Ayurvedic treatment for Cataract

Cataract

Know More on Ophthalmology/ Eye diseases

  • Definition
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Management
  • FAQS
  • References

Definition

Cataract Ayurvedic treatment

WHAT IS CATARACT?

Cataract refers to the cloudy appearance of the lens of the eye which causes a clouded vision. Due to the clouding of the vision, a person suffering from cataract finds it very difficult to see properly, read anything or even drive a car.1

Cataracts generally develop slowly without any serious symptoms, but as the condition advances, it starts to interfere with vision. 1

According to Ayurveda, cataracts are described as Linganasha (loss of vision). Lingansha is considered as an advanced stage of the eye disorder timira. Two types of linganasha are described, curable and incurable. Amongst the various dosha vitiations, the kaphaja linganasha (caused by kapha vitiation) is considered surgically curable while the rest are considered incurable. 2

Causes

Cataract

CATARACT CAUSES

The primary cause of developing Cataracts is having clouding of the lens inside the eye. This usually occurs due to increasing age, certain diseases such as diabetes or certain drugs such as long term use of steroids.1

Symptoms

Cataract

CATARACT SYMPTOMS

There may be no signs and symptoms at an early stage but as the condition progresses, the following signs and symptoms are observed1 -

  • Clouding of vision, blurring of images
  • High sensitivity to direct light or glare
  • Difficulty seeing at night or in dim light
  • Observing ‘halo’ effect around lights
  • Rapid changes in the focal numbers of eyeglasses/contact lens
  • Double vision in a single eye

Diagnosis

Cataract

CATARACT DIAGNOSIS

A complete medial history and a detailed eye examination are required to diagnose Cataract. In addition, your doctor may recommend some tests, such as1:

  • Retinoscopy – It is a test to check for the appearance of the lens
  • Slit lamp examination - It creates 3D view of different parts of the eye and is used to detect eye problems at an early stage.

Management

Cataract

CATARACT AYURVEDIC TREATMENT

In the early stages of the condition, for elimination of the dushya (vitiated toxins), raktamokshana (surgically removing blood from the body) is prescribed. Post this procedure, different measures such as seka (fomentation- moist, warm medicinal compress), nasya (nasal infusion), anjan (eyeliners), aschyotan (Medication in the eye), and lepa kriyakalpa (medical application over the eye) are recommended.2 

For a well-developed Kaphaja linganasha (matured cataract) that is not complicated with any other conditions/factors, surgical correction in recommended in Ayurvedic and current literature.

The following ahar (or diet) and vihar (or lifestyle) are recommended for all kinds of eye diseases.

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

  • Recommended foods that should be included in the diet every day such as ghee, milk, rock salt, honey, patola (snake gourd), red rice, green gram, wheat, triphala (3 fruits), carrots and leafy vegetables3
  • Avoid foods such as sour foods, dry meat, all alcohols, select sea fishes, curd, tobacco, excessive hot and fatty foods 3

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

  • Walk regularly
  • Wear headgear such as caps and hats, and eyegear such as sunglasses to protect from UV radiations
  • Properly clean the eye everyday
  • Make sure you get good sleep regularly
  • Make it a habit to wake up early
  • Applying oils on feet and heat with some massage may be beneficial.

FAQS

Cataract
  1. How does Glaucoma develop?

The primary cause of developing Glaucoma is having an increased pressure inside the eye. This leads to damage of the optic nerve – that affects the vision. The increase of pressure is due to the accumulation of the fluid of the eye called as Aqueous humor. This accumulation is either because the fluid is not being drained or it is being overproduces. The reasons for these to happen are not fully understood but probable causes are genetic.1

  1. I am diagnosed with dry AMD. Are there any recommendations of herbs/foods that are beneficial in this case?

As per Ayurveda, herbs like Triphala [3 fruits of haritaki (chebulic myrobalan), bibhitaki (Beleric myrobalan) and amalki (gooseberry), Tulsi (Basil), Spirulina, Punarnava (Hogweed/Boerrhavia diffusa), Shatavari (Asparagus) having anti-oxidant and vitamin properties. These along with carotene containing foods (such as carrots) are beneficial in dry AMD.

