Classification of Eye Diseases As Per Ayurveda

Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) and Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Shalakya Tantra is the study of Eye, Ear, Nose and Head in Ayurveda which corresponds to the modern day ENT specialization. It is one among the Ashtanga Ayurveda – 8 branches. It is also called as Urdhwaanga Chikitsa (Urdhwa = Upper portion of the body, Anga = Parts, Chikitsa = Treatment). 

Eye diseases and their treatment strategies have been discussed in detail in the Shaalakya section.

Classification of eye diseases

Eye Diseases or Netra Rogas are 76 in number. They are classified into various categories. We can study the classification of these diseases under 3 headings –

  1. Classification of Eye diseases on the basis of Dosha Predominance
  2. Classification of Eye Diseases according to their location
  3. Classification of Eye Diseases according to the surgical / treatment method used to combat them and Prognosis

Based on Dosha predominance

Classification of Eye Diseases according to the Predominant Dosha causing the disease
Depending on the predominance of doshas, the eye disorders are classified as follows –

  • Vataja Netra Rogas (caused due to vitiated Vata) – 10
  • Pittaja Netra Rogas – 10
  • Kaphaja Netra Rogas  – 13
  • Raktaja Netra Rogas (caused by vitiated Rakta) – 16
  • Sannipataja or Sarvagata (caused by vitiation of all the Doshas) – 25
  • Baahyaja or Aagantuja (external or traumatic) – 02

Vataja Netra Rogas

1. 10 Vataja Netra Rogas (Eye diseases caused by predominant vitiation of Vata) –
Hataadhimantha – Atrophy of the Eye Ball – Asaadhya (incurable)
Nimisha – Blepharo-spasm – Asaadhya (incurable)
Gambheerikaa – Paralysis of the VIth Cranial Nerve – incurable
Vata Hata Vartma – Paralysis of the VII th Cranial Nerve, Ptosis or Lag-Opthalmus – incurable
Vataja Kaacha Roga – Cataract  – lifetime treatment is required (Yapya)
Shushka Akshipaka – Opthalmoplegia – Saadhya – curable
Vataja Adhimantha – Glaucoma  – curable
Vata Abhishyanda – Acute Conjunctivitis  – curable
Vata Paryaya Vth Cranial Nerve Atrophy  – curable
Anyatovata – Neuralgia of the Vth Cranial Nerve  – curable
Read related: Eye Disorders: Causes, Pathogenesis, Premonitory Symptoms

Pittaja Netra Rogas

2. Pittaja Netra Rogas (Eye diseases caused by predominant vitiation of Pitta) –
Pittaja Netra Rogas are 10 in number and are as mentioned below.
Hrusva Jaadhya – Retinitis Pigmentosa – Asadhya – incurable
Pittaja Jala Srava – Watery discharge – incurable
Parimlaayee Kaacha – Glaucoma – lifelong treatment is required
Neela Kaacha – Black Cataract – lifelong treatment is required
Pittaja Abhishyanda – Conjunctivitis – curable
Pittaja Adhimantha – Acute glaucoma – curable
Amlaadhyshita – Eye disease caused due to excess consumption of sour foods – curable
Shuktikaa – Xerosis – curable
Pitta Vidagdha Drishti – Retinitis Pigmentosa – curable
Dhoomadarshee – Glaucomatic stage – curable

Kaphaja Netra Rogas

3. 13 Kaphaja Netra Rogas (Eye diseases caused by predominant vitiation of Kapha) –
Kaphaja Sraava – Mucus discharge – Incurable
Kaphaja Kaacha – Cataract – Life long treatment is required
Kaphaja Abhishyanda – Conjunctivitis – Curable
Kaphaja Adhimantha – Acute Glaucoma – Curable
Balaasa Grathita – Perinaud’s Conjunctivitis – Curable
Shleshma Vidagdha Drishti – Nyctalopia, Night Blindness – curable
Pothaki – Granular Conjunctivitis or Trachoma – curable
Lagana – Chalazion – Meibomian cyst – curable
Krimi Granthi – Infected Cyst – curable
Pariklinna Vartma – Ankylo Blepharon  – curable
Shuklarma – Pterygium – curable
Pishtaka – Pinguecula – curable
Shleshma Upanaha – Lacrymal cyst – curable

