Astigmatism: Can be compared with “Timira” in Ayurveda

Eyes are one of the sensory organs (jñānendriya).  The optic centre (Sookshma indriya) is in the occipital lobe of the cerebrum.  Its main function is vision, and Alochak Pitta is responsible for it.

Tmira is one among the Drishtigata Rogas (Vision related disorders) mentioned in Samhitas. Netra Rogas are classified based on the place of its origin, its treatment, and its stage.

The word “Timira” is derived from the root ‘Tim’. ‘Tim’ means increase of dampness in the eye. According to Amarakosha, Timira means –Darkness.

Timira is a disease that can be attributed to a wide range of clinical conditions starting from mild blurring of vision and having potential risk of permanent vision loss. 

Ayurveda specifically mentions that eyes are a Tejas (fire) predominant organ.  Pitta has Tikshna and Ushna (sharp, hot, and irritating) properties.  Air pollution, dust, fumes, as well as looking at bright objects such as television, computer or mobile phone screens can aggravate Pitta and Vata, thus creating or worsening eye pathology, e.g. Astigmatism.

Modern aspect of Astigmatism (Timira)

Astigmatism is a type of refractive error wherein the refraction varies in the different meridia. Consequently, the rays of light entering the eye cannot converge to a point focus but form focal lines. 

Broadly, there are two types of Astigmatism:

  1. Regular           2. Irregular
  1. Regular: The Astigmatism is regular when the refractive power changes uniformly from one meridian to another.

Symptoms include

  • Defective vision
  • Blurring of Objects
  • Objects may appear proportionately elongated
  • Dull ache in the eye
  • Headache
  • Early tiredness of the eye
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Irregular Astigmatism: It is characterized by an irregular change of refractive power in different meridia. There are multiple meridia which admit no geometrical analysis.

          Symptoms include:

  • Defective vision
  • Distortion of objects
  • Polyopia

Nidana : Etiological Factors (Ayurveda)

Acharyas have mentioned the causes of disease in general which can be considered even for Netra Rogas like:

  • Overuse of eyes
  • Under Usage of eyes
  • Exposing eyes to unnecessary environment
  • Excessive intake of hot, spicy food items
  • Looking at the minute objects
  • Sleeping with your head too low or too high.

Signs and Symptoms in the eyes: Ayurveda

  • Lacrimation
  • Itching
  • Stickiness
  • Heaviness
  • Burning sensation
  • Pricking pain
  • Redness
  • Impairment in vision or function of the eyes

1st stage symptoms: 

  • Haziness of vision
  • Visualisation of false images such as hairs, webs, circles, etc
  • Visualisation of false movements like rain, cloud and darkness

2nd stage symptoms:

  • Distant objects appear to be nearer and nearer objects appear to be far away.
  • Various symptoms like diplopia, polyopia

3rd stage symptoms:

  • Coloured vision

4th Stage:

  • Complete obstruction of vision

Management of Timira: Ayurveda

In nutshell, the management consists of eliminating etiological factors and treatment of Vata Dosha.

Pathya (Beneficial): –

  • Intake of Ghee
  • Intake of Shatavari
  • Green Gram
  • Bitter gourd
  • Triphala
  • Amla

Apthya (Harmful): –

  • Anger
  • Excessive weeping
  • Suppression of natural urges(stools/urine)
  • Concentration on minute objects
  • Excessive exposure to the Sun
  • Eating late in the night
  • Intake of sour, salty, spicy, heavy food.

Management Includes: – Kriya kalpas

Kriya kalpas include adopting therapeutic procedures like Tarpana, Putapaka, Seka, etc.

  • Abhyangam: Oil application
  • Purgation 
  • Nasal Medication: Introducing medicines through nostrils.
  • Application of medicated Collyrium: Medicated eye Kohil
  • Basti: Enema
  • Tarpana : nourishing the eyes with medicated Ghee.
  • Putapaka: Putapaka is a procedure in which Putapaka Rasa is used in the same mode of application as that of Tarpana.
  • Seka: Is the procedure of pouring the liquid medicines over the eyes from a height of four angula.
  • Aschyotana: Instillation of medicines in the form of drops from a height of two angulas. 

Eye Exercises: It tones and strengthens up the eye muscles and regularises blood circulation.

  • Trataka (Candlelight concentration): This practice is useful to strengthen the eyes and improve the vision.
  • Eye Palming: It is done by covering the closed eyes with palms (fingers crossed upon the forehead) in such a way to avoid the pressure on the eyeball.