See, age doesn’t matter. A little care and right treatment can keep your eyes healthy and bright, even at 80
We see the world with our eyes; we recognize colours, identify faces and places, and gaze at Nature with our eyes. Constant exposure to intense light or extreme weather conditions and pollution and over-strain weaken eye muscles and gradually affect eyesight. The eyes of a 60-year-old person may not be as powerful as the eyes of an 18-year-old. This difference is evident in their vision too. The rate of degeneration, however, varies from person to person: i.e., according to the climatic conditions he/she lives in, their food habits, lifestyle and hereditary factors. “Cataract, macular degeneration and glaucoma (primary open angle) are the main diseases that usually blind aged people. If a patient is diabetic, the chances of his developing diabetic retinopathy are high,” says Dr K Prasad, chief physician, Sunethri Ayurveda Hospital, Thrissur, Kerala. “Early diagnosis and right corrective measures are very significant in treating these diseases.” Prevention of diseases is the key and the ideal way, he says as rasayana chikitsa, which Ayurveda suggests for eye ailments, is performed on people in the middle age.
Cataract (linganaash), according to Ayurveda, is a condition which is caused due to the aggravation of vata. Here, vitiated vata dries up the liquid that keeps the eye lens and retina supple. As a result, the eye lens loses its moisture and suppleness. It becomes opaque, leading to cataract. In the initial stages, vision may be blurred or disrupted. Cataract can lead to total blindness if left untreated. Surgery is the only remedy if irreversible damage has been caused to the lens. Cataract is an age-old, age-related disease and is mostly seen in people above 60.
- Temperature variations
- Decreased ability of the capsule covering the eye to allow fluids to enter and exit
- Vitamin deficiency
- Irregularities in digestion
- The vision becomes hazier by the day, and it becomes difficult to focus on objects. Cover story Age related eye diseases
- Eyes become very sensitive to light.
- There may be double vision in one of the eyes.
- Oil bath (abhyangam) with Thriphaladi coconut oil or Neelibhringadi coconut oil is good.
- Intake of Triphala choornam. It nourishes the tissues and nerves of the eyeball. Drinking Triphala water also helps as it prevents and cures constipation and is good for the eyes.
- Kajayapanam, a combination of several formulations, gives a cooling effect to eyes.
- Use of Chandrodaya Varti, a collyrium, externally will enhance blood circulation and accelerate nourishment to the eye tissues.
- Nasyam with Seetharandathi thailam.
Macular Degeneration or Agerelated Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a condition where aged people lose vision in the centre of the visual field—the macula. (Macula is the part of the eye that allows a person to see an object in detail. It is responsible for 35 per cent of the visual field and comprises 5 per cent of the retina.) Macular degeneration is primarily caused due to the lack of essential fats that provide nourishment to the eye tissues.
- Blurred vision
- Distorted vision
- Difficulty in differentiating colours AMD is a slow progressive condition which damages the cells in the macula, causing difficulty in reading and recognising people. There are two types of AMD – dry and wet.
Dry AMD: It is caused by the breakdown of the light-sensitive cells in the macula. In this condition, the person needs more than normal light for reading and to do other things.
Treatment: Nasyam with Ksheerabala 101 and sirodhara are effective.
Wet AMD: It is caused by the formation of new unwanted blood vessels under the macula. This may lead to fluid leak and make the condition very severe, and beyond treatment.
Treatment: Takradhara, netra dhara, anjanam with ilaneer kuzhambu are effective.
“Glaucoma, a silent disease, is caused by the pressure rise inside the eye as a result of vitiated Kapha. In normal conditions, eyes allow watery fluid to circulate freely, and enter and exit with ease. Whereas, in glaucoma, the exit route for the fluid gets blocked, and the increased pressure may damage the optic nerve,” says Dr Prasad.
- Blurred vision
- Falling of peripheral vision
Ayurveda effectively manages this disease by various
treatment methods such as sirodhara, sirovasti and nasyam.