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  1. Harminder S Dua,
  2. Aarti Dua,
  3. Arun D Singh

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For the last 2 years the cover of the British Journal of Ophthalmology has depicted images along two themes, ‘Antique ophthalmic instruments’ and ‘The Eye in mythology’. There is hardly a culture or religion in the world where the ‘Eye’ has not figured prominently or symbolically in one context or the other, often with a legend attached to it. In this issue ‘mythology’ comes to the eye. The conjunctival vessels in a perfectly normal eye of a normal individual spell out the syllable Embedded Image as written in the Devanagari (Hindi) script. Dilated, prominent episcleral or conjunctival vessels could represent the ‘sentinel’ vessel of a ciliary body tumour.

The word ‘Aum’ or ‘Om’ is the single most sacred word or syllable in the Hindu religion, which also transcends into other Indian religions. It is written in many different ways, the most popular being Embedded Image.1 It is believed to originate from the Sanskrit word ‘Pranavam’ which conveys the meaning ‘the beginning of a new universe’. The syllable is composed of three Sanskrit alphabets of, which translated into English represent A, U and M. They are believed to symbolise the three Vedas; the three stages of existance—birth, life and death; and the holy Hindu Trinity made of lord Brahma, the creator, lord Vishnu the preserver and lord Shiva the destroyer.2

Aum’ is not just a word. It is more a sound or an enunciation. It is pronounced at the commencement of most prayers, mantras and religious ceremonies. When properly pronounced is said to be a ‘vibration’ that has an invigorating effect in the body. Chanting ‘Aum’ in a rhythmic way is believed to destroy bad elements in the body and mind. Hence the practice is used in the treatment of diseases using the yoga and ‘pranayama techniques’.3

Figure

Inverse colour image of the cover image. The conjunctival vessels are highlighted in a grey scale giving the appearance of a fluorescein angiogram image.