Ayurveda Treatment of Day Blindness and Night Blindness

By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Pitta Vidagdha Drishti and Shleshma Vidagdha Drishti which mean ‘vision destroyed by pitta’ and ‘vision destroyed by kapha’ respectively are two important vision disorders among many that are explained by Master Sushruta.

Pitta Vidagdha Drishti is also called as Divandhya both meaning day blindness. Shleshma Vidagdha Drishti is also called as Naktandhya / Ratryandhya both meaning night blindness.

Shleshma Vidagdha Drishti

It is a vision disorder where vision is damaged due to kapha. It is one among the 12 disorders of vision explained by Master Sushruta.
Shleshma – kapha
Vidagdha – burnt / damaged
Drishti – vision
Read – Eye Diseases Causes, Pathogenesis, Symptoms, Treatment, Herbs

Pathogenesis of shleshma vidagdha drishti

Here the vitiated kapha will reach the organs of vision and damage the vision therein. The person in whom the vision has been damaged by vitiated kapha will see everything white in color. When the dosha i.e. kapha gets lodged and affects all the three layers / tunics, the person would find it difficult to see things in the dark / at night. This can be considered as a state of night blindness characterized by blindness in the dark and at night time.

In this condition the patient can see in the brightness of sunlight or in bright light but cannot see things at night and in darkness.

Reasons for night blindness – Heat is antagonistic for kapha. In daylight and brightness brought about by the sunlight the kapha naturally subsides and the vision is comparably clear. Therefore the person can see things in the daytime. In the night, when coldness prevails the conditions become favorable for increase of kapha and there is also darkness. With this combined effect, the person will not be able to see in the dark or night and hence the night blindness.
Read – Understand Kapha Dosha By Its Functions

Other names

Shleshma vidagdha drishti is also called by the names – naktandhya or ratryandhata, both meaning the same. Nakta or ratri means night time, andhya or andhata means blindness. These two seem to be coined terms for Kapha Vidagdha Drishti. As already said, in these conditions the person will be able to see things properly in the day time and the vision will get deteriorated in dark or night time.
Read – Diet And Lifestyle Advice For Kapha Dosha Body Type

Symptoms shleshma vidagdha drishti

Unable to see in the night time / darkness
Able to see in the daytime / bright light / sunlight

Sanskrit Verses

Read – Corneal Opacities – Causes, Symptoms, Preventive, Treatment

Modern correlation

The symptoms of shleshma vidagdha drishti can be seen in many eye disorders / conditions explained in the modern texts. They also form the differential diagnosis of night blindness. They are as below mentioned –

Degenerative disease of the retina – The below mentioned conditions occur due to degeneration of retina which further causes night blindness. They are –
Retinitis pigmentosa
Retinitis punctata albicans
Amaurotic family idiocy
Retinal degeneration
Read – Glaucoma – Causes, Symptoms, Types, Prognosis, Treatment

Night blindness is also seen in families. One or the other family member or relative of those suffering from night blindness will be suffering from the same. The information can be sought during interrogation, especially while taking family history of the patient. In fact family history should be taken in cases of night blindness.

The disease probably starts in childhood itself. The disease and its intensity increases with ageing and the vision also deteriorates with increasing age. These people will start experiencing blurred vision or loss of vision in dim light and the symptoms start appearing in the evening and may increase towards night. Once the disease has established and has become chronic, the person cannot absolutely see in the night time. The person’s fear of going outside in the evening or they would try to reach home as early as possible, possibly by sunset.
Read – Triphala Home Remedy For Eye Care

The disease worsens with age and with formation of cataracts in old age, the person totally becomes blind.

Pitta Vidagdha Drishti Meaning, Symptoms, Treatment

From the name of the disease, it is clear that the vision is damaged due to pitta. It is one among the 12 disorders of vision explained by Master Sushruta.
Pitta – by pitta
Vidagdha – burnt / damaged
Drishti – vision
Read – Ayurveda Eye Treatment Types, Methods – Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana 23

Pathogenesis of Pitta Vidagdha Drishti

The vitiated pitta reaches the organs of vision and causes yellowness of the eyes. Following this, whatever the patient sees happens to look yellow.

If the vitiated pitta gets lodged in the third layer / tunic of the eye, the person cannot see anything in the daytime. The person can see things and perceive them only in the dark / night. This can be termed as day blindness.

