The renaissance ophthalmologist, Juan Murube, MD, PhD, Professor of
Ophthalmology, University of Alcala, Madrid, Spain, president of the
International Society of Dacryology and editor of the Sources in Time section of the peer-reviewed journal The Ocular Surface, wrote a most interesting article in the January 2007 edition called The Ocular Surface and Its Symbolism. This week our Friday Pearl column addresses Dr. Murube’s brilliant literary enfeoffment to his readers.
Dr. Murube suggests the eye to be the most important and, no doubt,
the most powerful feature of the body. The healthy eye symbolizes
vision and knowledge. In general, an open eye represents observing and
learning; a closed eye represents the blocking of the entry of
information during abstraction, meditation or sleep, and blindness
represents a total lack of visual information, which makes the subject
different from his sighted peers.
The eye is the first part of the body that one observes in others.
Evolution and cultural uses have given the muscles of the eyelids a
rich repertoire of expressions to communicate enticement, love, anger,
benevolence, information, etc. A healthy tear film gives the ocular
surface its seductive brilliance and reflective and refractive
In Greek mythology, Medusa could transform, with her eyes, any man
or any object into stone – if or when she so chose. Celtic legend
suggests that Tricastal, a champion of Ulster, could kill enemies just
by looking at them. In Indian culture, the frontal eye (the third eye)
of Shiva, which represents fire, can burn things into ash. And the
proverbial "evil eye" is thought to be a malefic effect induced by the
glance of witches or envious persons. The evil eye superstition still
exists in much of the world’s population. We might add that many
females, who are neither witches nor envious, have found it necessary
to develop "evil eye" skills to occasionally ward off unwanted suitors.
The eyes were first identified in ancient culture art and
literature with the sun, stars and moon because of their round form and
their light emission. Although most cultures no longer make decisions
based on the cycles of the moon, Dr. Murube suggests that some
superstitious ophthalmologists still refuse to operate on the eyes on
Wednesdays (the day the sun and moon were created) to avoid the risk of
causing loss of vision.
Some Friday Pearl readers suggest it
could be because they have standing Wednesday appointments for a
symbolic game that celebrates small round spheres - and heavenly
Dr. Murube gracefully pointed out in his paper that the eye and
the vulva were frequently represented in ancient engravings and
painting, as well as in modern photography. Sometimes it's not entirely
clear when they mean the one - or the other. The eye socket and the
vulva have many similarities in their morphology, as seen in the art
· The eyelids are similar to labia majora and labia minora
· The pupil’s response to light is similar to vaginal response to stimulation
· Lacrimal and meibomian gland output is similar to Bartholin gland lubrication
Interestingly, a number of gynocologists also recognize the
morphology similarity and recommend BioTears oral supplementation to
systemically address vaginal dryness and to increase vaginal and
cervical mucosae host defense. What's good for the eyes is good for the
Ellen Troyer, MT MA - Biosyntrx Chief Research Officer %Ellen%
*13 Rock Painting in which probably the concepts of vulva and eye are mixed.
*14 Rock painting in the Negev Desert (Israel) can be interperted as an eye or vulva.
*15 Eye photo poster courtesy of the XII International Festival of Erotic Cinema (Barcelona 2004)