Ayurvedic treatment for Cone-rod Dystrophy

Cone-rod dystrophy (Also known as rod-cone dystrophy, rod-cone degeneration, and cone-rod degeneration) is a clinical condition in which cones and rods are degenerating.

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Cone-rod dystrophy ( rod-cone dystrophy / rod-cone degeneration / and cone-rod degeneration) Ayurvedic Treatment At Matha

Cone-rod dystrophy (Also known as rod-cone dystrophy, rod-cone degeneration, and cone-rod degeneration) is a clinical condition in which cones and rods are degenerating. These are photoreceptor cells situated in the retina – the innermost layer of the eyeball and the most sensitive part of the eye.

When they reach the eye, the light rays reflected from the objects enter the eyeball through the cornea and get refracted as it passes through the eyeball. Finally, they converge on the retina.

The light rays get caught up by the photoreceptor cells of the retina, i.e. the rods and cones. They initiate a series of photochemical, electrical, and nervous reactions. Finally, a nerve impulse gets created as a result of these reactions. All these constitute the first step to the formation of visual sense.

When this visual impulse reaches the brain’s optical center, it gets converted to a real sense of vision. So, if there is any defect in the photoreceptor cells, the nerve impulse is not formed perfectly, and eyesight is not possible.

Rods and cones have different properties and functions. Rods are responsible for vision in dim light or at night. At the same time, Cones are more concerned with day vision, colour vision and sharp vision. Rods are more in number (120 million approx), and cones are lesser in number (6 million approx).

Rods are distributed more in the retina’s periphery, and as it comes to the central part, the number becomes less and less. Conversely, cones are packed in the middle area, i.e., macular area, and are less in the peripheral region. So, both day and night vision will be affected when there is a defect in rods and cones.

In the case of cone-rod dystrophy, both these photoreceptors deteriorate gradually, and this medical condition can lead to blindness. Medical science considers this disease as a genetic disorder.

The main symptoms are:

  • blurred vision
  • decreased distant and near vision
  • defective night vision
  • loss of colour vision
  • defects in the visual field

According to ayurvedic theory, Rods are more concerned with Kapha dosha and cones with Pitta dosha. Kapha in the eye is the particular fraction of Kapha called Tharpakakapha. Pitta involved in the ocular system is Alochakapitta. It has two fractions – Chakshurvaisheshika Alochakapitta and Budhivaisheshika Alochakapitta.

The sites of Chakshurvaisheshika Alochakapitta is inside the eyeball, and that of Budhivaisheshika Alochakapitta is inside the brain. Since cones are inside the eyeball, Chakshurvaisheshika Alochakapitta needs serious consideration. But, since the actual sense of vision emerges from the brain’s visual centre, Budhivaisheshika Alochakapitta also needs to be considered.

It’s essential to understand what rods and cones are. These are two pigment materials found in the retina of the eyeball. The retina, the innermost layer of the eyeball, consists of ten layers, one of which is the pigmentary layer containing rods and cones. These pigments play crucial roles in vision, and their distribution within the retina is significant. Rods are densely packed in the peripheral area of the retina, while cones are concentrated in the central area, particularly in the macula and fovea.

Rods are primarily involved in night vision, while cones are responsible for sharp vision, color perception, and daylight vision. In dim light, vision may be possible to some extent due to rod function, but daylight provides clearer and more detailed vision primarily governed by cones.

When there is a defect in either rods or cones, it can lead to specific vision problems. Cone dystrophy affects cone function, resulting in intolerance to bright light, difficulty discriminating colors, and problems with bright-colored objects. On the other hand, rod dystrophy affects dim light vision, making it challenging to see in low-light conditions and adapt from bright to dark environments.

In cases where both rods and cones are affected, it is termed rod cone dystrophy, which presents a more serious issue impacting various aspects of vision. In Ayurveda, cone function is associated with the pitta dosha, specifically the alochaka pitta, which plays a role in vision within the eyeball.

Treatment for rod cone dystrophy involves addressing pitta imbalance in the ocular system. Ayurvedic medications with properties suitable for treating ocular conditions and maintaining pitta balance, along with rasayana (rejuvenating) properties, are chosen. Additionally, therapeutic procedures like shirodhara and shiro-abhyanga (head massage) may be beneficial.

Preventive measures include avoiding excessive exposure to bright light and screens, which can worsen cone function. Dietary adjustments to avoid foods that aggravate pitta, such as sour foods and deep-fried items, are recommended. Instead, consuming pitta-soothing foods like black grapes, bananas, and coconut water can help maintain ocular health.

