What Is Opthalmic Ayurveda

Posted on  26  May in Eye Care Leave a comment
What Is Ophthalmic Ayurveda?

Can I see again?
Is it possible to stop degeneration atleast in the eye wihich is little better?

Can we reverse the changes of retina due to Retinitis Pigmentosa?
Please guide us but truly, Is there any remedy in Ayurveda to cure Eye Diseases?

These are the Questions which arise when a patient in extreme conditions visit the Ayurvedic Doctor for eye treatments, just due to the unawareness of the fact that Ayurveda not only treats diseases like asthma, diabetes, arthritis but also treats Eye Disorders.

In fact there are separate chapters devoted to the description of eye diseases, about their diagnosis & also about their therapeutic procedures in different ancient classical texts of Ayurveda. Common people may not be aware of the fact that in Ayurvedic curriculum ( of B.A.M.S.- Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine & Surgery course, in the last year) there is a separate paper on Netraroga (Ayurvedic Ophthalmology), along with the second paper on Disaeases of E.N.T. & Oral cavity and head region ( Karna nasa mukha & shiroroga)., along with concerned practicals & case takings ( oral examinations on patients).

Ashtanga Ayurveda

There is a misconception that Ayurveda doesnt have any knowledge about surgical disciplines, moreover there is absolutely no mention about eye disorders, but this is not true. Ayurveda do have separate specific specialties with references to different eight disciplines. That is the reason Ayurveda is also known to be Ashtanga Ayurveda. The eight branches constitutes study of the following disciplines, viz.

Kayachikitsa: General Medicine or Internal Medicine.
Balachikitsa: Paediatrics as well as Gynaecology & Obstetrics.
Grahachikitsa: Psychiatry & Parapsychology.
Urdhwangatantra or Shalakyatantra: Diseases of Eye, Ear, Nose Throat & Head region. (Ayurvedic Ophthalmology, Ayurvedic Oto-rhino-laringology& Ayurvedic Neurology.)
Shalyatantra: General Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Plastic Surgery.
Danshtrachikitsa: Toxicology.
Jarachikitsa: Geriatrics.
Vrishyachikitsa: Including Rasayan & vajeekaran therapy Prohost therapy, Aphrodisiac therapy, rejuvenation therapy, Immunomodulation Therapy.

What is Shalakyatantra?

According to the definitions of Vagbhatacharya & Sushrutacharya, Shalakyatantra can be defined as that branch of Ayurveda, in which there is a provision for management of disorders of the parts situated above the level of the clavicles (Urdhwajatrugata Vikara), namely that of Ear, Nose, Throat (Shravana Vadana Ghranadi) i.e.Otorhinolaryngology & Eyes (Nayanadi ). At other reference it has been stated by Dalhanacharya, that this branch is known to be Shalakyatantra , because while doing the examinations of these regions, one need to take help of a small instrument a probe or thin metallic structure known to be Shalaka, & hence the name of the branch is Shalakyatantra.

Physiology of Eye in Ayurveda

In certain texts of Ayurveda, like in Sushrut Samhita, anatomy & physiology of eye has been discussed in great details. They have mentioned thousands of years before that the shape of eye is oblong & not a perfect round, (Gostanakaram) thickness of the eyeball is close to the thickness of ones own thumb (swangushthdara sammitam), they have even discussed about different coats/layers (patal), various junctions( sandhi), about pupil (drishti), inner canthus(kaninak), outer canthus(apanga), about lens, eye lids, eye lashes & many more such relevant things in Ayurvedic anatomy of eyeball(Netrasharira).

As per Ayurvedic physiology of eye, the main dosha that is responsible for the very basic function of eye (sight, to see), is no other than Pitta & that to again a subtype of Pitta known as Alochaka Pitta. I am sure all of us would salute to our ancient masters who knew that there were two distinctive components were responsible for the act of seeing, one in the eye itself (may be in the retina) & other in the brain as a optic centre, which they have clearly mentioned then as the Chakshurvaisheshika Alochaka Pitta & Buddhirvaisheshik Alochaka Pitta respectively.

The clinical application of this anatomical background of eye was reflected clearly in the area of classification of eye diseases mentioned in those days by Sushrutacharya in his samhita.One may see description as Pakshma roga (Diseases of Eye lashes), Vartmaroga (Diseases of Eye lids), which is having a striking similarity with the that of the classification of eye disorders being accepted by the contemporary modern ophthalmology !

Etiology Of Eye Disorders

(Netraroga, Samanya Hetu)
Ushnabhitaptasya Jalapraveshat Dooreshanat swapnaviparyayat chal I
Bashpagrahat Sookshma Nirikshanat chall
Netre vikaran janayanti ghoran II
Ref. (Su.Samtita / Uttar ; Ch 26/4)

Ushnabhitaptasya Jalapraveshat -After coming from (hot environment) outside especially in the afternoon, and to jump in a river / water / for swimming, on in today contest to take cold water bath / shower on even a step ahead, one may interpret it, as a sudden change of temperature zone. eg. from heat zone, if one enters suddenly to a Air-Conditioned chilled chamber.

Dooreshanat – means to see object at for constantly eg. in professions like astronomers / Scientists in the observatories, personnel from military at boarder, personnel from Railway Merchant Navy to see signals.

In all these cases, one may have increased strain on eyes, leading to ocular disorder.

Swapnaviparyayat Cha:

means alteration of the pattern of sleep. Usually seen with those on shift duties. Workers, Engineers, Nurses & even Doctors on well by everyday habit of sleeping at daytime biorhythm & can leads to strain on eyes leading to ocular disorders.

