Macular degeneration, also called age-related macular dystrophy/degeneration (AMD), is an eye condition that causes vision loss. It affects the macula (area of the retina) and center of the field of vision. The macula is the central part of the retina responsible for eyesight, which we use when reading, writing, threading a needle, recognizing faces, etc.
Macular Degeneration Macular degeneration is of two types:
- Wet type:- Overgrowth of blood vessels in the central area of the retina (macula) that leak fluid and blood. It causes irreversible damage to the macular region and complete loss of vision.
- Atrophic (dry):- In this type, lipids (fatty proteins) accumulate under the retina and grow bigger, causing vision loss. About 90% of macular degeneration cases are atrophic.
Causes of Macular Degeneration
The exact cause of macular degeneration is unknown. The expert argues that the deficiency of certain nutrient minerals and vitamins can be a possible reason. For example, a lack of vitamins E and C, antioxidants, zinc, zeaxanthin, and lutein carotenoids can cause the disease. Experts also believe that cytomegalovirus infection, smoking, and a diet high in saturated fats are provoking factors.
Signs and Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration symptoms vary from person to person.
In some patients, the disease can develop gradually and sometimes rapidly, which leads to a significant deterioration in vision. Among the main symptoms of macular degeneration are:-
- Blurred vision
- Metamorphopsia (distortion of straight lines in which linear objects look curved)
- Difficulties in reading
- A small black dot in the eye (increasing in size over time).
Macular Degeneration Ayurvedic View
Shaalakya tantra is the branch of Ayurveda that deals with diseases related to the eye. Drishti dosha is the term used in Ayurveda for eye defects. According to Ayurveda, imbalance of Vata, Kapha, and Pitta dosha (combined or individually) causes age-related macular degeneration. Although macular degeneration is incurable, ayurvedic treatment provides fast and effective relief from the condition and helps control it symptomatically.
Macular Degeneration Ayurveda Treatment
Ayurveda treatment of macular degeneration is a risk-free regimen. It helps to produce glutathione and offers strong antioxidant support for the macula.
Popular ayurvedic therapies for macular degeneration are:-
- Netra Tarpanam:- is a special eye treatment using clarified ghee that cleans not only the eyes but also nearby tissues. It has a good effect on the vision and helps to relieve stress after working on the computer. It is useful in treating degenerative changes in the retina and pupils, strengthens the optic nerve, ciliary muscle, and improves vision.
- Shirodhara:- The procedure has a profound effect on both the patient’s physical body and gives psycho-emotional balance and a feeling of happiness. It is beneficial in treating eye conditions and treatment of headaches, insomnia, coronary artery disease, hypertension, arrhythmias, psychological and psychiatric diseases. It also improves brain function and blood circulation and is used in complex therapy after heart attacks and strokes.
- Lepanam:- is a procedure that uses a medicinal mixture, a paste, which the Ayurvedic doctor applies to the affected area or part of the patient’s body. The warm paste is gently and carefully applied to the specific body part to be treated, about a centimeter thick. For long-lasting effect, the paste is left for 40-45 minutes until it hardens completely. In general, you may need about 2-3 sessions, but an ayurvedic specialist can extend it to 5 sessions.
- Netradhara:- For this procedure, extracts of medicinal herbs are used, which have preventive and healing properties. During Netradhara, the patient lies on his side, and liquid herbal preparations are carefully poured over the eyes. This treatment method cleans the eyes and heals various eye-related conditions.
- Nasyam:- is one of the main panchakarma procedures, which involves cleansing the nose and sinuses with various herbal formulations. It fights a multitude of diseases and conditions. So the cleansing procedure combines face, shoulder, and neck massage with several herbal intakes and medicinal oils inside the nose.
- Takradhara:- is a traditional ayurvedic practice and used as an external remedy wherein buttermilk processed with medicinal herbs is poured on to the targeted part of the body. Takra means buttermilk, and Dhara means pouring in a stream.
Other Ayurvedic formulations:-
- Amalaki (Emblica Officinalis)
- Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
- Bhringaraj (Eclipta alba)
- Saptamrit lauh
- Amalaki Rasayana
- Triphala Ghrita
Ayurveda tips for eye health during Macular Degeneration
- Take breaks from work. If you have to strain your eyes a lot, be it working at a computer or while driving, take a break every hour or two to give your eyes a rest.
- Protective screen. Equip your monitor with a protective screen to block harmful radiation and eliminate glare.
- Change the focus of your eyes. If you are reading a lot, stop for a minute or two, and look at some distant object. Close the book every half hour and look at something across the room or outside the window. Giving your eyes a different job is helpful and helps prevent irritation.
- Rosewater. Add five drops of pure rose water to 25-30 ml of distilled or purified water, and rinse your eyes with this solution. Make sure that the water is not too hot or cold. Rinsing the eyes with this solution will quickly relieve any irritation.
- Rinse eyes with water. Rinsing your eyes with clean water can also help relieve irritation. As with washing your face, splash water on your face, opening your eyes for a moment to get some water into them. You can also use a special eyewash cup for this.
- Castor oil. Castor oil is a simple and very effective remedy for eye irritation. Put one drop of pure, preservative-free, real castor oil into your eyes before bed, and rub some castor oil into the soles of your feet (remember to wear old socks to keep the sheets from getting dirty).
- Rinsing with cold water:- In the early morning, when washing your face, fill your mouth with cold water and at the same time splash cold water into your open eyes. Traditionally, it is a belief that when you spray cold water into your eyes, you need to keep the water in your mouth. It gives a double cooling effect and will leave the eyes alert, refreshed, and clean.
- Another effective way to keep your eyes healthy is to do the Sun Salutation regularly. The 12 sets of Sun Salutation is the best exercise for strengthening the eyes and healing the whole body.
Diet for healthy eyes during Macular Degeneration
In addition to all exercise, your diet is also necessary for improving your health. Here are some diet tips you should follow to help your eyes:
- Consume dried fruits and nuts such as raisins, almonds, and figs to help relieve eyes.
- Soak overnight between six and ten almonds, fifteen raisins, and two figs in a little water. Eat them in the morning on an empty stomach. The high fiber and vitamins in these fruits help speed up the digestion process and help clear out toxins in the body, helping to resolve eye problems.
- Carrots and amla:- Another good home remedy for eye disorders is to drink one glass of carrots and amla juice in the morning. Amulets and carrots are rich in vitamin A and antioxidants.
- Honey-rich foods:- The advantages of honey as a trace mineral are countless, but one of its main benefits is that it has strong antibacterial properties.
- Foods rich in vitamin A: Include foods rich in vitamin A in your daily diet. For example, green leafy vegetables, carrots, oranges, amla, almonds, and figs.
Risk factors for macular degeneration
The most common risk factors include:-
- Age (people above 60)
- Family history of disease and genetics
- Race (common in Caucasians)
- Having a cardiovascular disease
Precautions for Macular Degeneration
The best options for preventing macular degeneration are:
- Regular eye check-up
- Eating fish or taking fish oil supplements
- Keeping cholesterol and blood pressure in check
- Wearing sunglasses outdoors:- Eye damage can occur from prolonged exposure to UV radiation.
- Healthy Eating:-Eating lots of dark, leafy green vegetables such as raw spinach will ensure that you have enough antioxidants and other benefits to stay healthy.