Shalakya Tantra is a specialized branch in Ayurveda in which the diagnosis and treatment methods for eye diseases has been explained. There are many powerful therapies explained in Ayurveda for the treatment of eye diseases. All the procedures are aimed to detoxify the body as a whole as well as the eye in specific and to rejuvenate the retina and optic nerves. The procedures like Anjana, Nethradhara, Shirodhara, Shirovasti, Virechan, and Tharpanam etc. helps to correct the vitiated metabolism of the eye tissue and to strengthen the retinal cells and optic nerves. The disease in the eye is caused due to the vitiation of the doshas and hence the treatment also aims to correct their normal levels in the body. Ayurvedic Opthamology aims to correct the metabolic functions and to rejuvenate the retinal cells and optic nerves.
- Nethradhara – Herbal decoction after filtration is poured in the eyes from a certain height to wash the eyes for a period of about 15 min. This procedure cleanses the channels (Srotas) of the eye and does the aam pachana (detoxification at the cellular level) reducing the physical symptoms.
- Tharpanam – This is a powerful therapy for the rejuvenation of the eyes. The paste of gram is put around the eyes in such a way that it gives the appearance of a dam. The medicines which is generally a medicated ghee is then poured in the eyes for a specific time prescribed for the specific disease condition. The active ingredients of the ghee medicine get absorbed through the vascular supply of the eye and start the regeneration process of retina, eye muscles, and optic nerves and the vision is restored.
- Shirodhara – The Patient lies down on the dhara table in the straight sleeping position. Medicine is then poured on the forehead continuously for a period of 45 The medicine options can be herbal decoctions, buttermilk, milk, medicated oils. This selection again depends on the disease condition. The procedure is highly powerful and is used for the strengthening of the nervous system as a whole by increasing the blood flow in the eyes. It can also be used in many of the degenerative conditions of the brain. It is good to induce sleep and reduce stress levels by providing deep relaxation.
- Shirovasti – Shirovasti is a procedure having the same indications as that of Shirodhara. In this process, the medicine is kept inside a leather bag which is tightly fitted on the forehead of the patient. The temperature of the medicine which is generally a medicated oil is also maintained at an optimum level.
- Nasya – Medicated oils or the herbal decoctions are poured inside the nostrils empty stomach in the morning. Nostrils are the door to the brain and the medicine which is directly poured inside the eyes can reach the deeper tissues of the brain very easily. This is used in the multiple diseases of the brain and the eye.
- Virechana – This is medically controlled purgation which is very powerful to eliminate the doshas out of the body. This dissipates the excessive heat of the body by generally 10-30 loose motions as per the requirement of the level of the toxicity in the body. This is good for eye diseases also as eye is the site of pitta. This strictly has to be monitored by an ayurveda expert.
- Anjana and Aschotanam are the procedures by which medicine is applied inside the eyes.