  1. What is Myopia? How does one get it?

Myopia is refractive error. It means that due to the elongation of the eyeball, the rays of light coming from distant object do not come directly on the retina but falls in front of it. This is because the cornea or lens is not curved smoothly, causing improper refraction of light rays.

It is very common and generally develops slowly. It is found across age groups – from children to adults. It also tends to run in families.

  1. What is astigmatism, how is it caused?

Astigmatism is refractive error. Due to unknown causes, if the curvature of cornea or lens is disturbed, the rays of light coming from an object would not come directly on the retina but falls either in front or beyond it. This leads to a blurring of vision and in Astigmatism this blurring can happen either horizontally, vertically or diagonally.

  1. What are the causes of a red eye?

Conjunctivitis or red eye is caused due to a swelling of the conjunctiva (The membrane covering the eyeball). This is often due to an infection of the membrane. The causes of the infection are either a virus or bacteria. Sometimes, conjunctivitis may also occur due to a reaction or splash of chemical irritant inside the eye.

  1. What is cataract? How does one know if he/she has cataract?
    Cataract refers to the cloudy appearance of the lens of the eye which causes a clouded vision. Due to the clouding of the vision, a person suffering from cataract finds it very difficult to see properly, read anything or even drive a car.

There may be no signs and symptoms at an early stage but as the condition progresses, the following signs and symptoms are observed1 -

  • Clouding of vision, blurring of images
  • High sensitivity to direct light or glare
  • Difficulty seeing at night or in dim light
  • Observing ‘halo’ effect around lights
  • Rapid changes in the focal numbers of eyeglasses/contact lens
  • Double vision
  1. What should I do for dry eyes?

For those suffering from dry eyes, avoidance of factors such as long hours on TV/Computer along with adequate body hydration are recommended. Regular blinking and few eye exercises as mentioned should be followed.

  • Blinking exercise: Blinking of eyes for a particular period at frequent intervals
  • Palming: Rubbing the palms of hands and placing them gently over the eye lids.
  • Eye rotation: Rotation of the eye ball in all directions at frequent intervals.
  1. I have double vision. What could be the cause and how can it be evaluated?

A complete medical history and a detailed eye examination are required to diagnose the exact cause for diplopia. Additional tests may be required to find any underlying nervous or mechanical cause, which are -

  • Retinoscopy – to test for the appearance of the lens, retina and images
  • Slit lamp examination - to test for certain structures inside the eye
  • A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or Computed Tomography (CT) scan may be needed, to detect abnormalities of the eye socket (orbit), skull and brain.
  1. How does one develop allergy in the eye?

An allergic reaction starts when a person’s immune system mistakes an otherwise harmless substance for a dangerous attacker. The cells in the eye produce antibodies to an allergen on first contact. When a similar contact with the substance happens again, the same antibodies signal the immune system to release chemicals - called histamine - into the bloodstream, causing a reaction that leads to the signs and symptoms.

Common allergy triggers for the eye, include many allergens existing in air, or certain types of foods and different venoms through insect stings - such as bee stings or wasp stings or certain medications.

  1. What kind of infection can commonly occur in the eye?

Eye infections are known to cause swelling and irritations in the eye, and are caused either by a bacteria, fungus or virus. The common eye infections seen are Conjunctivitis or red eye and Stye. Conjunctivitis causes a swelling of the conjunctiva (the membrane covering the eyeball) and stye is an infection in the eyelids. This is often due to an infection of the membrane. While this condition does not affect the vision, it causes a lot of irritation in the eye and discomfort.

References

Cataract
  1. Mayo clinic. Cataract. Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cataracts/home/ovc-20215123 accessed Sept 8th 2016
  2. Dhiman KS et al. A comprehensive review of Cataract (Kaphaja Linganasha) and its Surgical Treatment in Ayurvedic Literature. Ayu. 2010 Jan-Mar; 31(1): 93–100.
  3. Prakash SC et al. Ayurvedic Opthalmology an Approach through Holistic Diet and Regimen. 2015; Vol. 1(2): 31-34

Disclaimer: The information on this page is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or ayurvedic treatment of ophthalmology-eye-diseases and/or cataract without consulting the doctor. Consult your physician before beginning an exercise regime. "While we have products /ayurvedic medicines for ophthalmology-eye-diseases and/or cataract, you must consult an authorized physician before taking any of the products. For more information on products, visit www.dabur.com or call 1800-103-1644"

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