Prasakta, Samrodan, Kopa, Shoka, Klosha:

By taking too much of tensions for crying for a longer period, by becoming very angry on by taking excessive efforts out of capacity all these things may lead to increase in vitiated Vata Dosha leading to ocular disorders.

Abhigatat (i.c. due to traumatic injury):

These exists seven ocular emergencies.

Atimaithunat Cha:

By having excessive sex, again these will be vitiation of essential vital tissue shukra & even of ojas & will be increase in vitiated Vata leading to ocular disorders.

Shukta, Aranal, Amla:

are all sour preparations having them in excess may lead increase of vitiated Pitta & rakta leading to ocular disorders.

Kulatha, Masha:

these again leads to increase in vitiated Vata dosha, leading to ocular disorders.

By controlling essential urges (Vega vinigrahana):

like passing urine, or defecating stools, (these are 13 such urges which should not be controlled as per Ayurveda)

By taking increased amount of Sudation( swedan):

eg. to sit more in a Saunna bath.


By smoking excess is one way of interpreting if & other way may be contact of eyes to Gas / Fumes / eg. pollutant on roadways / industries etc.

Having excessive procedures in Purificatory measures (Panchakarma) viz. Vamanatiyogat Excessinve induced emesis (Vamanatiyogat) etc.

Sookshma Nirikshanat Cha:

means to observe microscopic objects for a longer period. May lead stress eyes, leading to ocular disorders e.g. Pathology technicians, Diamond Cutter, Wrist watch repairers etc.

In a current situation, in 21st century more & more number of people are getting introduced to Personal Computers, even starting from school going children to the office attending executive, has to work in front of computer screen for a longer period , similarly kids/ teenagers one spending hours together staring at computer screen while playing with computer games also in front of television screen all these also can be considered to be modern hetu (Reasons) for increasing ocular disorders.

In Traumatic Eye Disorders Aghatajanya Netravyadhi ,there exists traumatic lesion first, & the doshasushti latter (Vitiation of dosha follows thereafter).

How do these Eye Disorders takes place?

(Samanya Samprpapti Pathophysiology of Netraroga)

According to Sushrutacharya

Due various reasons, dosha gets vitiated & increased (prakopa) leading to their way upwards towards eye, & gets entered in different Channels / Vessels( sira) of Eye, creating vitiation (Dooshti) of different organels of an eye. In this way there exists eitiopathogenesis of an eye disorders in general.

Total number & the classification of Eye Disorders

Discussion with regards to classification of an eye disorders according to different scholars of Ayurvedic Opthalmology number of eye disorders mentioned according to different masters ( Acharyas) are as follows:

Sushrutacharya & Vagbhatacharya: 76 types of Eye diseases
Charakacharya: 96 types of Eye diseases
Madhav Nidanakar: 78 types of Eye diseases

Different Approaches of the classification of an Eye disorders according Ayurveda

Based on dosha type
Based on therapeutic approach
Based on anatomical approach

Out of which the last option i.e. based on anatomical approach is still followed by contemporary ophthalmologist in their standard texts on ophthalmology (eg. Diseases of lids, disease of cornea, diseases of sclera etc.,)


Classification of eye disorders according to dosha type

In this approach surprisingly a great efforts have been taken to sub classification of diseases ,according to their tentative prognostic values ,such as easily?? manaageble/completed curable ie. Sadhya, ?difficult as treat ie, Yapya & Untreatable ie. Asadhya apat from its doshik classification such as Vataj, Pittaj, Kaphaj etc.

Classification of eye disorders according to therapeutic approach

1) Cheddya ( to be incised)
2) Lekkhya ( to be scraped )
3) Bheddya ( to be punctured )
4) Vedhya ( to be punctured )
5) Asadhya ( Non treatable )
6) Shamanarha ( conservative line of therapy )

Ayurveda has discussed in great details about various eye diseases such as Abhishyanda (Conunctivitis), Adhimantha (Glaucoma), Pothaki (Trachoma), Kaphaj Linganasha (Mature Cataract), Arma (Pterygium), Vatahat vartma (Ptosis), & many more, even many disorders of eye which we can see today , although doesnt have their mainstay in the Ayurvedic literature, we can still find number of similar symptomatologies? in the classical texts.

Kaphaj Linganash: Linganash is a term derived from two-wards Linga ie. Function & Nash destruction . When there is? a?? destruction of a function of a lens when it becomes opaque , no light can pass through the lens, then it is termed as Linganasha . The same definition also holds true for Cataract. Opacification of (formation of opacities) the crystalline lens is known as Cataract.

Various treatment modalities utilized in the ayurvedic therapy of eye Disorders

There are various ways with which Ayurveda advocates to treat these eye disorders, these can be subdivided into basic two groups, viz. local therapies (Bahyopachara) & internal therapies (Abhyantar upachara). Internal therapies consists of various drugs/medicaments in the forms of Guggulu, Vati, Guti (tablets or pills), Choorna (mono herbal or polyherbal or herbo mineral combinations in the form of powders), Kwatha or Kashaya (Decoctions), Swarasa (fresh juices of medicinal herbs), Lehyam (Linctus) and Siddhda Ghritam (medicated ghee).where as Local therapy consists of various options those are to be performed on the diseased eye.

They are Ashchotana (eye drops), Anjan (to be applied on conjunctival bed), Nasya (medicine to be instilled inside nose), Tarpan ( liquefied medicated ghee to be retained over open? or rather blinking eyes for a specified period in a specific way), Netradhara (pouring of warm decoction over closed eyelids), Lepa (application of paste of medicated powders over closed eye) etc. These therapies are to be performed in different combinations for different ophthalmic disorders.

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