Glaucoma, vision problems, and dry eyes are very common nowadays. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness. This article discusses in detail the ayurvedic approaches to treat eye disorders.
Eyes perform one of the prime functions of the human body, that is, vision. Loss of vision greatly affects one's ability to function in day-to-day life. Most people try to cope with their vision problems until it becomes an emergency. Taking eyes for granted must be stopped now! Conditions like ocular hypertension, glaucoma, eye strain due to prolonged screen use, etc., are all preventable if proper eye care techniques are followed. The good news is that most eye disorders are treatable, but prompt identification is crucial in successful treatment.
Ocular hypertension is nothing but elevated pressure inside the eyeball. In clinical terms, it can be defined as the presence of elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) in the absence of optic nerve damage or loss of visual field. Normal intraocular pressure is between 10 mm Hg - 21 mm Hg. Usually, the fluids in the eye drain. When they fail to drain properly, the pressure within the eye gets elevated. This pressure buildup within the eye leads to a condition called glaucoma, the most common complication of ocular hypertension. In glaucoma, the elevated eye pressure damages the optic nerve resulting in vision loss.
Ocular hypertension and glaucoma are not the same things. Ocular hypertension, when ignored, can lead to glaucoma. While the optic nerve is damaged in glaucoma, it is not in ocular hypertension.
The human eye continuously produces a clear fluid called aqueous humor that flows in the front of the eye. This fluid simultaneously gets drained to flow out of the eye. This process balances the eye pressure. When the fluid does not flow or drain properly, excess fluid builds up within the eye leading to elevated eye pressure.
People at high risk of ocular hypertension are;
Those aged above 40 years.
People with myopia (short-sightedness).
American-Africans and Hispanics.
Those with comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension.
Family history of ocular hypertension.
Long-term steroid therapy.
Those with previous eye surgery.
Glaucoma is characterized by having multiple eye disorders, including optic nerve damage, loss of visual field, and permanent damage to vision leading to blindness. It is called a "silent thief of sight." As discussed earlier, in glaucoma, pressure buildup within the eye damages the optic nerve leading to vision loss. The optic nerve is made of millions of nerve fibers. These fibers get damaged, and blind spots in vision develop. These blind spots increase with damage to more fibers, eventually leading to blindness.
Gradually progressive visual field loss.
Optic nerve changes.
Seeing halos around lights.
There are two types of glaucoma;
Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma - This common type of glaucoma develops gradually with no visual changes in the beginning.
Closed-Angle Glaucoma - In this type of glaucoma, the iris is situated very close to the drainage angle such that it blocks the drainage. This leads to an immediate rise in pressure. This is an acute attack and is a medical emergency. If not intervened immediately, it might result in blindness.
Older individuals above the age of 50 years and those who are having diabetes and hypertension need to check for intraocular pressure every 6 months to 1 year without fail to prevent complications like glaucoma. Vision loss can be prevented and treated by detecting glaucoma early.
All these eye disorders are explained in ayurveda in Sarva akshi roga – abhishyanda and adhimantha.
According to ayurveda, the following treatments give positive results:
Sekam - pouring of medicated liquid over closed eyes from a specific height.
Pindi - Bandaging a medicated bolus over a closed eye for a stipulated time period.
Bidalaka - Application of medicated paste over the eyelids for a stipulated time.
Other than these, there are other treatment modalities like tarpana, virechana, and internal medications to treat ocular hypertension, glaucoma, and its complications.
Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) or digital eye strain is caused due to prolonged use of computers, tablets, smartphones, and gadgets with screens emitting blue light. Your eyes have to work harder to view your computer or mobile screens, and this is due to,
The presence of glare.
Screen reflections, which make the eye strain more to focus.
Reduced contrast levels of the letters to the background.
Less defined words on digital screens.
Closer viewing distance.
Redness of eyes.
Irritation in the eye.
Prevention is by "20 20 20 rule," that is, every 20 minutes, focus the eyes on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Otherwise, it is advised to close the eyes for 20 seconds, at least every half hour. In ayurveda, netra tarpana, siro pichu, shirodhara give very promising results.
DES is nothing but excessive dryness in the eyes, caused due to decreased tear production or increased tear film evaporation.
Signs and symptoms include,
Foreign body sensation in the eyes.
Continuously blink the eyes, avoid straining the eyes, reduce the exposure to the dry or dusty environment, and avoid prolonged usage of computer or mobile.
In ayurveda, treatment includes snehapana, nasya, tarpana, ghrita aschyothana, and ayurvedic seka.
The following tips help achieve healthy eyes and prevent or reduces the risk of eye diseases:
Include carrot, papaya, grapes, muskmelon, amla, squash, green leafy vegetables, egg, milk, fish, and meat in your diet frequently.
Reduce the intake of salts and pickles.
Reduce the screen time, that is, use of computers, television, mobile phones.
Use proper lighting while working and reading.
