"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 eye which are directly responsible for vision loss. Some of the diseases are Diabetic Retinopathy, Pathological Myopia, Macular Degeneration, Retinitis Pigmentosa, Optic Atrophy etc.Ayurvedic Opthalmology:Ayurveda has the specialized branch in Ophthalmology named as Shalakya Tantra. It describes in detail the diagnosis and treatment of 76 diseases of 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 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.Commonly found diseases of retina
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 field of vision, seeing black spots in field of vision and sometimes sudden loss of vision of one or both eyes.
·Myopic Degeneration- In this condition the myopia rapidly progresses so that in early adult life there may be myopia of 20D or more. Pathologic myopes are at 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.·Glaucoma- Glaucoma is a group of eye disorders in which the optic nerves connecting the eyes and the brain are progressively damaged. This damage can lead to reduction in side (peripheral) vision and eventual blindness. Other signs and symptoms may include bulging eyes, excessive tearing, and abnormal sensitivity to light (photophobia).
Macular Degeneration- Macular degenerationis 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 (>50 years)
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.
ProceduresIn Ayurveda, Many of highly potent therapeutic treatment procedures are described in Shalakya Tantra. The aim of all treatment procedures is to prevent the degeneration process and to restore the vision. The procedures like anjana, nethradhara and tharpanam etc. helps to correct the vitiated metabolism of the cells and to stimulate the regeneration of the retinal cells and optic nerves. The treatment approaches in two steps.
Stage of purification. It aims in cleansing the body at metabolic level and to remove the metabolic wastes out of body.
Stage of rejuvenation. It aims to correct the metabolic functions and to rejuvenate the retinal cells and optic nerves
Nethradhara– Filtered decoction of the medicated herbs are poured in the nasal canthus of the eye from a height of 2 angula (approx. 4 cm) and for a period of about 15 min. This procedure helps to do clean the channels (Srotas) of the eye and do the aam pachana (detoxification at the cellular level).Tharpanam– The highly powerful procedure which rejuvenates the eyes. The paste of gram is applied around the eyes which gives the appearance of a dam. The medicated ghee is then poured in the eyes for a time described according to the diseased condition. The active ingredients of the ghee medicine start the regeneration process and the vision is restored.Sirodhara– Patient is made to lie on the dhara table. Medicated oil is poured on the forehead continuously for about a period of 45 min. This process gives strength to the nervous system and increases the blood circulation of the optic nerves. It is also effective in many degenerative diseases of the brain and optic nerves. Medicated oils, milk, buttermilk mixed with medicated decoctions are some of the fluids used.Sirovasty– This procedure is more powerful than sirodhara. Medicine is kept inside a leather bag fitted around the head at a bearable temperature for a prescribed time. It also acts very effectively in all degenerative diseases of the nervous system.Nasya-- This is a procedure in which medicated oil is poured in both the nostrils empty stomach. The toxins accumulated in the areas above the neck are brought out via this route. Nostrils are the doors to the brain according to Ayurveda classics.Anjanaand 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 correct a disease but also to prevent blindness. Ayurveda is always contributing to humanity in its own scientific way in the great mission of moving from dark to lightDr. Dinesh Sharma(The author is Ayurvedic eye specialist of Prakash Ayurvedic Nethralaya & Panchakarma Kendra, Jaipur.)