Macular Degeneration is now among the primary causes of blindness. An alarming fact is that it is now the most common cause of blindness among the working group of the population. Mostly, the early stages of this disease are not identified by the patients. Patients will not have any serious visual problems during these early stages. It is only during the later stages when the vision becomes affected, that we are able to approach an ophthalmologist. Due to the above reasons, it is seen that victims are able to start eye treatments and ayurvedic eye medicine only during the later stages of this condition. This itself poses a challenge to the treatment of this condition.
The usual symptoms of macular degeneration are:
- Distant vision is affected and greatly reduced
- Blurring of vision
- Extreme difficulty in looking at a bright light, sunlight etc.
- Missing areas in the visual field.
- Vision becomes distorted. For e.g., a straight line will be seen as curved or even in a zig-zagged manner.
- Shape distortion. For e.g., a small object will be seen as a large one or vice versa.
- Dark spots in the centre of the visual field. The result is that patient would not be able to see the focusing object. This dark area will increase as the condition progresses, and finally, lead to total blindness.
Macular Degeneration is clinically described under two heads as given below:
- Dry ARMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration) – Also known as Atrophic type
- Wet ARMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration – Also known as Hemorrhagic type
One of the primary difference between the two clinical conditions is that in Dry ARMD, the onset of blindness is gradual and hard exudates will be seen on the retina. Whereas in the case of wet ARMD, the onset of blindness is sudden and haemorrhages in the retina can be seen.
Ayurvedic Theory on the treatment of macular degeneration
According to ayurvedic science, Macular Degeneration is diagnosed as Vata-pitta predominant.
In Dry ARMD, the Vata is more vitiated and hence, Vata-Samana chikitsa concentrating on the head and eye is necessary to manage this condition. Ideally, Brimhana nasyam, siro vasthi, siro dhara, nethra tharpanam, etc. are used for treatment.
In Wet ARMD, Pitta is more predominant and hence, the medicines are selected according to this context. The ideal choice is usually pittasamana, chakshushya and rasayana drugs. The treatment procedures will also vary and may usually include Sirodhara (Ksheeradhara), Netrasekam, purambada etc.
A very important point to be noted is that the medicines for each of the above procedures should be selected with extreme caution. The medicines selected varies according to many factors such as the age of the patient, body constitution, dosha predominance, mental status of the patient, daily activities of the patient, food habits, etc.
Any systemic diseases being suffered by the patient also should be considered seriously while selecting the medicines. Only a comprehensive analysis of the patient condition as well as the present clinical stage of the disease will give a correct diagnosis of the disease on an ayurvedic basis.
After the diagnosis on ayurvedic basis, the medicines, as well as the treatment procedures, are to be charted out. At Matha Ayurveda Eye Hospital, after a detailed initial assessment, the patient undergoes the required diagnostics. Then the next step is to meet with the Senior Ayurvedic Ophthalmologist and the present clinical stage is explained to the patient. A detailed care plan is developed for each patient and the expected results as well as the duration of treatment are conveyed to every patient before the start of treatment.
Please note that the above details are very generic in nature and for information purpose only. They should NOT be taken as medical advice. The treatments as well as medicines vary from individual to individual and will be finalized only after detailed consultation as explained above.