"Of All Sense Organs, Eye is The Most Important!"
However educated and rich the man is, if he does not give the required care for his eyes, he will not be able to make difference between day and night and his life will be useless with all his dreams and desires going waste..." Ayurveda holds the magic wand that has the potential to cure many dreadful diseases of the eye which are directly responsible for vision loss. Some of the eye diseases are Diabetic Retinopathy, Pathological Myopia, Macular Degeneration, Retinitis Pigmentosa, Optic Atrophy, Keratoconus, Dry eyes, Glaucoma, Blepharospasm, Uveitis, eye allergy, and many others also.
Ayurveda has the specialized branch in Ophthalmology named as Shalakya Tantra. It describes in detail the diagnosis and treatment of 76 diseases of the eye. The description mentioned in ayurvedic texts is highly scientific according to the modern parameters. The time tested scientific approach of Ayurveda provides optimum rejuvenation to the retina and optic nerves. Ayurveda believes that all eye diseases are caused by an imbalance in the doshas and accordingly the treatment also aims to maintain the balance of the doshas. The modern-day lifestyle provokes the accumulation of the cellular toxicity in the form of 'Aam' This toxic Aam blocks the normal flow of the fluids, essential nutrients and the waste material in and out of the cells. The increased cellular resistance leads to disturbed functioning of the sense organs including the eye.
Ayurveda being holistic in nature aims to correct the normal cellular physiology, reducing the resistance in the flow of the things. The Ayurvedic Eye Treatment has an upper hand as it does not have any side effect, natural in nature and the results are long-lasting and even permanent cure can be expected in few diseases.
Commonly found diseases of the eye that can be managed with Ayurveda
- Diabetic Retinopathy - Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and a leading cause of blindness. It is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina leading to leakage of blood. These changes finally lead to a group of symptoms like blurred vision, floaters in the field of vision, seeing black spots in the field of vision and sometimes sudden loss of vision of one or both eyes. There can be macular edema also that can lead to a sharp reduction of vision. In a conventional system, treatments like laser photocoagulation and some injections are used to prevent the leaking blood vessels. The effect of these procedures is generally temporary. The disease recurs leading to a reduction of vision gradually. Ayurvedic treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy which is now available in Jaipur in India can be better than the conventional systems as the treatment is non-invasive, natural in nature and has a long-lasting effect.
- Myopic Degeneration - In this condition, myopia rapidly progresses so that in early adult life there may be myopia of 6 D or more. Pathologic myopes are at high risk for retinal detachment and macular changes. This is caused by separation of the retina as a result of abnormal elongation of the eyeball. This will cause a varying amount of blurred vision. There develops a tractional force over the retina due to its anatomical shape which ultimately can lead to retinal tear either in the form of small retinal holes or a big retinal detachment. The progressive degenerative disease can lead to major complications in vision if not taken care of timely. Laser treatment for a prophylactic strengthening of the retina is done in a modern conventional medical system if there is any sign of a retinal hole or a weakened retina. Ayurvedic Eye Treatment provides strengthening to the retina and hence the wear and tear can be prevented. The progressive increase in the power of the glasses can also be prevented. Some positive improvement in the vision can also be expected with Ayurveda Eye Treatment.
- Glaucoma - Glaucoma is a group of eye disorders with various signs and the symptoms in which the optic nerves are gradually damaged due to the increased eye pressure. The damage in the optic nerves can cause permanent reduction in the side (peripheral) vision and ultimately the blindness. Other signs and symptoms may be the pain in the eyes, watering from the eyes and difficulty to face light (photophobia). Glaucoma is such a disease in which there occurs weakening of the optic nerves progressively that can finally lead to blindness. This weakness in the nerve can be either because of the high eye pressure or sometimes even with normal eye pressure (Normal Tension Glaucoma). In a conventional system, eye drops are used to reduce the eye pressure but there are limited treatments to strengthen the weak optic nerves. In Ayurveda eye treatment, there are certain therapies by which we can strengthen the damaged optic nerves and vision can be stabilized. There can be a possibility of some improvement also in vision.
- Age-Related Macular Degeneration - Age Related Macular degeneration is a medical condition usually of older adults that results in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field because of damage to the retina. It occurs in “dry” and “wet” forms. It is a major cause of visual impairment in the elderly. The photoreceptor cells in the macular area become weak and lose their potential to transform the visual current to the brain. This dryness in the macular area may result in leakages sometimes due to the tortuosity of the blood vessels under the macula. The excessive pressure caused due to the tortuosity and the weakness due to age may result in leakage of fluid or blood from the blood vessels under the retina leading to macular edema. Ayurvedic eye treatment can control this condition in the early stage itself and can prevent complications like macular edema. Ideal treatment in Ayurveda for age-related macular degeneration is targeted at 2 levels. First is to strengthen the retinal cells and second is to prevent the leakage from the weakened blood vessels by improving their strength. These two targets can be well achieved by means of Ayurveda therapies.
- Retinitis Pigmentosa - Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of genetic eye conditions. In the progression of symptoms for RP, night blindness generally precedes tunnel vision by years or even decades. RP is a type of progressive retinal dystrophy, a group of inherited disorders in which abnormalities of the photoreceptors (rods and cones) or the Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) of the retina lead to progressive visual loss. There is no sure shot remedy for this dreadful disease in any system of medicine. Ayurvedic eye treatment can provide some relief by doing the overall cleansing of the body using the powerful Ayurveda and panchakarma therapies like Virechan, Nasya, abhyanga, Netradhara, Tharpana, and many others. Apart from this, the natural and herbal Rasayana medicines can strengthen the overall health of the patient including retinal tissue. There is also a role of the Ayurveda herbal eye drops in the management of Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP).
