Eye Diseases Causes, Pathogenesis, Symptoms, Treatment, Herbs

Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) and Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Habits like binge watching videos, endless scrolling of facebook, instagram feeds is rampant nowadays. Eyes are affected the most, apart from the brain, mind, wrists and thumbs.

Eye

Eye is dominated by fire element and Pitta Dosha. Most of the Pitta aggravating causes lead to eye disorders. Tears are considered as one of the natural urges which should not be suppressed.

Common causes

Causes for eye disorders: Netra Roga Nidana:
The below mentioned are the causative factors of eye disorders. The combination of one or more of these factors may lead to wide array of eye disorders. More the causative factors more the severity and complexity of eye disorders. The knowledge of the causes of eye disorders helps us to avoid these factors and hence protect our eyes from damage and disorders.

  • Entering into water (swimming pool, bath tub, shower etc) after getting exposed to the heat of Sun
  • Trying hard to see far off objects which are beyond the visual field (strains the eye)
  • Variations in sleep patterns like ‘sleeping in the day’ and ‘keeping awake during night times’
  • Excessive and continued weeping (crying, sobbing)
  • Anger in excess
  • Excess grief
  • Strain (physical, mental and eye strain)
  • Injuries to the eye
  • Excessive indulgence in sexual intercourse
  • Excessive consumption of sour fermented liquids and foods predominant in sour taste
  • Excessive consumption of horse gram
  • Excessive consumption of black gram
  • Forcible obstruction (withholding) of body reflexes
  • Excessive sweating
  • Excessive smoking
  • Forcible controlling the vomiting reflux or impulse
  • Excessive administration of Vamana (therapeutic emesis, part of Panchakarma treatments)
  • Forcibly withholding the ‘tear’ reflex
  • Constantly viewing of minute objects
  • Read related: Anatomy of Eye: Netra Rachana: Ayurveda Perspective
  • Excess fomentation to the eye
    Excess exposure of eye to smoke or excess smoking
    Suppressing urge of vomiting
    Vamana therapy done excessively
    Suppressing tears
    Exposure to dust
    Excess travelling
    Not following regimens according to season
    Exposing head to excess heat
    Excess of liquid diet
    Excess intake of alcohol
    Eleeping head lower position than body
    Eleeping by placing head in upward position than body.
    Excess fever
    Excess eye exposing to bright light
    Excess walking in bare foot or foot massage with hot oils or water.
    References: Sushruta Samhita, Uttaratantra 1st chapter
    Bhavaprakasha Uttara Khanda.

Classical reference

Pathogenesis

Samprapti or pathogenesis of Eye Disorders
The vitiated Doshas travel through the Siras (blood vessels) and reach the upper parts of the body. On reaching there they afflict the eye and cause dreadful diseases therein.

Premonitory Symptoms

  • Aavila Netrata – Dirtiness of the eyes (dirty appearance)
  • Samrambha Netrata – Redness of the eye with little pain
  • Ashru – Excessive tearing of the eye, lacrimation
  • Kandu – Itching in the eyes
  • Upadeha – Collection of dirt in the body, sticky secretions leading to stickiness of the eyelids
  • Guru – Heaviness of the eyes due to Kapha vitiation
  • Oosha – Heat or burning pain in the eyes due to Pitta Vitiation
  • Toda – Pricking pain due to Vata vitiation
  • Raga – Redness due to Rakta vitiation
  • Shula Vartma Kosheshu – Pain in the eye lids
  • Shooka poornaabham iva – Feeling as if the paddy husk has been filled in the eyes, causing irritation
  • Roopa Hananam – Destruction / Dimness of vision
  • Kriyaa Hananam – Disturbance of eye functions including perception

These symptoms are manifested in feeble form in the stage of Purvarupas. When these symptoms are feebly manifested, the wise physician should sense that the eye disease will be manifested in near future and take necessary precautions to prevent them.
Read – Watery Eyes: Causes, Ayurvedic Treatment, Remedies

Symptoms

Symptoms (Lakshana) of Eye Diseases
The same symptoms which have been mentioned in the PoorvaRupas (premonitory symptoms) are manifested in a magnified version in Lakshana.

Treatment principles

Treatment of Eye Disorders have been strategically covered in two stages –
Sankshipta Chikitsa or Nidana Parivarjana – Avoidance of causative factors is the best strategy of treatment of eye disorders (any disease in fact). This strategy shall be followed in healthy conditions, in those prone to get eye disorders and those exhibiting the premonitory symptoms of eye disease (enlisted above). This is also considered as Sankshipta (easy and simple) form of treatment.

Dosha-Vyadhi Pratighaata or Vistaara Chikitsa – When the disease has been manifested specific dosha-alleviating and disease-modifying treatments should be done along with effective medicines and immune-modulators. This form of treatment is also called as Vistaara Chikitsa or treatment in depth. This involves strategic step ladder pattern of combating and curing a disease including effective treatments, medicines, lifestyle changes etc.
Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu)

Dr Renita adds,
Ayurveda considers eye as an important organ of vision which is the seat of pitta dosha, allows us to leverage the beauty of our surroundings. They keep us safe and gives understanding of the world to us.

