Ayurveda Nethrachikitsa or Opthalmology
Nethrachikitsa is derived from two Sanskrit words 'netra' means 'eyes' and 'chikitsa' means 'treatment'. Thus, Nethrachikitsa is the science that deals with the treatment of eyes. Nethrachikitsa is a branch of Salakyatanthra in ayurveda, which deals with the treatment of entire area of head and neck. In English Nethrachikitsa is termed as Ophthalmology. Eyes has been given due importance as an indriya or organ in ayurveda from the ancient times. The traces of netrachikitsa can be found in the ancient texts of ayurveda. It is told that earlier, in Kerela there was an existence of systematic way of eye treatment, which included different types of therapeutic formulations and practices. Among all the branches of salakyatanthra, nethrachikista or ophthalmology is the most important and popular branch. In this field total 76 eye diseases have been described with classification such as Vartma gata roga i.e. dieseases of the lids, Krishnagata roga (Diseases of cornea) etc.
Nethrachikitsa in ayurveda has highly effective and efficient treatment methods for several eye problems. In ayurveda, the treatment of eye diseases is done not only by internal medications but it applies several traditional applications like Anjanam and Aschyothanam. It also includes methods like nasyam (part of Panchakarma), nethratharpanam and putapakam. Nethrachikitsa advocates the application of several eye exercises and yoga in order to keep the eyes healthy.
Ayurvedic ophthalmology is capable of curing several common and chronic eye diseases if followed properly. Some of the major diseases which can be treated with the help of ayurveda are: Myopia (short-sight), Hypermetropia (long-sight), Astigmatism, inflammations and infections like Conjunctivitis, keratitis, uveitis, blepharitis, recurrent stye, scleritis etc., degenerative eye diseases like retinitis pigmentosa (RP), macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, optic atrophy, lazy eye (amblyopia), computer-related disorders like Dry Eye (computer vision syndrome), Glaucoma, allergic conditions like central serous retinopathy, spring catarrh, etc.
Thus, by applying several ayurvedic applications and medications, we cannot only treat several diseases but also prevent the occurrence of the disease. The potential of ayurveda can help us to see this beautiful world by our healthy eyes for a longer period of time.