Twenty first century is the century of science. However, the circle of time has again drawn the attention of people towards the usefulness of natural system and Ayurveda based lifestyle.
Our eyes are the most important sense organs among five gyanedriyas. Chemicals, glittering light and constant use of computer and television in present time, affect the eyes very much. More and more children below 10 years of age are requiring spectacles. The number of school and college going students and youth wearing the spectacles in increasing. Under such circumstances, it is every important to propagate the information on etiology, symptomatology of eye diseases, measures to prevent them and various treatment procedures to treat them that are mentioned in Ayurveda texts like Sushruta Samhita and others. The knowledge of drugs for eye diseases as mentioned in Ayurveda is very useful for common people.
Ayurvedic drugs like Amalaki, Bhringaraj, Chakshushya, Kumari, Mulaithi, Haridra, Punarnava, Papita, Gajar (carrot) Ghrit, Lauha and Triphala churna, Mahatriphala Ghrita, Saptamrit Lauha etc. are very useful in eye diseases.
Special therapeutic procedures like – Aschyotan, Putapak, Vidhalaka, Tarpana, Shirovirechana, Parishek, Anjan, Pindi (Poultice) etc. are used very successfully in some Ayurvedic hospitals of southern part of India, particularly in Kerala and Karnataka. Yogic practices like Kunjal and Tratak are also found to be very useful in eye diseases.
In the present book, various methods of Ayurvedic treatment for eye diseases are presented in an easy way. The efforts put in by the author Dr. Kartar Sing Dhiman and the editor Dr. V.V. Prasad, Director, RAV are commendable.
I hope that this book will be useful to present Ayurvedic treatment before students, practitioners and patients suffering from eye diseases.
Ayurveda is the foremost system of health care ever evolved on this earth for the welfare of humankind. Ayurveda not deals with the ailing but is a system of healthy life. All eight specialties of Ayurveda viz. Shalya Tantra, Shalakya Tantra, Kaya Chikitsa, Kaumarbhritya, Rasayana Tantra, Vajikarana, Bhutavidya & Agada Tantra, develop to their heights ever since their evolution. Among these eight disciplines/specialties, Shalakya Tantra deals with the diseases of supra-clavicular region i.e. Eye, ENT, Dental science and Head in respect of their prevention, diagnosis and medical & surgical treatment. Ophthalmology, has been described in detail in comparison to others. The first 26 chapters of Sushruta Samhita Uttara Tantra deal with the detailed description of the subject of Shalakya Tantra. These are the descriptions made by Rajarshi Nimi, the king of Videha, who is considered the father of this specialty. Of these, the first 19 chapters are exclusively on ophthalmology, signifying the importance of this sub-specialty.
Shalakya specialists were called Shalaki or Netra Visharad and since then these experts are imparting their specialized services to the masses.
Ancient Ayurvedic scholar Acharya Vagbhata (6th cent. AD) in his text Ashtanga Sangraha quotes that “glasses improve vision”. The available knowledge of ophthalmology in Ayurveda is significant because it has been widely accepted that Acharya Sushruta was the foremost surgeon to perform cataract surgery. The surgical procedures of Arma (Pterygium) and Pakshmakopa (trichiasis/entropion) described by Sushruta are practiced as such or with minor modification even today.
The knowledge about the treatment modalities of Shalakya is in vogue in the society, which is clear from this folklore phrase i.e.
To avoid eye, mouth, ear and nose diseases one should regularly apply collyrium and clean the teeth and avoid ear picking with stick and fingering of the nose.
Presently under the guidelines/patronage of Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM), many university/institutes of Ayurveda are conducting three-year postgraduate degree courses (MS) in Shalakya Tantra under which Eye, ENT and Dental specialists are being trained. These specialists during their PG courses are given sufficient knowledge of relevant modern medical sciences along with intense training.
In the light of above facts, it will not be an exaggeration to say that such trained Ayurvedic ophthalmologists can contribute positively and effectively in the WHO-run National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB). These specialists can take up preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic aspects. Diagnosing an eye problem well in time, providing immediate management/treatment ad referring to proper centres can be a great contribution in preventing blindness.
In ocular diseases- conditions of degenerative, allergic and autoimmune origin where modern medical science is in search of solutions, Ayurveda can contribute positively. The importance of phytosterols and bioflavins, present in Ayurvedic herbs and compounds, has been well recognized and accepted today.
This book is aimed at providing the students and physicians of Ayurveda as well as masses the information regarding diet and regimens considered beneficial or hazardous to the eye as well as the common eye diseases and their Ayurvedic treatment. From prognostic point of view every disease has been explained and immediate referral as per gravity to the disease has been indicated, where it is necessary. This book will certainly contribute to Blindness Control Programme. Shortcomings may be there in this work and positive suggestions are welcome.
The primary eye care guidelines published under NPCB by Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Govt. of Indian in 1987 inspired me for this work and its references were of utmost importance for compilation of this book. The photographs have been taken from the above said publication with permission from DGHS.
Food is perceptionless without teeth and this beautiful world is meaningless without vision. This phrase signifies the importance of eyes as a sense organ. A blind person is deprived of his fundamental right to see. Since long, mankind has remained vigilant about the ocular health so that their visual functions go uninterrupted throughout life. Appropriate remedial measures are given in literature to manage the ocular aliments wherein vision is at risk. Vedic literature contains the description of anatomy, physiology and the diseases of the eye with their treatment. Ancient seers elaborated this treasure of knowledge about health and disease from Vedas and presented the foremost complete health care system “Ayurveda” to the mankind.
One should try to preserve vision till the last breath because inspite of being wealthy, days and nights are same and life is material for a blind person.
Two eye bells (Netra) are the sources of one visual center, which complete the process of vision. Akshi, Nayan, Lochan are the synonyms of Netra. Measure taken to preserve the vision are described in this booklet in nutshell.
To understand concept of eye care, the subject can be made clear under following headings:
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