there is a huge emotional/stress component to dry eyes, or at least some forms of dry eye. I don't suppose that the researchers would want to do a dry eye study to assess the effectiveness of various meditative or relaxation techniques on dry eyes!
So you're on Restasis now? I hope it works for you ... I've got some dry mouth and have also had the Sjogren's anti-body test and was also negative. On the other hand, people with Sjogren's don't always have a positive test result.
It's great you've seen a few Naturopaths. Not sure about the homeopathic approach and what are the spiritual solutions they've given you? It seems like you have an open mind so these options keep you positive. Can you find a Naturopath/herbalist who has worked with dry eyes? perhaps do a google search.
I find it very interesting you've used focusing attention to relax the muscles around the eye and face area. Dry eye pain definitely causes 'squinting' and these areas always seem to tense up with this awful condition. I know the skin around my eyes have aged due to the squinting, and all the drops I've put in and rolling down my face. I must get a good eye moisturizer.
Do you use a hot compress on your eyes? it's a good opportunity to do the relaxation exercise to relax the eye and face muscles whilst the warmth is penetrating through ...
We don't have to wait for research into using meditation for dry eyes because we know meditation has benefits regardless
Great posts, DCR.
I've also found hot compresses to be very helpful in the way you've described. I use olive oil on the skin around my eyes after using them to prevent that dryness and premature aging of the skin.
Hi Cameron, thanks for the tip, I will have to give the olive oil a try.