As a working machine which, on long run get its parts worn out similarly our sense organ get fatigued when it is used in excess or just due to aging process. Among all sense organs eye should be treated with utmost care as it is exposed continuously for extreme light, heat, pollution etc.
Read – Dacryocystitis Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Ayurveda Home Remedies

Ancient science of Ayurveda have described 1000 years back about eye structure, functions, disorders, treatment, preventive measure and its utmost care which is more relevant to the current lifestyle that we have adapted. Increased use of smartphones, laptops, TV, binge watching tv shows endlessly etc without which we cannot imagine our life have definite adverse effect on our eye sight in early ages itself. Today lets explore this information to adopt healthy life style and remedy to improve eyesight.
Read – Ayurvedic Daily Routine

Procedures, applications

Remedies for eye disorders
Anjana (collyrium application) –
It can be done daily for healthy eyes. Sauviranjana made of antimony is mentioned to be applied daily and rasanjana aqueous extract of Berberis aristata should be applied once in a week. It drains excess kapha out from the eye thereby helps to keep vision clear. Strong collyrium (eye lining) should be applied only in night.
Read related – Procedure, Indications And Benefits Of Anjana Application And Aschotana

Ashchothana (Herbal eye drops) – Mainly used to prevent pain, redness, itching, dryness, irritation in eye. Here medicated drops are put into eyes from 2 inch above.
Medicines

  • Decoction of Triphala powder.
  • Breast milk can be used in dryness, stiffness, redness of eye, usually used in imbalance of vata and pitta, any eye diseases due to vitiated blood.
  • Ghee is used in eye disorders due to imbalance of vata and pitta.
  • Amalaki juice usually effective in eye disease due to pitta imbalance etc

Pada abhyanga (foot massage) –
It helps to maintain and improve good eye sight.
Oils used for massage :
Coconut oil
Sesame oil
Mahanarayana oil – one of the most versatile herbal oil used for eye care, gargling, oil pulling, oil massage etc.
Khsheera bala Taila etc
Read – Foot massage: Ayurvedic Benefits, How To Do, Importance

External application
Pindi
Medicated paste is applied over thin cloth and kept over eyes.
Medicines used –
Paste of Triphala powder
Paste Neem leaves relieves pitta related eye diseases etc

Bidalaka
Medicated paste is applied over closed eye lids.
Paste of sandalwood helps soothe the eyes, used mainly in pita cause eye diseases.
Paste of pomegranate leaves.
Read related: Ayurveda Eye Treatment Types, Methods – Astanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana 23

Nasya (medicine instilled through nose) –
This helps to treat all diseases related to organs above shoulders. Dhooma nasya nasal instillation of medicated fumes is indicated in eye disorders.
Medicines used for nasya:
Anu Taila – It is best medicine which can be used daily for nasya in healthy person to maintain and improve eye sight. It also helps to strengthen the muscles of eye on daily practice.
Shadbindu Taila – Sharpens eye sight.
Ksheerabala 101 – Used in neurological disorders, cataract, earache, headache etc
Read – How To Do Ayurvedic Nasya Treatment At Home? Nasal Drops For Long Life

Prakshalana – Eye wash with medicated liquid

  • Decoction prepared from Triphala powder is used frequently for 10 – 15 times in a day helps to relieve from eye infection, itching, irritation etc.
  • Elderberry 1 teaspoon added to half cup of water acts as soothing eye wash.

Tarpana
Best Ayurvedic therapy used in disease of eye and vision. It nourishes eye and cure eye disease mainly due to imbalance of vata and pitta, relieve stiffness of eye, dryness , deviation of eyeball, glaucoma, falling of eye lases etc

Medicines used for tarpana
Triphala Ghritha

Jeevanthyadi Ghritha
Ghritha manda (supernatant layer of ghee or medicated ghee) etc
Read – Netra Tarpana Treatment For Eye Care: Benefits, How To Do?

Medicinal ghees

Palliative medicine to prevent and cure eye disease:
Triphala Ghritha
Maha Triphala Ghritha
Bhrami Ghritha
Saptamrit Lauh
Triphala Guggulu
Jeevanthyadi Ghritha
Amalaki Rasayana – Classical Ayurvedic medicine mainly used improve eye health, relieves eye strain, double vision, blurred vision etc
Chyavanprasha etc
Read – Nasya Karma Procedure, Types, Benefits, Contra Indications

Studies

Related Research
Research done by American Optometric Association have found adding certain eye friendly nutrients to your food can help preserve your eye vision (1)

Researchers at  Harvard University have found some evidence that dietary antioxidant vitamins and minerals (A, C, and E, and the mineral zinc)  are useful to halt the progression of macular degeneration. (2)

Click to Consult Dr Renita D’Souza

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