Usher Syndrome Ayurvedic Treatment

This is a group of health condition characterised by deranged vision, hearing or sometimes body balance. The deafness/ hearing loss is often caused by abnormal hair growth in inner ear, and the loss of body balance develop when hair grows in vestibule of ear. It is an inherited condition (genetic). 

Signs and Symptoms

The most common symptoms are hearing loss and retinitis pigmentosa (disease of retina in eye affecting vision). In some person, the syndrome affects body balance. Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) results in loss of peripheral vision (difficulty to see the objects in the sides of eye) due to degeneration of retinal cells that helps in vision. Gradually, the vision is confined to the area just in front of eyes (ie tunnel vision). 

Ayurvedic Analysis

There is no direct description of this syndrome in Ayurveda, but badhirya (deafness) and vidagdha drushtiroga are explained very well. Beejabhaga avayava dushti (genetics) plays an important role in the manifestation of these two. Vidagdha drushtiroga is kapha predominant in the initial stages and then the person experiences night blindness. Gradually, pitta is vitiated and then the symptoms will be reduced vision, difficulty to identify the colours, reduced field of vision etc. Finally, vata also get vitiated (Tridosha dushti). At this phase, all these symptoms are aggravated. The vision will be confined to the centre of eye. At this stage, the disease is incurable; otherwise, symptomatic care is provided to arrest the progression of disease. 

Causative Factors (Ayurveda)

Badhirya is caused by aggravated vata and it can happen following beejabhaga avayava dushti, birth trauma, over exposure to loud sound etc. Vidagdha drushtiroga develops mainly in persons with family history (kulaja vikara) of the condition. Other possible reasons are excess intake of spicy, salty, sour and hot food and drinks. 

Possible Complications

The major complications are reduced quality of life, stress, problems with day-to-day activities and relationships etc. 

Other systemic diseases and precautions to be taken

Sometimes, the vision problem in usher syndrome is associated with macular cysts (growths in macula/ the centre part of retina) or cataract. 

Management

Only symptomatic care can be provided depending on the stage of disease, prakrti of patient and several other factors, as it is a genetic condition. For badhirya– internal medication along with karnapoorana (retention of suitable oil in ear), nasya (nasal instillation of medicine), shirodhara (irrigation of head with suitable oil) etc are given. Depending on the stage of dosha vitiation, vidagdha drushtiroga is managed with Snehapana consumption of medicated ghee), abhyanga (external application of medicinal oil), swedana (eg: steam bath), virechana purgation), nasya, shirodhara, tarpana (retention of medicated ghee in eye), raktamoksha- blood-letting (at temples), Anjana (application of medicine in eye), ashchotana (eye drops) etc along with appropriate internal medicines. 

Diet

Include more green vegetables, leafy vegetables (spinach, moringa leaves, boerhavia diffusa etc), sweet fruits, carrot, pumpkin, milk etc in diet. Avoid the consumption of spicy, hot, salty, sour food and drinks. 

Exercise

Mild to moderate exercise can help improve body balance and reduce stress associated with this syndrome. Yoga, meditation and pranayama are also helpful. 

Preventive Aspects

As it is a genetic problem, usher syndrome cannot be prevented. The persons with a family history of usher syndrome are recommended to follow a healthy diet that promote the vision and hearing, avoid eye strain/ over exposure to blue light, apply suitable oil in ear canal, application of Anjana (medicated kajal) in eye etc. Nasya with appropriate medicine is also helpful to prevent the symptoms. Exercises that improve body balance can be done on a regular basis. 

Importance of Diet

The diet must be nutritious enough to delay the progression of the disease. 

Lifestyle 

Use supportive measure to combat with hearing loss and loss of body balance. Take healthy nutritious diet. Ensure adequate rest. Avoid mental stress.

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