The Effects of the Six Principles of Hygiene in Maintaining Health and Preventing Eye Diseases from the Perspective of Medieval Persian Medicine

Saeed Changizi–Ashtiyani1, Zahra Mansouri1, Mohammad Hossein Asadi1, Azam Khosravi1, Mehrbod Ghasempour2, Bahar Bastani3, *
, Saeed Amini1, 4
1 Department of the History of Medical Sciences, Traditional and Complementary Medicine Research Center (TCMRC), Arak University of Medical Sciences, Arak, Iran
2 Ophthalmologist, Ophthalmic Research Center, Research Institute for Ophthalmology and Vision Science, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
3 Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
4 Department of Public Health, Khomein University of Medical Sciences, Khomein, Iran

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© 2023 Changizi–Ashtiyani et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Division of Nephrology, Saint Louis University Medical Center, SluCare Academic Pavilion. 1008 S. Spring Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63110 USA; Tel: (314) 577-8765;
Fax: (314) 771-0784; E-mail:



The term “Hefz al-Sehheh” (Maintaining Health) in traditional Persian medicine has roots in 6 core principles and is based on the concept that maintaining health is prioritized over treatment. In this day and age of significant advancements in medical technology and therapeutics, less emphasis is being placed on maintaining health and preventing illness. This manuscript presents the viewpoints of prominent figures of medieval Persian medicine on maintaining eye health and preventing diseases.


We reviewed the content of 9 medieval medical reference books written by 6 most prominent medieval Persian (Iranian) physicians and polymaths, i.e., Rhazes, Haly Abbas, Avicenna, Jorjani, Aghili Shirazi, and Kahal. Also, related articles were extracted from valid databases using keywords based on entry and exit criteria without time limits.


According to these prominent medieval Persian physicians and polymaths, exposure to extremely hot or cold weather or dusty air; chronic oversleeping or sleep deprivation; sleeping prone on a full stomach; excessive consumption of salty, spicy, sweet, or steamy food; and drinking cold, salted, carbonated water are harmful to eye health. They recommended purging the bowel with laxatives, eating easy-to-digest foods, practicing well-balanced exercise, and avoiding strenuous physical activity and rapid eye movements. Furthermore, they believed that the accumulation of waste products in the body is detrimental to eye health and that therapeutic bloodletting, leeching, rheuming, kohl, and catharsis with laxative drugs are highly effective for maintaining eye health. Moreover, they believed that a person's mental state, i.e., anger, sorrow, grief, joy, and happiness, would influence one's eye health.


The emphasis of medieval, traditional Persian medicine on maintaining eye health deserves our attention, realization, and appreciation of the environmental and lifestyle factors that can affect our eyes and other organs' health and well-being.

Keywords: Medieval medicine, Persian medicine, Traditional medicine, History of medicine, Hefz al-Sehheh, Eye Health.