Ayurvedic treatment for Macular degeneration

Macular degeneration

Know More on Ophthalmology/ Eye diseases

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

Definition

Macular degeneration Ayurvedic treatment

Macular degeneration is also called as Age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This is a disease of the macula – a part in the eye that is responsible for receiving light rays of the object and relaying the information to brain – for image perception. AMD is a painless eye condition, but also one, that causes loss of central vision, either in one or both eyes. Since the central vision is lost, people with AMD have difficulties in reading, recognizing colors or even other people's faces. As AMD does not affect the side vision, it never causes complete blindness.1

There is no similar word mentioned in Ayurvedic literature for AMD, but the symptoms may be correlated with Pitta Vidagdha Drishti (Eyesight affected by pitta).2

Causes

Macular degeneration

The exact cause of occurrence of macular degeneration is not understood by scientists but it generally develops in old age. One probable cause of development is that the cells that perceive light and hence relay image, may break down due to age or other reasons causing what is known as Dry AMD.1

In another scenario, the macula has new blood vessels developing underneath it. These causes some damage to the macula, and also create small leaks of blood or fluid around it. This leads to loss of vision and is known as Wet AMD.1

Symptoms

Macular degeneration

The primary symptom of a macular degeneration is loss of central vision (i.e. unable to see straight ahead). Due to this -

  • People cannot read or drive
  • Cannot see faces of people right in front of them
  • See distorted images (especially in center)

Diagnosis

Macular degeneration

A diagnosis of macular degeneration is made wither after a person starts noticing the above symptoms or probably during a routine eye examination. Hence regular eye check-ups are important to diagnose the condition early.1

Detecting dry AMD3

  • Ophthalmoscope: Your doctor will use pupil-dilating eye-drops and examine the retina using this device.

Detecting wet AMD3

  • Fluorescein angiography: It is a procedure where a fluorescein dye is injected into your vein and it travels to your eyes. Eye photographs are taken as the dye highlights the abnormal areas of the eyes.
  • Optical Coherence Tomography: The process scans and creates special picture of your macula.

Management

Macular degeneration

Ayurveda advocates therapies such as Nasya (nasal infusion), Tarpana (internal nourishment/oleation/administration of herbal oils and ghee), and oral rasayana (immunity boosting) therapies for the management of Eye diseases.2

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 vegetables
  • Avoid foods such as sour foods, dry meat, all alcohols, select sea fishes, curd, tobacco, excessive hot and fatty foods
  • Good Medicinal Plants for dry AMD: Triphala (3 fruits), Tulsi (Basil), Spirulina, Punarnava (Hogweed/Boerrhavia diffusa), Shatavari (Asparagus) have anti-oxidant and vitamin properties. These along with carotene containing foods (such as carrots) are beneficial in dry AMD.

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.
  • Practice some exercises for your eyes. Suggestions are given below.

FAQS

Macular degeneration
  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

Macular degeneration
  1. NHS Choices. Macular Degeneration. Available at http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Macular-degeneration/Pages/Introduction.aspx accessed Sept 7th 2016
  2. Kumar M. The Management of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) in Ayurvedic Prospective- A Critical Review. Int J Ayur Pharm Res. 2015;3(3):8-12.
  3. Boyd K. Macular degeneration Diagnosis: How is AMD diagnosed? American Academy of Ophthalmology. Available at http://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/amd-diagnosis, accessed Sept 13th 2016
  4. 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 macular degeneration without consulting the doctor. Consult your physician before beginning an exercise regime. "While we have products /ayurvedic medicines for ophthalmology-eye-diseases and/or macular degeneration, 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"

Related Articles