All about Astigmatism Ayurveda
Astigmatism is an eye disorder that affects the spherical curvature of your eye. It is a condition in which your eye isn’t completely round. The lens of the eye, which is behind the cornea and aqueous chamber, will have an irregular curve, which results in distorted images.
Astigmatism affects the way light passes or refracts into your retina. It will cause a blurry or distorted vision.
Astigmatism, nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hypermetropia) are all refractive errors. They affect how your eyes bend the light that enters it. It is common to have these three conditions together.
What causes astigmatism?
There are two main structures in your eye that help you see things clearly. These structures have curved surfaces that bend (refract) light into the retina, which forms images. They are
- The cornea - This is the clear front surface of your eye.
- The lens - This is a clear structure inside your eye that will change shapes to focus on nearer objects.
In perfectly shaped eyes, both of these have a smooth curvature that will refract incoming light to make a clear and well-focused image.
Astigmatism is a type of refractive error. It occurs when your cornea or lens is curved more steeply in one direction. It would result in blurred and distorted vision. There are two main types of astigmatism. These are:
- Corneal astigmatism - which is when your cornea has mismatched curves
- Lenticular astigmatism - in this, your lens has mismatched curves.
Astigmatism usually occurs with two other conditions:
- Nearsightedness (myopia) - It occurs when your cornea has a big curve. So, light is focused in front of your retina instead of on your retina. It causes distant objects to look blurry.
- Farsightedness (hypermetropia)- It happens when your cornea has only a minimal curve. Because of this, light can never come to focus on the back of your eye. It makes nearby objects appear blurry.
What are the risk factors of astigmatism?
Your risk will increase if you have any of the following:
- Scarring or thinning of your cornea
- A family history of eye disorders
- Excessive nearsightedness or farsightedness
- A history of eye surgery
What are the symptoms of astigmatism?
The symptoms vary for each person. The common ones include:
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Eye irritation
- Blurred, fuzzy or distorted vision
- Eyestrain or discomfort
How do you diagnose astigmatism?
Your doctor will do a complete eye exam as a part of the diagnosis. It would involve a couple of tests that will check your eye health and refraction, which will determine how your eyes bend light. There are three main tests that your doctor will use to diagnose your condition. These include:
Keratometry - This is a way for your doctor to measure the curvature of your cornea.
Visual acuity assessment test - During this test, your doctor will ask you to read letters from a chart from a certain distance. It can tell how well you can see the letters from different lengths.
Refraction test - This test uses a machine called an optic refractor. This machine has different collective glass lenses that have different strengths. You will have to read a chart while you look through multiple lenses with different strengths. It will help the doctors find a lens that corrects your vision.
Ayurvedic treatment for astigmatism
Ayurveda, the old medical system in India, has a long history of more than 5000 years. It has a branch, shalakya tantra, which deals with eye diseases. There are about 72 eye diseases mentioned in it with treatments for them.
As per Ayurveda, there are three doshas in all of us. They are
- Vata dosha that controls all circulation in the body
- Pitta dosha governing the metabolism and digestion
- Kapha dosha providing lubrication and structure to our body
When these doshas are not in balance, we will have health issues.
Astigmatism is a Vata disorder. Air pollution, dust, looking at television, computer or mobile phone screens, etc. can cause disturb Vata and Pitta doshas within us. It can block the channels causing issues with sight.
The treatment aims at correcting this disorder and preventing further issues.
Ayurvedic treatment for astigmatism
The Ayurvedic treatment for astigmatism aims at
- Removing the blockages in the channels (specifically in the eye)
- Nourishing the tissues in the eyes
- Strengthen your eye muscles
Some of the treatment methods for astigmatism are
- Virechana - It is a cleansing method to clear out toxins through the lower channels
- Nasya - In this, you will have medicines administered through the nose. It clears any blocks in your nasal channels
- Netra Anjana - It is the application of herbs mixed with oil and ghee in the inner surface of your eyelids
- Netradhara - pouring of herbal oil and ghee on to your eyes and keeping it there for around 30 minutes
- Netra Tarpana - pouring of medicated ghee on to a ring of flours kept over the eye
All of these methods may not be applicable in your case. Your doctor will need to see you in person and examine before deciding on your treatment plan. You will have to stay in the hospital for treatment. In normal situations, you will need to be there for 14-21 days.
Changes after Ayurvedic treatment
You will have to make some changes to your diet and lifestyle to maintain the benefits of the treatment. Your diet is an important factor and should include foods that are rich in antioxidants. You can have
- Vegetables like spinach, carrots, tomatoes
- Fruits like berries, plums, grapes, mangoes
- Fish like sardines, tuna, and cod
You should avoid fried foods, sugar, and alcohol for best results. Some lifestyle changes like limiting the time watching TV, avoiding bright lights can also be of great help.
Other treatments for astigmatism
The main goal of treatment is to improve your visual clarity and eye comfort.
Corrective lenses will counteract the uneven curvatures of your cornea and lens. There are different types of lenses. These include:
Contact lenses - These are available in a variety of types and styles, which help correct astigmatism. Wearing contact lenses for a long time can increase your risk of having an infection.
Eyeglasses - Eyeglasses are lenses that help compensate for the uneven shape of your eye. They will help bend the light into your eye properly. It can also correct other refractive errors.
Refractive surgery - This surgery can improve your vision, and it will reduce the need for corrective lenses. Your eye surgeon will use a laser beam to reshape the cornea curves, which will correct the refractive error. There are different types of refractive surgery. These include LASIK, PRK, and SMILE surgeries.
Your ophthalmologist is the person who can suggest the appropriate solution