Glaucoma is a term applied to a group of eye diseases that cause a characteristic and recognizable deterioration of the optic nerve with associated loss of visual function. The optic nerve carries visual information from the eye to the brain, much like the cable from a computer screen to the computer. In the brain, the information gathered by the eyes is assembled into a visual image that we recognize as sight.
At first, glaucoma has no symptoms. It causes no pain and your vision is normal. Eventually, without treatment, you will start losing your peripheral vision. You might miss seeing objects out of the corner of your eye. Over time, it will seem like you are looking through a tunnel. If your glaucoma is left untreated, your vision may gradually decrease until it is gone completely.
Many people who have glaucoma are not aware they have the disease. By the time they notice loss of vision, the eye damage is severe.
Rarely, an individual will have an acute (sudden or short-term) attack of glaucoma. In these cases, the eye becomes red and extremely painful. Nausea, vomiting, and blurred vision may also occur. This is an eye emergency. Call your eye care professional right away if you experience these symptoms
Glaucoma usually begins when pressure increases in the aqueous fluid of the eye. This fluid bathes the inside of the eye, unlike the tears, which bathe the outside. When the pressure builds up it can damage the optic nerve. The eye constantly produces aqueous fluid. If the normal drainage of fluid from the eye, via a structure known as the trabecular meshwork, becomes clogged, too much fluid collects in the eye causing an increase in pressure. There are two main kinds of glaucoma: “open-angle” and “closed-angle.”
Open angle glaucoma This is the most common kind of glaucoma. It occurs slowly as people age. The drainage area of the eye becomes clogged and the pressure increases. This causes gradual loss of peripheral vision. Often the vision loss is not noticed until it is very advanced.
Closed angle glaucoma : This is much less common than open angle glaucoma. It usually comes on quickly when the drainage area in the eye suddenly becomes completely blocked. The eye pressure rises quickly. You may notice blurred vision and rainbow halos around lights as well as pain, redness of the eye and nausea. If not treated right away it can cause blindness.
Secondary glaucoma : This can occur in association with a large number of conditions, including uveitis, retinal blood vessel occlusions and trauma.
Ayurvedic view and Treatment options of Glaucoma :
Modern Ophthalmology was known as Netrachikitsa in Ayurveda, and it was a critical branch of Ayurveda in ancient times. Derived from two Sanskrit words ‘netra’ meaning ‘eyes’ and ‘chikitsa’ meaning ‘treatment’. Netrachikitsa is a branch of Salakyatanthra (Sugery) in Ayurveda, which deals with the treatment of entire area of head and neck. A total 76 eye diseases have been described in Netrachikitsa.
Ayurvedic ophthalmology is capable of curing several common and chronic eye diseases.
Glaucoma is progressive optic neuropathy due to increase in intraocular pressure. In common language it is known as “Kala Motia” and in Ayurveda as “Adhimantha”. The disease Glaucoma and Adhimantha in Ayurveda are having similarities in terms of its signs and symptoms. Adhimantha is a vision threatening disease with its clinical feature as severe, excruciating pain in the eye as if eyeball is plucked out of orbit associated with headache, progressive reduction in vision in short duration and severe redness.
Causes and Pathophysiology of Glaucoma according to Ayurveda :
In Ayurveda causative factors for pathology of Adhiantha are explained as:
* exposure of excessive heat for a prolomnged time,
* spicy, pungent foods,
* inappropriate and overuse of eye,
* continuous exposure to too bright light,
* repeated night shifts,
* excess stress and anger.
All the above-mentioned factors will disturb the basic humors of the body called Vata and Pitta affecting metabolism, leading to obstruction and perfusion of channels in head which finally gets localized in the eyes and gives rise to Adhimantha or Glaucoma.
According to Sushruta, Abhishyanda is the root cause for the manifestation of many ocular manifestations like Adhimantha, etc and hence advised to treat this condition as early as possible. All the four forms of chronic Abhishyanda if not properly attended to and remedied at the onset, may result in different types of Adhimantha like Vataj, Pittaj, Kaphaj and Raktaj.
Treatment options of Glaucoma in Ayurveda :
Glaucoma is a progressive vision deteriorating disease and a leading cause of blindness. Modern ophthalmologists still struggle to check the progression of optic neuropathy even they become successful to check the rise in intra ocular pressure (IOP). Huge cost is involved in glaucoma diagnosis and treatment in modern medicine. In other hand Ayurveda provides deep understanding of Glaucoma and its natural management. Ayurvedic medicines and procedures check the progression of vision loss and improve the quality of vision by reducing intra ocular pressure and associated symptoms. Among various herbs used in Ayurvedic treatment, some of the herbs used in Ayurveda to treat Glaucoma are:
Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa): Punarnava has been used since ancient times to cure the Glaucoma in Ayurveda. Due to it's diuretic properties, it helps in controlling the disease by draining the excess fluid from the eyes. In this way it helps to prevent the damage of optic nerve and reduces intraocular pressure (IOP).
Amla (Phyllanthus emblica): Amla due to it's natural antioxidant properties helps in protecting the ocular tissue, optic nerve, and retina.
Guggul (Commiphora mukul) : It has antiinflammatory, analgesic and best rejuvenating properties. Due to it's purifying properties as well as lipid- regulating properties, it acts toopen blocked ocular blood vessels.
Curcumin (Curcuma longa) : Curcumin herb has rich anti-diabetic properties that make it a wonderful herb to use for diabetic patients. Its anti- inflammatory properties make it a strong herb for various allergies, infections and inflammations.
Triphala: Triphala has been used in various ways to treat glaucoma since ancient times. It is usually used as an eyewash. It also reduces intraocular pressure and prevents vision loss. The herb also possesses anti-inflammatory properties that protect the optic nerve from damage.
Kaishore guggul : This herbal compound does agnidipan, Aampachan,kledaghna shaman action, so it reduces pain, congetion and Netragata Abhishyanda.
Gokshuradi guggul : This herbal combination due to it's antiinflammatory, diuretic and analgesic properties, helps to decrease the intraocular pressure and decrease inflammation, pain in eye.
Yashtimdhu ghrit : Due to hydrophilic nature of conjunctiva the drug get directly absorbed through conjunctival sac by the trans cellular pathway. It helps to reducing the symptoms and gives feeling comfort to the patient.
Ayurvedic Treatment of Glaucoma Ayurveda is known for its wisdom in treating body ailments in the most natural and effective way. There are many herbs and therapies available which help in relaxing the pain, reduce the redness, drain the deposited fluid, improves vision, etc. You can book an appointment with Ayurvedic experts at Life Line Ayurvedic Herbal Clinic here to get individualised treatment plan for glaucoma.
Disclaimer : Sandeep Kumar and Anupam Vasudeva are not GP, they have Ayurveda medical degree from India where it is considered equal to any other medical degree. This qualification is recognized in Australia by vetassess governing body as Complementary Health Therapists. Life Line Ayurvedic Herbal Clinic does not claim to cure a disease or terminal illness and does not create any unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment. Ayurvedic medicines and treatments are generally considered to be safe but rarely may be associated with possible adverse reactions in individual cases. We recommend seeking urgent medical attention in the case of an adverse reaction. This website provides you with information. You must contact your Ayurvedic or another health professional before you apply them. Read More