Raktaja Netra Rogas

4. 16 Raktaja Netra Rogas (Eye diseases caused by predominant vitiation of Rakta or Blood) –

Rakta Srava – Bleeding – incurable
Ajakaajata – Anterior Staphyloma – incurable
Rakta Arsha – wart – incurable
Savrana Shukra – Ulcerative keratitis or Corneal ulcer – incurable
Raktaja Kacha – Red cataract – treatment is required lifelong
Raktaja Adhimantha – Acute Glaucoma – Curable
Raktaja Abhishyanda – Conjunctivitis – curable
Klishta Vartma – Angio Neurotic Oedema – curable
Siraa Harsha – Orbital cellulitis – curable
Sirotpaata – Hyperemia of the conjunctiva – curable
Anjana Naamikaa – External Stye – curable
Siraa Jaala – Pannus – curable
Parvanee – Marginal ulcers of the Cornea – curable
Avrana Shukra – Opacity of the Cornea – curable
Shonita Arma – pterygium – curable
Arjuna – Sub-conjunctival Echymosis or Phlyctenular conjunctivitis – curable

Sarvagata Netra Rogas

5. 25 Sannipataja or Sarvagata Netra Rogas (Eye diseases caused by predominant vitiation of all 3 doshas) –
Pooya Sraava – Purulent Discharges – incurable
Nakulandhya – Retinitis Pigmentosa or central opacity of the lens – incurable
Akshi Pakaatyaya – Hypopyon or Keratomalacia – incurable
Alajee – Phlyctenule – incurable
Kaacha – Cataract – lifelong treatment is required
Pakshma Kopa – Trichiasis Districhiasis and Entropion – lifelong treatment is required
Vartmaavabandha – Non-inflammatory oedema of the eyelids – curable
Siraa Pidakaa – Deep Scleritis – curable
Prastari Arma – Pterygium – curable
Adhimaamsa Arma – Pterygium – curable
Snayu Arma – Pterygium – curable
Utsanginee – chalazion – curable
Pooyaalasa – Acute Dacryocystitis – curable
Arbuda – Tumor – curable
Shyaava Kardama – Ulcerative Blepharitis – curable
Shyaava Vartma – Inflammatory oedema of eye lids, Ulcerative Blepharitis – curable
Arsho Vartma – Papillary Form of Trachoma – curable
Shushka Arsha – Chronic form of Papillary Trachoma – curable
Sharkaraa Vartma – Infection of Meibomian gland – curable
Sashopha Paaka – Suppuration with edema – curable
Ashopha Paaka – Suppuration without edema – curable
Bahala Vartma – Multiple Chalazion or Meibomian cyst or stye – curable
Aklinna Vartma  – Inflammatory edema of eyelids or Blepharitis – curable
Kumbhika – Meibomian cyst – curable
Visa Vartma – Kanthalasma – curable

Aagantuja Netra Rogas

6. 2 Baahyaja or Aagantuja Netra Rogas (Eye diseases caused on the surface or exterior of the eye, traumatic) –
Sanimitta – occurs due to some cause – incurable
Animitta – occurs due to any cause – incurable

Based on location

2. Classification of Eye Diseases according to their location
According to the location in which they manifest, the 76 eye diseases are classified as below mentioned –

  • Sandhigata Rogas (Diseases occurring in the junctions of the eye) – 9
  • Vartmagata Rogas (Diseases occurring in the eyelids) – 21
  • Shukla Gata Rogas (Diseases occurring in the Sclera) – 11
  • Krushna Gata Rogas (Diseases occurring in the Cornea and Iris) – 4
  • Sarvashraya Rogas (Diseases occurring all over the eye) – 17
  • Drushti Gata Rogas (Diseases occurring in the visual field or retina, lens) – 12
  • Baahyaja (Diseases occurring on the exterior, traumatic) – 2

