Age-Related Macular Degeneration, also known as ARMD or AMD, is a disease associated with ageing that gradually destroys sharp, central vision of the eyes. An age more than 60, smoking, obesity, female gender, and a family history, are risk factors for this condition. AMD can be either wet or dry. In wet AMD, abnormal blood vessels behind the retina start to grow under the macula. Bleeding in these blood vessels can cause rapid loss in vision. In dry AMD, the light sensitive cells in the macula break down slowly and cause a gradual loss in central vision. Medications, laser surgery, photodynamic therapy and injections are used to treat both dry and wet AMD.
The Ayurvedic treatment of AMD is aimed at preserving vision and preventing further damage to the eye. Medicines like Arogya-Vardhini, Punarnavadi-Guggulu, Maha-Manjishthadhi-Qadha, Saarivasav, Chandrakala-Ras, Saptamrut-Loh, Triphala-Ghrut, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu, Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) and Aswagandha (Withania somnifera) are used in this condition. The herbal combination called Triphala (Three fruits), which includes Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) and Behada (Terminalia bellerica), has considerable therapeutic value in AMD. Similarly, another herbal combination called Rasayan-Vati, which includes Gokshur (Tribulus terrestris), Amalaki and Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), is also very useful in this condition. Medicines which act on the ‘Rakta’ and ‘Majja’ dhatus (tissues) are very useful in this condition. These include medicines like Patol (Tricosanthe dioica), Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Patha ( Cissampelos pareira), Musta (Cyperus rotundus), Kutaj (Holarrhina antidysentrica), Guduchi and Amalaki.
Some Ayurvedic physicians recommend blood-letting from the areas surrounding the eyes, by using leeches. While this procedure has definite therapeutic value in the treatment of many different conditions, the clinical application of this procedure in AMD has not been scientifically studied.
Medicated eye drops can be used which contain Triphala, Rose water, Haridra (Curcuma longa), Daruharidra (Berberis aristata) and honey. Since the beneficial effect of these drops is not immediately apparent, these need to be used regularly for a long time.
Ayurvedic medicines can be safely given in combination with modern treatment for AMD. All such patients need to be under the regular care and supervision of an Ophthalmologist.
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