By addressing both the treatment and preventive aspects comprehensively, it is possible to manage rod cone dystrophy effectively and improve prognosis for patients.

Systematic ayurvedic cure for Cone-rod dystrophy

Vata activates both the Kapha and Pitta. Hence, this condition becomes Tridoshajam (involving all the three doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha) or Sannipathikam (equal importance to Vata, Pitta and Kapha).

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Ayurvedic Theory on the treatment of Cone-rod dystrophy

Cone-rod dystrophy ayurvedic treatment infogrphic

Vata activates both the Kapha and Pitta. Hence, this condition becomes Tridoshajam (involving all the three doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha) or Sannipathikam (equal importance to Vata, Pitta and Kapha). In short, we have to consider all three doshas in the treatment aspect. Practically, Pitta needs more priority in treatment aspects.

Since Cone-rod dystrophy is a genetic disorder and a degenerative disease, a total cure is impossible. But, proper treatment can delay the deterioration and make the remaining tissues healthy and robust. In this way, the functional capacity of these remaining tissues increases. There are Scientific and potent medicines and treatment procedures for this condition. Nasyam and Anjanam are good for Kapha dominance. Treatment procedures like Sirodhara, Sirolepanam, Netrasekam, etc., are effective for managing Pitta vitiation in the eye. Treatments like Sirovasthi and Netra Tharpanam are beneficial for Vata vitiation. The medicines for these procedures are to be selected by an expert hand only. They should have particular properties as given below :

  • 1. They should have chakshushya property (i.e., capable of acting in the ophthalmic tissues)
  •  They should have the correct dosha samana properties – Vata samana, Pitta samana and Kapha samana.
  • They should have Rasayana properties – maintain the structural stability and correct balance of the Dhatu’s (In ayurvedic theory, Dhatu’s are 7 in number by which the material body is made up of – Rasa, Rakta, Mamsa, Medas, Asthi, Majja, Sukla)

If the medicines are selected wisely and the appropriate treatment procedures are done, then there will be a positive result.

To summarize,

  • Select appropriate medicine and conduct the correct treatment procedures
  • Keep away from trigger factors – i.e. dosha vitiating factors

Precautions in food items

Food items also have a vital role in the healing process. Patients need to add Pathya food items (Suitable for healing of that particular disease) and avoid Apathya (which are not suitable for that specific disease). Fresh fruits, vegetables, ghee, milk, and antioxidants, in general, come under the Pathya group. Likewise, too much spicy food items, deep-fried food items, overcooked items etc come under the Apathya group.

Precautions in daily habits

Avoid Certain factors of daily habits that can vitiate doshas of the eye. Avoid too much eyestrain, especially on illuminated screens (mobiles, laptops, etc.), exposure to bright sunlight with the naked eye, lack of sleep, head wash during the night, day sleep, etc.

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Frequently Asked Questions 

I am 35 years old and with a severe eye problem. Doctors diagnosed my eye condition as cone-rod dystrophy, and they say there is no treatment for this disease. Can Ayurveda help me?

Cone-rod dystrophy is a genetic disorder and a degenerative disease. Hence, a perfect cure is NOT possible. But Ayurveda can help you to a great extent. There are very scientific medicines and treatment procedures to delay the deterioration and improve the functional capacity of your remaining tissues, and it will give you good results.

I am now 32 years. I suffer from colour blindness, and my vision seems to decrease gradually. The diagnosis of my eye problem is Cone-rod dystrophy. I am taking antioxidants as per the doctor's advice, but I am not getting significant results. Is there anything in Ayurveda for my condition?

It is a degenerative genetic disorder. In Ayurveda, there are methods to delay the deterioration and strengthen your retinal cells, giving you positive results.

My Eye disease was diagnosed as Cone-rod dystrophy, and doctors say it is dangerous and there is no treatment. What is this cone-rod dystrophy, and can Ayurveda help me in this disease?

Cones and Rods are two types of extraordinary photoreceptor cells of the retina. It is involved in the process of developing vision. In Rod cone dystrophy, these cells are degenerating. That is why your vision is decreasing. It is a genetic disorder, and that is why doctors say there is no treatment. Ayurveda can help you, but inpatient level (admitted) treatments are necessary. Very special treatment procedures are to be done to strengthen your retina.

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