Again when we count these, we get the same 76 diseases enlisted in Doshic category (classification)
Read related: Anatomy of Eye: Netra Rachana: Ayurveda Perspective

Sandhi Gata Rogas

1. 9 Sandhi Gata Rogas (Diseases located in the junctions of the eye)
Pooyalasa, Upanaha, Pooya sraava
Shleshma sraava, Rakta sraava, Pitta sraava,
Parvanee, Alajee, Krimi granthi

Vartma Gata Rogas

2. 21 Vartma Gata Rogas (Diseases occurring in the Eye lids)
Utsangini, Kumbhikaa, Pothakee, Vartma Sharkara
Arsho Vartma, Shushka Arsha, Anjana Naamika, Bahala Vartma
Vartma Bandhaka, Klishta Vartma, Kardama Vartma, Shyaava Vartma
Praklinna Vartma, Apariklinna Vartma, Vaatahata Vartma, Arbuda
Nimesha, Shonita arsha, Lagana, Visa Vartma, Pakshma kopa

Shukla Gata Rogas

3. 11 Shukla Gata Rogas (Diseases occurring in the White of the Eye, Sclera)
Prastari Arma, Shukla Arma, Kshataja Arma, Adhimaamsa Arma
Snayu Arma, Shuktikaa, Arjuna, Pishtaka
Siraa Jaala, Siraa Pidakaa, Balaasa Grathita

Krishna Gata Rogas

4. 4 Krishna Gata Rogas (Diseases occurring in the black of the eye, Cornea, Iris) –
Savrana Shukra (Shukla), Avrana Shukra (Shukla)
Paakaatyaya, Ajakaajaata

Sarvashraya Rogas

5. 17 Sarvashraya Rogas (Diseases occurring all over the eye)
Vata Abhishyanda, Pittaja Abhishyanda, Kaphaja Abhishyanda, Raktaja Abhishyanda
Vataja Adhimantha, Pittaja Adhimantha, Kaphaja Adhimantha, Raktaja Adhimantha
Sashopha Paka, Ashopha Paka, Hatha Adhimantha, Vaata Paryaya
Shushka Akshipaka, Anyato Vata, Amladhyushita, Sirotpaata and Siraaharsha

Drushti Gata Rogas

6. 12 Drushti Gata Rogas (Diseases occurring in the Lens and Retina)
Vataja Linganaasha, Pittaja Linganaasha, Shlaishmika Linganaasha
Raktaja Linganaasha, Sannipaataja Linganaasha, Samsargaja Timira or Parimlaayee Kaacha or Linganaasha
Pitta Vidagdha Drushti, Shleshma Vidagdha Drushti, Dhoomadarshee
Hrusva Jaadhya, Nakula Andhataa, Gambheerikaa

Aagantuja Rogas

7. 2 Baahyaja or Aagantuja Rogas (Diseases occurring in the exterior of the eye, traumatic)
a. Sanimitta Linganaasha – This type of linganaasha or loss of vision occurs due to some known causes like Shiro Abhitaapa (Excessive heat in the head) etc
b. Animitta Linganaasha – This type of loss of vision occurs without known reason. It occurs on seeing bhaaswara padaarthas (highly luminous things) or on seeing God, Sages, Gandharvas or Mahoragaas (gigantic or divine snakes)

Based on treatment, prognosis

  1. Classification of Eye Diseases according to the surgical / treatment method used to combat them and Prognosis

According to the treatment choice and prognosis, the eye diseases are classified as below mentioned –

  • Chedhya Netra Rogas (Curable by Excision) – 11
  • Lekhya Netra Rogas (Curable by Scraping) – 09
  • Bhedya Netra Rogas (Curable by Incision) – 05
  • Vyadhya Netra Rogas (Curable by Punctuting) – 15
  • Ashastra Krutya Netra Rogas (Diseases in which surgical intervention is contraindicated – 14
  • Yaapya Netra Rogas (Manageable diseases) – 07
  • Asaadhya Netra Rogas (Incurable diseases) – 17

