Glaucoma is the stage where intraocular pressure of the eye increases beyond the normal level. This increase in pressure subsequently produces changes in the retina, especially in the optic disc. These changes bring major damage to the functional system of the eye. If the progress of the disease is not arrested in time, Glaucoma can lead to blindness.
Glaucoma can be roughly classified into the following two types:
- Open-angle Glaucoma (commonly known as simple chronic glaucoma) – This condition is very lethal to a patient as its onset is very silent. Open-angle Glaucoma is also called as a silent enemy. Usually, no considerable symptoms are seen. Hence, patients are unaware of either the development or progress of this disease. During the starting stage, no visual symptoms at all can ben seen. The initial symptoms are mainly headache, the heaviness of the head, feeling of fullness in the eye (this is experienced more in the morning and evening times). Symptoms affecting the vision start to develop on gradually. The decrease in distant vision, visual field, especially peripheral field are the main symptoms experienced by the patient. As the symptoms increase, the patient moves towards blindness.
- Closed-angle Glaucoma (commonly known as acute congestive glaucoma) – The onset of closed-angle glaucoma is sudden. Often, redness in the eyes, vessel congestion, severe pain, photophobia, and headache are the main symptoms. If the condition is not handled with care, there are chances of loss of vision within a few days.
Treatment for glaucoma in Ayurveda comes under the head – Adhimandha. Adhimandha is the general classification of the different types of Glaucoma. In order to treat this condition, the predominant dosha, as well as the associated symptoms of Adhimandha, needs to be identified correctly. After the proper identification of predominant doshas, the condition needs to be classified from among Vatadhimandha, pittadhimandha, kaphadhimandha and rakthadhimandha. Each condition is unique and so is the treatment for each of them.
In order to start treatment for glaucoma, the doctor needs to analyze the clinical stage of the disease on the basis of tridosha theory and confirm the dosha predominance. Other factors such as the age of the patient, the working load of his eyes, etc. also need to be analyzed before fixing the treatment for the condition. Hence, the treatment for each individual is unique and will vary from patient to patient.
As a very generic example, for patients suffering from vatadhimandha condition, vata samana and snigdha therapies are preferable. Whereas, in pittadhimandha condition, pitta-rakta sodhana therapy should be administered. However, in kaphadhimandha condition, the mode of approach is totally different from the first two approached. Here, kapha-sodhana and siro-virechana procedures are advised. In rakthadhimandha, rakthasodhana is the first choice.
In addition to the external ayurvedic treatment eyes need to be made healthy from inside. For this, Internal medicines are to be administered side by side. Generally, medicines are sodhana in nature. Proper dietary restrictions and timings are also essential for the proper management of Glaucoma.
It needs to be noted that in many cases, the primary aim of the treatment would be to arrest the progress of the disease. The secondary aim would be to preserve the existing vision. In advanced stages, the treatment would be aimed at avoiding blindness or to delay the onset of blindness. Patients need to understand that the extent of result will greatly depend on the stage of the disease from which the treatment has started. Unlike other diseases, the aim of treatment of glaucoma would not be to completely cure the disease. The aim would be to manage the condition with medicine.
The exact details of the expected results for any patient would be provided after a detailed analysis of the present clinical stage of the disease. For this, a detailed initial assessment would be taken at Matha Ayurveda Eye Hospital. After the initial analysis, necessary investigations are also completed. Then, patients meet with a senior physician, and a detailed care plan would be charted out. The treatments proposed, medicines to be used, duration, and expected results would be explained to the patient.