- Dry Eye - Dry eye is simply reduced moisture or the lubrication inside the eyes. There are many reasons for dry eyes starting from excessive use of electronic gadgets like tv, mobile and computer screen to unhealthy eating habits and disturbed sleep patterns. The quality and the quantity of tears gets compromised leading to poor lubrication inside the eye leading to a series of symptoms like foreign body sensation, pain, redness and burning of the eyes. Ayurvedic eye treatment can improve the quality as well as the quantity of the tears maintaining the normal environment of the eyes. Ayurveda medicines and therapies along with ayurvedic eye drop for dry eyes can prevent the further recurrence and relapse of the disease leading to a permanent cure.
- Uveitis - Uveitis is an autoimmune disease having a variety of symptoms sometimes mistaken as dry eye or eye allergy or conjunctivitis or acute stage of glaucoma. There is no specific cause of the disease but a number of factors can aggravate it. The unhealthy eating habits, stressed lifestyle and non fulfillment of materialistic targets of life creates such an environment in the cellular functioning of the body that a series of inflammatory reactions start in the body. When these reactions attack the eye tissue then it is called uveitis. Ayurveda eye treatment for uveitis comprises of detoxification of the cellular toxicity leading to alteration of positive psychology of the cells which ultimately leads to a reduction in the inflammatory reaction. The recurrent nature of the disease requires rigid changes in lifestyle and food habits as per the positive guidance of your consultant.
Ayurveda Procedures for Eye Treatment
In Ayurveda, there is a specialized branch called Shalakya Tantra in which the diagnosis and treatment methods for eye diseases has been explained. There are many powerful therapies explained in Ayurveda for the treatment of eye diseases. All the procedures are aimed to detoxify the body as a whole as well as the eye in specific and to rejuvenate the retina and optic nerves. The procedures like Anjana, Nethradhara, Shirodhara, Shirovasti, Virechan, and Tharpanam etc. helps to correct the vitiated metabolism of the eye tissue and to strengthen the retinal cells and optic nerves. The disease in the eye is caused due to the vitiation of the doshas and hence the treatment also aims to correct their normal levels in the body. The ayurvedic eye treatment approaches in two steps.
- Stage of Purification - It aims to cleanse the body at the cellular level and to remove the metabolic wastes out of the body.
- Stage of Rejuvenation - It aims to correct the metabolic functions and to rejuvenate the retinal cells and optic nerves.
- Nethradhara – Herbal decoction after filtration is poured in the eyes from a certain height to wash the eyes for a period of about 15 min. This procedure cleanses the channels (Srotas) of the eye and does the aam pachana (detoxification at the cellular level) reducing the physical symptoms.
- Tharpanam – This is a powerful therapy for the rejuvenation of the eyes. The paste of gram is put around the eyes in such a way that it gives the appearance of a dam. The medicines which is generally a medicated ghee is then poured in the eyes for a specific time prescribed for the specific disease condition. The active ingredients of the ghee medicine get absorbed through the vascular supply of the eye and start the regeneration process of retina, eye muscles, and optic nerves and the vision is restored.
- Shirodhara – The Patient lies down on the dhara table in the straight sleeping position. Medicine is then poured on the forehead continuously for a period of 45 The medicine options can be herbal decoctions, buttermilk, milk, medicated oils. This selection again depends on the disease condition. The procedure is highly powerful and is used for the strengthening of the nervous system as a whole by increasing the blood flow in the eyes. It can also be used in many of the degenerative conditions of the brain. It is good to induce sleep and reduce stress levels by providing deep relaxation.
- Shirovasti – Shirovasti is a procedure having the same indications as that of Shirodhara. In this process, the medicine is kept inside a leather bag which is tightly fitted on the forehead of the patient. The temperature of the medicine which is generally a medicated oil is also maintained at an optimum level.
- Nasya - Medicated oils or the herbal decoctions are poured inside the nostrils empty stomach in the morning. Nostrils are the door to the brain and the medicine which is directly poured inside the eyes can reach the deeper tissues of the brain very easily. This is used in the multiple diseases of the brain and the eye.
- Virechana - This is medically controlled purgation which is very powerful to eliminate the doshas out of the body. This dissipates the excessive heat of the body by generally 10-30 loose motions as per the requirement of the level of the toxicity in the body. This is good for eye diseases also as eye is the site of pitta. This strictly has to be monitored by an ayurveda expert.
- Anjana and Aschotanam are the procedures by which medicine is applied inside the eyes.
By adopting Ayurveda as a system for the treatment of eye diseases it is not only possible to prevent the progression of a disease but also to improve up to a significant level in many cases. Ayurveda is a time tested science and does not have any of the side effects because of the natural origin of the medicines and the therapies. Ayurveda is always contributing to humanity in its own scientific way in the great mission of moving from dark to light.
The author is the chief consultant and Ayurvedic eye specialist of Prakash Nethralaya and Panchakarma Kendra, Jaipur. Based on his experience of over 10 successful years in Ayurveda, he has taken the hospital to yet another stage of assurance and reliability.
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