Chedhya Netra Rogas

1. 11 Chedhya Netra Rogas (Diseases curable by Chedana or Excision) –
Arsho Vartma, Shushka Arsha, Vartma Arbuda,
Siraa Pidakaa, Siraa Jaala, Prastari Arma
Shukla Arma, Lohita Arma, Adhimaamsaja Arma
Snaayu Arma, Parvanikaa

Lekhya Netra Rogas

2. 9 Lekhya Netra Rogas (Diseases curable by Lekhana or Scraping) –
Utsangini, Bahala Vartma, Kardama Vartma, Shyaava Vartma
Baddha Vartma, Klishta Vartma, Pothakee
Kumbheekinee, Vartma Sharkara

Bhedhya Netra Rogas

3. 5 Bhedhya Netra Rogas (Diseases curable by Bhedana or Incision) –
Shleshma Upanaaha, Lagana, Visa Vartma
Krimi Janya Granthi, Anjana Naamikaa

Vyadhya Netra Rogas

4. 15 Vyadhya Netra Rogas (Diseases curable by Vyadhana or Puncturing or pricking) –
Sirotpaata, Siraa Praharsha, Sashopha Netra Paaka, Ashopha Netra Paaka
Anyato Vaata, Pooyaalasa, Vaata Viparyaaya, Vataja Adhimantha
Pittaja Adhimantha, Shlaishmika Adhimantha, Raktaja Adhimantha
Vatika Abhishyanda, Pittaja Abhishyanda, Shlaishmika Abhishyanda
Raktaja Abhishyanda

Ashastra Krutya Netra Rogas

5. 14 Ashastra Krutya Netra Rogas (Diseases in which surgical intervention is contraindicated) –
Shushka Akshipaaka, Kapha Vidagdha Drishti, Pitta Vidagdha Drishti, Amlaadhyushita
Avrana Shukra, Arjuna, Pishtaka, Aklinna Vartma
Hutabhug Dhwajadarshee (Dhoomadarshee), Shuktikaa, Praklinna Vartma
Balaasa Grathita, Sanimitta Linganaasha, Animitta Linganaasha

Yaapya Netra Rogas

6. 7 Yaapya Netra Rogas (Diseases which are maintainable but cannot be cured) –
Vaataja Kaacha, Paittika Kaacha, Shlaishmika Kaacha
Raktaja Kaacha, Sannipaataja Kaacha, Parimlaayi Kaacha, Pakshmakopa

Asaadhya Netra Rogas

7. 17 Asaadhya Netra Rogas (Diseases which are incurable) –
Hataadhimantha, Nimisha, Gambheerilaa, Vaata Hata Vartma
Hrusva Jaadhya, Pittaja Jalasraava, Kaphaja Sraava, Raktaja Sraava
Ajakaa Jaata, Shonitaarsha, Savrana Shukra, Pooya Sraava
Nakulaandhya, Akshipaakaatyaya, Alajee, Sanimitta Netra Roga,  Animitta Netra Roga

Note – Among the above mentioned diseases

  • Asaadhya Rogas caused due to Vata – Hatadhimantha, Nimisha, Gambheerika and Vaatahata Vartma
  • Asaadhya Rogas caused by Pitta – Hrusva Jaadhya and Pittaja Jalasraava
  • Asaadhya Rogas caused by Kapha – Kaphaja Sraava
  • Asaadhya Rogas caused by Rakta – Raktaja Sraava, Ajakaajaata, Shonita Arsha, Savrana Shukra
  • Asaadhya Rogas caused by Tridoshas – Pooya Sraava, Nakulaandhya, Akshipaakaatyaya, Alajee
  • Asaadhya Agantu Rogas – Sanimittaja and Animittaja (These 2 are said to be either asaadhya or yaapya)

The sum of all these diseases again counts to 76 Netra Rogas or diseases of the eye.

Just Before Finishing –
Ayurveda has given a comprehensive classification of Netra Rogas. The art of classifying them under different categories depending on the predominant doshas, site of the disease and prognosis displays the wisdom of ancient Ayurvedic seers and teachers in viewing the eye disorders in a multi-dimensional way. The precise knowledge they had about the eye and its disorders and the way in which they have documented them is highly commendable.

Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu)

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