Cataract is a cloudy area in the lens or lens capsule of the
eye. Cataract formation can be viewed very similarly to hardening of the
arteries, which we all experience to some extent as we age. The human lens,
which becomes a cataract, is really a series of membranes, much like those
that line our blood vessels. A cataract blocks or distorts light entering
the eye. This causes problems with glare from lamps or sun. Vision gradually
becomes dull and fuzzy, even in daylight. Most of the time, cataracts occur
in both the eyes, but only one eye may be affected. If they form in both
eyes, one eye can be worse than the other, because each cataract develops at
a different rate. Cataracts account for 42 per cent of all vision losses,
making it the leading cause of blindness worldwide and it can be noted that
delaying the onset of cataracts by 10 years would eliminate the need for
one-half of all cataract surgeries. Although the cataract surgery is
relatively quick, safe, easy and painless, it does not result in completely
normal vision. Clearly, preventing cataracts, if possible, would be
preferable. Timira is the ayurvedic term indicative of various kinds of
disturbances of vision. There are various types of timira according to the
involvement of various patalas (layers) and vitiation of doshas. If proper
care is not taken in this stage, it leads to cataract or linganaasha.
According to Ayurveda, aggravated vaata is responsible for this condition.
One of the properties of vaata is to make things dry up. When the
unctuousness and softness of the lens and its capsule are lost, it becomes
opaque thereby forming cataract.
- Senile cataracts are the most common form. These
cataracts result from ageing. This is probably due to changes in the
chemical state of lens proteins. Although the chances of developing
cataracts clearly increase with age, it can be easily stopped.
- Traumatic cataracts develop after a foreign body enters
the lens capsule with enough force to cause specific damage. Some types of
eye surgery probably increase cataract risk for similar reason. Laser
surgery for narrow angle treatment, known as peripheral iridotomy, and
glaucoma surgery, known as trabeculectomy may increase risk of cataract
formation. Welders and glass blowers are exposed to high levels to infrared
light at close range. Failure to wear adequate eye protection can cause the
lining of the lens to peel back and result in cataract formation.
- Complicated cataracts occur secondary to other diseases
(e.g. diabetes mellitus) or other eye disorders (e.g. detached retinas,
glaucoma etc.). Inflammation within the eye probably increases cataract
risk. Ionizing radiation or infrared rays can also lead to this type of
cataract. In addition, a baby can be born with cataract in one or both eyes
if its mother had German measles (rubella) when she was pregnant.
- Toxic cataracts can result from medicinal or chemical
toxicity. Steroid medications, such as prednisone, cortisone—either as pills
or eye drops definitely increase cataract risk if taken for prolonged
periods. This is especially common in association with chronic respiratory
condition such as emphysema or asthma, where prolonged steroid use is often
necessary for life. Smokers have an increased risk for developing cataracts.
ź Painless and gradual blurring of vision ź Glare and
light sensitivity that can cause problems when driving ź Frequent eyeglass
prescription changes ź Double vision in one eye ź Halos which may appear
around lights ź The need for brighter light to read ź Poor night vision ź
The appearance of fading or yellowing of colours ź Pupils which are normally
black appearing milky white.
|Accumulation of free radicals in the lens of the eye may
lead to oxidative damage of lens proteins, which can result in the proteins
to clump together and form large aggregates that scatter light instead of
allowing it to pass through. Exposure to sunlight and to oxidants such as
cigarette smoke will contribute to free radical formation. Vitamin C, an
important antioxidant normally present in high concentrations in the lens,
may reduce the risk of cataract because it protects lens proteins against
oxidative damage. Eat a lot of food high in vitamin C, which is thought to
help prevent or delay cataracts. Carrots, oranges, and amla are examples of
such foods. |
|Avoid rancid foods and all other sources of free radicals.
Use lot of turmeric. Eat foodstuffs high in sulphur; foodstuffs containing
amino acids (more grains and legumes) and reduce intake of animal fats.
Researchers have found that foodstuffs high in vitamin E (vegetable oils,
nuts and seeds) will reduce risk of cataracts. |
|Limit exposing your eyes to X-rays, microwaves, and
infrared radiation. When indoors, make sure your lighting is not too bright
or pointed directly at you. Use soft, white light bulbs instead of clear
ones, and arrange to have light reflect off walls and ceilings. Avoid
over-exposure to sunlight. Use sunglasses that block ultraviolet rays. Wear
a wide brimmed hat to keep direct sunlight from your eyes. Wear glasses or
goggles that protect your eyes whenever you use strong chemicals, power
tools, or other instruments that could result in eye injury. |
|Mahaa triphalaa ghrita is usually prescribed internally in
this condition. The main ingredients of this medicine are triphala and cow
ghee. Triphala provides nourishment and strengthens the nerves and other
tissues of the eyeball whereas ghee is known to balance the aggravated vaata.
Moreover, amla is one of the ingredients in triphala that contains lots of
vitamin C. This medicine acts very well in the initial stages of cataract.
|Take a tablespoonful Triphala choorna and add to a tumbler
of water in the evening. Cover and keep aside for 12 hours. In the morning,
strain it through a piece of clean cloth. Use this filtrate for both washing
the eyes and taking internally. |
|The internal usage of the powders of triphalas, turmeric
and yashtimadhu (mulathi), three to six grams in combined form along with
honey or ghee, helps a lot to slow down the cataract formation. Chandrodaya
varti is the external preparation used in cataract. Over a clean stone, it
is rubbed with sterile water and the paste is applied in the form of
collyrium. As it has a mild irritating nature, it causes lacrimation in the
eyes and promotes blood circulation. This preparation also provides
nourishment to the tissues of the eye. |
|Alternately, take one litre juice of amla, thicken it, and
add 50 grams ghee and 50 grams honey. Apply it externally.|
As we all are genetically different with
different constitutions and patterns, we respond to treatments in many
different ways. Hence Standard Ayurvedic Treatments are always individually
formulated. This article is intended only for information. It is not a
substitute to the standard medical diagnosis, personalized Ayurvedic
treatment or qualified Ayurvedic physician. For specific treatment, always
consult with a qualified Ayurvedic physician.
Dr. Ch. Murali
Manohar, M.D. (Ayurveda)
Directorate of Women Development,
Main Road (Sarathi Studio Road),
Hyderabad - 500073.,
+91 (040) 23742146; Mobile: 09246575510
a.m. to 1.30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.
a.m. to 1.30 p.m.