In Ayurveda, the eye related disease is not restricted to the eyes itself, but is considered as a result of imbalance of the Doshas in human body. All types of eye disorders can be broadly mentioned under the comprehensive title of ‘Timira-Kacha-Linganasha’ complex. The modern day refractive error of the eye known as Myopia can be related to Timira or blurred vision which is the initial stages of eye diseases. Also, eye diseases like cataract which is the major cause of loss of vision is referred to as Linganasha.
Ayurvedic Analysis of Vision Loss
According to Ayurveda philosophy, ‘Drishti dosha’ or the failing vision problem is believed to result from nervous debility and also from long lasting ailments of constipation and common cold.
Ayurveda believes that the root cause in most of the cases of failing vision, especially in the younger age, lies with habitual suppression or improper evacuation of the bowels as well as chronic cold and congestion. Therefore, Trifla or powder of the three Myrobalans (Aamla, Harad and Baheda) is recommended both for internal as well as external purpose.
Other drugs of choice like Mahatriphla ghrita, Yashtimadhu churana, Saptamrit Lauha etc may be taken after consulting an Ayurveda physician. Particularly in case of chronic cold, there are some beneficial medicated oils that need to be deeply inhaled along with the therapy.
Panchakarma Ayurvedic Treatments for Eye Diseases
Panchakarma Ayurvedic treatments and procedures like Nasya Karma and Netra Tarpana / Netra Basti are generally followed for treatment of Eye disease as the nasal passage is considered the ideal gateway for administration of medicine in Urdhwajatrugata Rogas (Diseases related above the neck region).
Nasya karma is believed to be best suited for the Eye and ENT ailments. In the procedure of Nasya karma, there is instillation of herbal medications like oil, powder, and fresh juices through the nostrils to balance doshas from the head region especially head, nose and throat. This procedure is usually done for 3-7 days, where the prescribed drops of herbal medication are administered into each nostril.
Thus, the Panchakarma Ayurvedic treatment of Nasya Karma is essentially the procedure of instilling medicines through the nasal orifice. The nasal orifices are believed to be the entrance of the head. The medicine instilled through them easily penetrates the Sringataka and spreads to the Siras (arterioles) of head (shira), eyes (netra), ears (shrotra), throat (kantha) and expels out the impurities.
Netra Tarpana / Netra Basti
Netra Basti is a simple and effective method to relax the eye strain. This Ayurvedic procedure includes keeping wheat flour doughnuts above the eyes and filling them with warm ghee. This Ayurvedic procedure of Netra Tarpana cools, lubricates, and rejuvenates the eyes and also improves the inner vision by clearing out the subtle channels associated with inner and outer perception. This helps to relax itchy and dry eyes. It helps to bring back brightness and clarity to the eyes as impurities are expelled out. It is also used to treat early formation of cataract, glaucoma, chronic conjunctivitis, and promotes relaxation. The treatment is done by creating a pool of pure herbal ghee (clarified organic butter) over the eye. The eyes comfortably swim in the ghee for about 20 minutes. Watch the video here.
Netra Dhara is a special cleansing technique of pouring herbal decoctions in a continuous stream over the eyes for 20 minutes. It cools and refreshes strained eyes, delays cataract formation and helps in treating chronic conjunctivitis and eye strain.
Other Ayurvedic Eye Treatments For Eye Diseases
Ancient Ayurveda text also refers to Netra Kriya Kalpas – the Ocular therapeutics for eye disorders mentioned in the Ayurveda classics of Sushruta Samhita. These are the local external therapies (pertaining to site) administered based on the Clinical features and diagnosis along with treatment modalities like Panchakarma/detoxification and Internal Medications accordingly.
The Netra kriyakalpas include, Aschyotana, Seka, bidalaka, Pindi, Tarpana, Putapaka and Anjana.
Aschyotana- Medicated drops into the eye.
Seka- This is pouring of liquid in thin stream over the closed eye from a height of four inches height. Indicated in Inflammatory conditions (Pitta dosha Vitiation).
Bidalaka- Application of a paste over the eye lids except the area of eye lashes. Best in eyelid disorders.
Pindi- Poultice i.e. drug, tied with cloth, kept over the eyes. Useful in abhishyandi (conjunctivitis) and vranas(Ulcers) of the eyes.(beneficial in kapha pitta disorders)
Tarpana- Unctuous substance is kept on the eyes for stipulated period of time by constructing the wall around the eyes with flour. Indicated in all the degenerative disorders, Inflammatory and chronic disorders of the eyes.
Putapaka- Similar as tarpana, the medicine is extracted by a special method called Putapaka. This is usually done after Tarpana.
Anjana- Application of medicine to the internal surface of lid margin. Used as treatment & also as preventive measures. Useful in ocular growths, opacity, Kapha predominant condition.