Do regular eye exercises, yoga, trataka (concentrating at a particular point) to improve your vision and to correct the eyesight without glasses and surgery.
These ayurvedic medications must be used with the guidance of an ayurveda practitioner as the dosages, dilutions, and strengths of the medicine might be altered according to the person's health condition and age. A regular visit to the ophthalmologist, even in the absence of eye disorders or vision problems, benefits eye health by detecting any disease (if present) in the earlier stages.
Include carrot, papaya, grapes, muskmelon, amla (gooseberry), squash, green leafy vegetables, egg, milk, fish, and meat in your diet frequently.
- Reduce the intake of salt and pickles.
- Reduce screen time (minimize using computers, television, and mobile phones).
- Use proper lighting while working and reading.
- Do regular eye exercises, yoga, trataka (concentrating at a particular point) to improve your vision and correct your eyesight without glasses and surgery.
The symptoms that indicate an unhealthy eye include the following;
- Crossed eyes.
- Change in iris color.
- Dry eyes with itching or burning.
- Episodes of cloudy vision.
- The appearance of a dark spot in the center of your field of vision.
- Difficulty focusing on near or distant objects.
- Double vision.
- Excess discharge or tearing.
Certain ayurvedic medications can help in keeping the eyes healthy. They include;
- Jeevaniya ghrita.
- Durva ghritha.
- Saptamrita lauha.
Decoction of Triphala (Triphala kashaya or Triphala churna) with honey or ghee is healthy for the eyes. Regular eye wash with Triphala kashaya from the beginning destroys all eye diseases and protects the eye.
According to ayurveda, one should regularly consume ghee, barley, wheat, Triphala, swastika shall (old rice), Saidhava Lavana, draksha, dadima (pomegranate), use of Shatavari (asparagus officinalis), and green gram. Doing Padabhyanga (oil massage of the foot), application of medicated Lepa (paste) to the Pada (foot) to protect vision, and use of footwear. One should avoid overeating, anger, grief, sleeping in the daytime, or awakening at night and eating food that vitiates Vata dosha.
Netravasti, or Akshitarpana, is an ayurvedic treatment for various disorders related to the eyes. This treatment is known to cure night blindness, glaucoma, and other eye-related diseases. Ayurveda is a traditional Indian study that combines medicine with the philosophy to treat not only the symptoms of various diseases but to heal the root cause of all diseases completely.
Various types of vision loss are permanent. Once the eye is damaged, treatment options are limited to restore the vision. But some types of vision loss could be improved naturally and prevent vision loss in the future. The eyes need vitamins A, C, and E. Other essential nutrients include lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc. It is also important to ensure that you are including plenty of antioxidants from quality sources.
The main cause of excessive dryness in the eyes is decreased tear production or increased tear film evaporation. Other reasons include continuously blinking the eyes, exposure to a dry or dusty environment, and straining the eyes by prolonged usage of a computer or mobile. Irritation from foreign bodies can also cause redness and dryness of the eyes.
Signs and symptoms of dry eyes include;
- Foreign body sensation in the eyes.
Drinking more water helps the body to produce a healthy volume of tears, which is important to prevent dry eyes. It is also necessary to have healthy lacrimal glands to produce tears and oil glands so that the tears do not evaporate too quickly. Beverages containing alcohol or caffeine can be dehydrating.
Dry eyes and excessive tearing can cause blurred and impaired vision. If tears lack oil, the eyes dry out and become overly watery. Eyes that feel extremely dry can make blinking hard because the eyelids stick to the eyeballs.
If left untreated, severe dry eyes can lead to abrasion of the corneal surface, eye inflammation, corneal ulcers, and vision loss. Dry eyes can make it difficult to carry out regular activities, such as writing and reading, and decrease quality of life.
Yes, dry eyes can feel tired or heavy, given the strain caused by irritation. This eye fatigue often contributes to or is related to other dry eye symptoms.
- Wear sunglasses to protect yourself from UV rays, as they are known to cause cataracts, corneal damage, and decreased vision.
- Reduce screen time on mobile phones and use proper light while reading.
- Regular eye exercises such as yoga, trataka (concentrating at a particular point) can improve your vision and correct your eyesight without glasses and surgery.
- Quit smoking as it increases the risk of the development of glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and cataracts.
The white part of the eyes is called the sclera, which is an indicator of health. Various factors can cause the entire sclera to change color or spots of color to appear. The Blue or gray color of the sclera appears when the sclera is thinner than normal and blood vessels appear by giving eyeballs a blue or gray hue. This may occur in people with certain health conditions. One common sign of a health problem is yellow eyes. Often this yellowing is referred to as jaundice.
Using gentle tapping motions with your index and middle fingers (no tugging or dragging), tap out a circle around your eyes. Tapping brings blood flow to the area. Go outward along your eyebrows, then inward along the top of your cheekbones toward the bridge of your nose. Circle your eyes three times.
Last reviewed at:
05 Feb 2022 - 5 min read
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