Ayurvedic treatment for Eye allergies

Eye allergies

Know More on Ophthalmology/ Eye diseases

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

Definition

Eye allergies Ayurvedic treatment

WHAT IS EYE ALLERGIES?

Allergies can be understood as a reaction of the human body to any substance or matter that it perceives as a danger to itself. Allergies are not a common happening for every individual. They usually occur when the immune system reacts to a foreign substance, such as dust particles, plant pollens, bee stings/venom, or certain chemicals or perfumes, etc., that otherwise doesn't cause a reaction in most people.1

Specific allergic reaction of the eye to allergens results in eye related symptoms due to the allergen.1

In Ayurveda, Simple Allergic Conjunctivitis.can be correlated with the disease Vataja and kaphaja Abhishyanda and is characterized by Toda (Pricking pain), Sangharsha (foreign body sensation), Achchashruta (watery discharge), Alpa Shopha (mild chemosis), Vishushka Bhava (feeling of dryness),Parushya (dryness). Ayurvedic texts mention symptoms that are similar to an allergic reaction under the concept of ‘Dooshivisha’ (Irritating toxins). A regular exposure to unhealthy habitat, season, food and diwaswap (day sleep) tends to vitiate dhatus (the tissues), thereby causing irritating symptoms.  Hence the toxins are called as dooshivisha.2, 3

Causes

Eye allergies

EYE ALLERGIES CAUSES

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 histamines - into the bloodstream, causing a reaction that leads to the signs and symptoms of eye allergies.1

Common allergy triggers 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

Symptoms

Eye allergies

EYE ALLERGIES SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of allergic eye condition are similar to that seen in conjunctivitis. These may include3 -  

  • Redness of the eye (One or both)
  • Discomfort and itching in eyes
  • Discharge from the affected eye.
  • Sticking of eyelids in morning – especially the affected eye

Diagnosis

Eye allergies

EYE ALLERGIES DIAGNOSIS

Apart from personal history and a diary record of possible allergies, doctors may also recommend one or both of the following tests1:

  • Skin prick test. A skin prick test can identify if the body is allergic to anything. The same allergen can affect and create symptoms in the eyes1
  • Allergy Blood test. This involves a blood test called the radioallergosorbent test (RAST) – which measures the immune system's response to a specific allergen. This can help in eye allergies by diagnosing allergic response by the body through production of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies.1

Management

Eye allergies

EYE ALLERGIES AYURVEDIC TREATMENT

In the Ayurvedic classics, netra tarpana (nourishment of eye through oleation/administration) with herbal oil or Ghrit (Ghee) is advised to heal the condition and provide symptomatic relief from the irritation.4

Local treatment procedures for eyes are explained in the name of netra kriya kalpa or the therapeutic procedures to manage eye diseases that include Parisheka (irrigation with water/ medicated decoctions),  Bidalaka (eye pastes), Aaschyotana (eye drops) and Anjana (eye salves).

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 vegetables5
  • Avoid foods such as sour foods, dry meat, all alcohols, selected sea fishes, curd, tobacco, excessive hot and fatty foods 5

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

  • Personal hygiene especially avoiding personal contact with those infected should be practiced.
  • 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

Massagingghee on soles is asid to to be be beneficial for general health of eyes in Ayurveda.Practice some exercises for your eyes. Suggestions are given below.

FAQS

Eye allergies
  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

Eye allergies
  1. Mayo Clinic. Allergies. Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/allergies/basics/definition/con-20034030 accessed Aug 31st 2016
  2. Patel MK, Hingmire NS et al. Studies on Dooshivish and Its Management According to Ayurveda in Co-Relation with Allergic. IRJIMS April 2016; Vol.2 (3): 29-37
  3. . A comparative study of Bilvadi Yoga Ashchyotana and eye drops inVataja Abhishyanda (Simple Allergic Conjunctivitis)
  4. Jayshree Udani B. Vaghela,1 Manjusha Rajagopala,2 and P. D. Matalia3Ayu. 2012 Jan-Mar; 33(1): 97–101
  5. Mayo Clinic. Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis). Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pink-eye/basics/definition/con-20022732 accessed on Sept 8th 2016
  6. Kanaujia S et al. Concept of Allergic Conjunctivitis on Ayurvedic Prospectus. J Biol Scien Opin. 2016; 4(3): 101-103
  7. Prakash SC et al. Ayurvedic Opthalmology an Approach through Holistic Diet and Regimen. 2015; Vol. 1(2): 31-34
  8. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF KRIYAKALPA IN NETRA ROGA. Unique Journal of Ayurvedic and Herbal Medicines, 03 (03), May-June 2015 14

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