Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a medical condition usually of older adults that results in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field because of damage to the retina. It occurs in “dry” and “wet” forms. It is a major cause of visual impairment in the elderly (>50 years) Age-related macular degeneration begins with characteristic yellow deposits called drusen in the macula between the retinal pigment epithelium and the underlying choroid. Most people with these early changes have good vision. People with drusen can go on to develop advanced AMD. The risk is considerably higher when the drusen are large and numerous and associated with disturbance in the pigmented cell layer under the macula. Atrophy of the retinal pigment epithelial layer causes vision loss through loss of photoreceptors (rods and cones) in the central part of the eye.

Neovascular or exudative AMD, the “wet” form of advanced AMD, causes vision loss due to abnormal blood vessel growth called choroidal neovascularization in the choriocapillaris, through Bruchs membrane, ultimately leading to blood and protein leakage below the macula. Bleeding, leaking, and scarring from these blood vessels eventually causes irreversible damage to the photoreceptors and rapid vision loss if left untreated.

Symptoms of Macular Degeneration:

  • Blurred vision: Those with nonexudative macular degeneration may be asymptomatic or notice a gradual loss of central vision, whereas those with exudative macular degeneration often notice a rapid onset of vision loss.
  • Central scotomas (shadows or missing areas of vision) are noticed by many patients.
  • Distorted vision (i.e. metamorphopsia) – A grid of straight lines appears wavy and parts of the grid may appear blank.
  • Color confusions; specifically dark ones from dark ones and light ones from light ones.
  • Slow recovery of visual function after exposure to bright light

Treatment of Macular Degeneration:

M.D. according to Ayurveda is caused by vitiation of vata & pitta doshas. All dry types are purely vata type and wet type has pitta dosha along with vata. So, the Ayurvedic treatment of Macular Degeneration also varies according to the stage whether dry or wet type. Ayurvedic treatment can nicely control the progressive degeneration in majority of cases so that present vision status can be stabilized. Rejuvenating Ayurvedic medicines give strength to retina and some improvement in vision can also be expected.

In wet type Macular Degeneration, it is very imp to start the treatment immediately otherwise the persistent edema will make irreversible damage in retina and it will not be able to reverse the vision in those cases. The major treatment procedures done for the treatment of Macular Degeneration are as follows

  • Virechana
  • Nethradhara
  • Lepa over eyes
  • Tharpana (in dry types)
  • Thalam
  • Thakradhara in wet type M.D.
  • Oil Shirodhara in dry type M.D.

Ayurvedic treatment for Retinitis Pigmentosa include a host of treatments, the right combination and frequency of which is decided upon a personal consultation, assessment and diagnosis of the affected. As with all ayurvedic treatments, it differs from person to person. Common forms of Ayurvedic treatment for Retinitis Pigmentosa include Snehapana ( intake of high quantity of medicated ghee in increasing order of quantity gradually) with Jeevanthyadi grutha , Mahathriphala ghrutha, Patoladi grutha, Nasya with Ksheerabala thaila , Madhookadi thaila, Ksheerabala 101 Avarthi etc along with Moordhithaila with Ksheerabala thailam , Anjana with Choornithanjanam, Usheeranjanam and Snehana putapaka. Thalam ( retention of medicated paste or oil right on the vertex ), Sirodhara (where herbal oil, medicated milk, medicated butter milk etc, are poured on the forehead in a specified manner), Thalapothichil (the application of herbal paste on the scalp of a patient) are other treatment procedures which are usually done for for RP patient according their condition of illness. With all these procedures it is possible to arrest the degeneration process. The active ingredients of the medicines provide nourishment to retina thus restoring the vision.

It is seen in majority of cases that with this course of Ayurvedic eye treatment for Retinitis Pigmentosa (R.P.), present vision status is maintained and also improved in some of the cases. Patients feel more clarity in vision.

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