Reason for day blindness – Since pitta will be at its high in the day time, due to the heat prevailing around us, the patient cannot see anything as the pitta interferes with the visual perception. On the contrary the pitta subsides at the night time after sunset due to prevailing coldness. Since pitta reduces at night, the vision will become free of affliction from pitta and the visual perception will be better i.e. the person can see things at night.
Read – Pitta Increase Symptoms – Pitta Vriddhi Lakshana

Other names

Pitta vidagdha drishti is also called by the names – divandhya or divandhata, both meaning are same. Diva means morning or daytime, andhya or andhata means blindness. These two seem to be coined terms for Pitta Vidagdha Drishti. As already said, in these conditions the person will be able to see things properly in dim light or darkness and the vision will deteriorate in daytime.
Read – How To Balance Pitta Dosha? Line Of Treatment

Sanskrit Verses

Symptoms pitta vidagdha drishti

Unable to see in the daytime / bright light
Able to see in the night time / dim light
Read – Computer Vision Syndrome: Causes, Ayurvedic Remedies, Tips

Modern correlation

Symptoms of pitta vidagdha drishti can be seen in many eye disorders / conditions explained in the modern texts. They also form the differential diagnosis of day blindness. They are as below mentioned –

Opacity of lens / cataract or cornea – vision is good in dim light
Senile cataract – people feel as if the objects are masked by clothes or fog / mist, can see things better in the evening and night time in comparison to the day time, people find it difficult to see in bright light and during afternoon
Retinitis Pigmentosa – people over 50 years of age suffer from central cataract, these people suffer from dual conditions – they cannot go out anywhere in the night because they will have night blindness and they cannot read or write at day time because they also have day blindness
Amblyopia – it is also called as lazy eye wherein there is reduced vision in one eye usually caused by abnormal visual development early in the life, is a type of poor vision which happens in only one eye, the brain fails to process the inputs from one eye and over a period of time starts favoring the other eye
Read – Triphala Home Remedy For Eye Care

Ayurveda treatment

Master Sushruta has explained the treatment of pitta vidagdha drishti and kapha vidagdha drishti in common.

General line of treatment

Pitta and Kapha combating remedies and medicines should be administered in treatment of vision destroyed by pitta and kapha respectively..

If the loss of vision has occurred due to injury from instruments or weapons these treatments shall not be done.

All treatments mentioned for these doshas and explained in related contexts shall be used to treat both these conditions with the exception of siravedha i.e. vein-section. The important therapies to be considered in treating these conditions include –
Nasya – errhines
Seka – pouring / showering of medicated liquids,
Anjana – collyrium, eye salves,
Lepa – anointment of medicated pastes,
Putapaka – pooling of juices of medicinal plants / leaves extracted after closed heating of these herbs
Tarpana – pooling of medicated ghee around the eyes
Read – Tarpana Putapaka – Ayurveda Eye Care – Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana 24

Internal therapies

Use of Triphala Ghrta – Ghee medicated with Triphala should be administered in vision loss caused by vitiated pitta.
Use of Trivrt Ghrta – Ghee medicated with Trivrt – Operculina turpethum administered in vision loss caused by vitiated kapha.
Use of Tailvaka Ghrta – Ghee medicated with Tilvaka –Symplocos racemosa administered in both loss of vision caused both by vitiated pitta and kapha.
Use of Purana Ghrta – Old ghee used to treat both conditions if the ghee specified in each condition is not available.

After administering medicated ghee purgation and emesis in vision loss caused by pitta and kapha respectively should be administered.
Read – Principles Of Making Herbal Ghee – Ghritham

External therapies – Useful collyriums

1. Used in vision loss caused by both vitiated pitta and kapha

a. Gairikadi Anjana – prepared with –
Gairika – purified red ochre
Saindhava – Rock Salt
Pippali – Piper longum
Godanta – purified gypsum

b. Vruntanjana – prepared with
Kapittha vrnta – pedicle of wood apple / Feronia limonia
Honey

c. Svayamguptanjana – prepared with
Fruits of Kapikachchu – Mucuna pruriens
Honey

d. Kubjakadhyanjana – prepared with –
Kubjaka – Rosa indica
Shala – Shorea robusta
Mango
Priyangu – Callicarpa macrophylla
Renuka Bija – seeds of Vitex negundo
Pippali – Piper longum
Haritaki – Terminalia chebula
Amalaki – Emblica officinalis

The powder of these herbs should be mixed with ghee and honey and filled inside a hollowed out bamboo. Later it should be removed and used in the form of collyrium.

e. Harenukadhyanjana – prepared with –
The seeds of Harenu – Vitex negundo / Pisum sativum
Mango flower juice
Jambu rasa – Syzygium cumini, Jamun flower juice
Ghee
Honey

The seeds of Harenu should be ground in the mentioned juices, mixed with honey and ghee and the resultant mixture should be used as collyrium.

f. Nalinyanjana – prepared with –
Rakta kamala – red variety of lotus
Nila kamala – blue variety of lotus
Kesara – Crocus sativus
Gairika – purified red ochre

The above said ingredients should be triturated in the juice of cow-dung or juice of liver of cow and used as collyrium.

