Ophthalmology in Ayurveda

Ophthalmology in ayurveda is a branch of a perfect science strictly based upon ayurvedic principles. At present, this branch of science is taught in academic level.

After completing basic degree course of 5.5 years, a post graduate course of 3 years is necessary for this specialization.

This course is now being conducted in the main universities of India. Kerala University(Thiruvananthapuram, kerala), Gujrat Ayurved University (Jamnagar), National Institute of Ayurveda (jaipur), Rajiv Gandhi University (Bangalore) etc are the main among them. More than 20 subject experts with a strong basis of scientific knowledge of ayurvedic ophthalmology are coming out of these academic institutes every year. Specialists from the academic level, being less in number, the necessity is not fulfilled. A person having subject expertise in academic level and long experience in practical level only can face/handle a complicated case of eye disease successfully.


Present scenario of Ayurvedic Ophthalmology in India


Ophthalmolgy in ayurveda is a science giving equal importance to surgery and medicinal treatment. In Northern regions of India, the specialists coming from the academic institutes are handling eye surgeries successfully with the help of modern scientific technologies, whereas, in southern states (especially in Kerala), more emphasis is given to medicinal treatment. 

An Ayurvedic Ophthalmologist needs to  undergo a 5.5 year degree course (B.A.M.S) that includes 4.5 years of theoretical and practical classes, a 1 year house-surgency, practical expertise by postings in psychiatric, gynecology, pediatrics , general surgery etc. After gaining proper basic knowledge about all these branches of medical science,he/she has to undergo 3 year specialization program (M.D or M.S). Only after this level of education, is a person legally (and practically) eligible to handle a specialty case in Ayurveda.

Ayurveda is not a private asset or property that can be transferred from one person to another. 

There can be a lot of misunderstanding about the Ayurvedic science when people who are not legally eligible to handle the science start treating people and handling the science.

There are places handling eye disease without the above said legal eligibility.

Every system of medicine has its own merits and demerits . So, a search for alternative medicine is absolutely necessary for a wise patient. 

When the treatment methods comes to an end in one system, and the complaints still exist, the patient has to go for alternative methods. 

In many eye diseases, where allopathic systems come to its limits, THERE IS STILL HOPE IN AYURVEDIC SYSTEM. 

Degenerative diseases of retina is such a group of diseases. E.g., macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy, degenerative myopia etc.


What is in Ayurvedic Ophthalmology


Being a perfect branch of science ( medicine), it describes all aspects :


  1. Preventive aspects
  2. Anatomy of the organ on the basis of ayurvedic principles
  3. Physiology and function of the organ in ayurvedic view
  4. Structure wise description of each diseases and its treatment
  5. Special ayurvedic treatment procedures for the management of eye disease
  6. Ophthalmic manifestations of systemic diseases and its management



Preventive aspects



  • Prevention of eye disease in a healthy person – this may vary according to the age, body constitution of the individual, dwelling place of the individual, nature of his occupation/profession, economical status, mental status, etc. Only a higly experienced subject expert can protect the vision of an individual.Emphasis should be given to
    • Dietary factors
    • Vision oriented works
    • Headbath, journey, sleep, exersices etc
  • Prevention of the development of ophthalmic complaints in patients with other diseases – This group should be handled very carefully. A thorough knowledge of the systemic diseases and its present line of treatment is to be considered while handling the ophthalmic complaint. The preventive measures take for eye care should be supportive to the treatment of the systemic disease. For e.g., the procedures adopted for preventing ophthalmic complications in a diabetic patient should be supporting to the treatment of diabetes also.


Anatomy


It is described strictly on the basis of ayurvedic principles – Panchabhoota theory and tridosha theory. Without the perfect knowledge of the organ on this basis, an ayurvedic ophthalmologist cannot handle a serious eye disease.



Physiology and function


Here, the visual organ is considered as a Sense organ. The following points are emphasized in this context.


  • The visual organ is not limited to the eyeball
  • Presence of mind is absolutely necessary for the normal functioning of the eye.
  • Perfect Vision has a vast meaning in ayurvedic ophthalmology – understanding, grasping, remembering, reproducing the visual effect, etc. come under vision

Diseases and treatment


Diseases are classified on the basis of anatomical structures of the eye. E.g., diseases of vartmamandalam (eye lids), diseases of suklamandalam (sclera), diseases of krishnamandalam (cornea). Description of each disease contain

  • Etiological factors of the disease
  • Course of the disease
  • Signs and symptoms
  • Prognosis of the disease
  • Complications, if any

All of the above on the basis of ayurvedic principles.
Treatment – treatment is for individual disease. It includes the treatment principle for each disease, selection of medicine, mode of treatment, description of treatment procedure, and after treatment care.


Special treatment procedures


  • Medicinal Such treatment procedures are very specific to ayurveda. They are modified methods to suit the anatomical peculiarities of the organ and to guarantee maximum level of medicinal absorption and to minimize the complications. Each procedure has its own
    • Indications
    • Contra-indications
    • Preparation of the patient
    • Preparation of the medicine
    • Mode of application
    • After care
    • Possible complications and its management
  • The main treatment procedures are Netrasekam, Aschotanam, Tharpanam, Putapakam, Anjanam, Pindi, Vitalakam, and Prathisaranam .
  • Parasurgical procedures – Other than pure surgical procedures, There are also parasurgical procedures . The advantages of such parasurgical procedures are :
    • Less complication
    • Minimum level of preparation and after care for the patient
    • Economical SPECIAL EYE
    • Maximum level of result
  • Widely used parasurgical procedure in ayurvedic ophthalmology are Jalaukavacharanam, lekhanam, Ksharakarmam, Agnikarmam, etc.