2. Collyriums used in day blindness / vision loss caused by pitta

a. Rasanjanadhyanjana – prepared with –
Rasanjana – extract of Berberis aristata
Jasmine leaves juice
Honey
Talisa patra – leaves of Abies webbiana
Suvarna – gold / gold calx
Gairika – purified red ochre

The above said should be ground in the juice of cow-dung and used as collyrium.

b. Kashmaryadhyanjana – prepared with –
Kashmarya – flowers of Gmelina arborea
Yashtimadhu – Glycyrrhiza glabra / licorice
Rasanjana – extract of Berberis aristata
Lodhra – Symplocos racemosa
Devadaru – Cedrus deodara
Honey

c. Saindhavadhyanjana – prepared with –
Saindhava – rock salt
Green gram
Nikata anjana – a type of collyrium
Turmeric
Mango
Liver of Cow
Sandalwood

d. Karpuradhyanjana – prepared with –
Camphor
Sauviranjana – purified antimony

The powder of the above said ingredients should be triturated with the meat juice of animals and birds and also in the bile of tortoise and Rohita fish. The resultant preparation should be used as collyrium.
Read – Classification of Eye Diseases As Per Ayurveda

3. Collyriums used in night blindness / day blindness

a. Srotonjanadhyanjana – prepared with –
Srotonjana – collyrium / extract of Antimony sulfide
Saindhava lavana – rock salt
Pippali – Piper longum
Renuka – seeds of Vitex negundo

These ingredients should be ground in urine of goat and the resultant product used as collyrium.

b. Tagaradhyanjana – prepared with –
Tagara – Valeriana wallichii
Pippali – Piper longum
Ginger
Yashtimadhu – Glycyrrhiza glabra
Talisa – Abies webbiana
Turmeric
Daruharidra – Berberis aristata
Musta – Cyperus rotundus

The powder of the above said ingredients should be ground in juice of the liver and wicks should be prepared and dried in shade. This should be used as collyrium in night blindness.

c. Manashiladhyanjana – prepared with –
Manashila – realgar
Haritaki – Terminalia chebula
Trikatu – 3 pungents – Piper longum, Piper nigrum, Zingiber officinalis
Bala – Sida cordifolia
Tagara – Valeriana wallichii
Samudraphena – cuttlefish

The above said ingredients should be ground in goat’s milk and wicks should be prepared to be used as collyrium.

d. Kshudranjana – prepared with –
Urine of cow
Bile of cow
Pishta sura – wine prepared with flour
Yakrid rasa – juice of liver
Dhatri rasa – juice of Emblica officinalis

They should be mixed and the resultant mixture is solidified and preserved to be used as collyrium.
Read – Gorochan – Qualities, Indications, Remedies, Dose

e. Triphaladi Rasakriya – prepared with –

Decoction of Triphala i.e. Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellirica and Emblica officinalis is solidified and preserved after processing it with liver and used as collyrium.

Gomutradi Rasakriya – prepared with –
Cow’s urine
Ghee of cow
Samudraphena – cuttlefish
Pippali – Piper longum
Katphala – Myrica esculenta
Saindhava – Rock salt
Honey

The above mentioned ingredients should be processed into solidified product and preserved to be used as collyrium. It is prepared in vessels prepared with bamboo.
Read – Cow Urine Therapy Benefits, Research, Precautions

f. Ajamodadyanjana – prepared with –
Aja meda – fat of goat
Aja Ghrta – ghee of goat
Aja yakrt – liver of goat
Amalaki swarasa – juice of Emblica officinalis

The above said ingredients are processed to prepare rasakriya – semisolid preparation and used as collyrium. This is preserved in the vessel made out of wood of Khadira – Acacia catechu.
Read – Goat Milk Benefits According to Ayurveda

g. Harenadyanjana – prepared with –
Harenu – Vitex negundo
Pippali – Piper longum
Cardamom
Yakrut – Liver

The above said ingredients should be ground, rubbed in the juice of liver and applied in the eyes as collyrium.

h. Godhayakrudanjana / Chaga Yakrudanjana / Yakruta Pippali – prepared with –

Piper longum inserted into the liver of iguana / goat, processed in concealed heating, ground and used in the form of collyrium.

i. Yakrut-Plihanjana – The liver and spleen of goat and iguana are smeared with ghee and oil, pierced with sterile iron rod and heated on fire / grilled on fire. The resultant paste is ground in mustard oil and used as collyrium to cure night blindness.

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

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