Cataract is a common eye disease. When the lens of the eye loses its transparency, the vision is more or less completely blocked. A cataract refers to an area of the lens of a person's eye that has become whitish and opaque instead of remaining clear. The result is that the person cannot see clearly.
The crystalline lens, through which the light travels into the interior of the eye, is situated just behind the iris or colored portion of the eye. In cataract, this lens become opaque, hence seriously hampering the entrance of light into the eye. Blindness ensues when no light rays can permeate the opacity of the lens.
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Amalaki Rasayan: 2 capsules twice daily after meals with plain water.
The most common form of cataract is the senile cataract which begins at about the age of fifty in the eyes which may have been perfectly healthy. The disorder is also one of the offshoots of Diabetes. It may also be the result of any injury to the eye or its exposure to intense heat, as in the case of glass workers. Irradiation cataract can be caused by X-rays, radium or nuclear energy. The passage of electric current through the body may, in some cases, be followed by the development of what is known as electric cataract.
The first sign of cataract is blurred vision or sometimes appearance of floating specks in the vision. The patient finds it difficult to see things in focus. As the disease progresses, the patient may get double vision or spots, or both. Bright objects seem to be multiplied, especially bright lights at a distance in the dark. A moderate degree of short sightedness may come in, which is relieved for a time by spectacles.
At first, vision in twilight may be better than in full daylight since light is admitted round the more widely - dilated pupil in the dark. In the advanced stage, objects and persons may appear as mere blobs of light, and there is a grayish-white discoloration in the pupil.
Gradually increasing blindness is the most apparent symptom. In the early stages, the person may be less blind in the dusk than in bright light, because only the centre of the lens is affected, and a clear part round the edge permits the light to reach the inner eye.
There are three factors that contribute to the transparency of the lens. These are deterioration in the nutrition of the lens which diminishes the vitality and resistance of the delicate lens fibers; deposits of acids and salts between the lens fibers which have an irritating effect on the lens tissues and exert an increasing pressure on its delicate fibers, gradually destroying them; and disintegration of lens fibers which cloud the entire lens in the absence of appropriate measures.
As in the case of most diseases, toxins in the blood stream due to dietic errors and a faulty life style are the real cause of cataract. The toxic matter in the blood stream spreads throughout the body and affects the site that is much weaker. It strikes the lens if it has become weak through strain, excessive use of the eyes and local irritation.
The condition becomes worse with the passage of time and then a cataract starts developing. Other causes of cataracts are stress and strain; excessive intake of alcoholic drinks, sugar, slat; smoking; certain physical ailments such as gastro-intestinal or gall bladder disturbances, diabetes, vitamin deficiencies; fatty acid intolerance; ageing; radiation; side effects of drugs that has been prescribed for other diseases.
In the earlier stage, magnifying lenses and powerful spectacles are required to compensate the vision. When a cataract has obscured light transmission so greatly that it seriously impairs vision, the condition can be corrected by surgical removal of the lens. When this is done, the eye loses a large portion of its refractive power, which must be replaced by a powerful convex lens in front of the eye; or an artificial lens may be implanted inside the eye in place of the removed lens. On a whole, surgery is the only option to treat cataract. Cataract surgery is a simple procedure where the natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens, called an intra ocular lens.
However, it has been found that a lens implant doesn't mean obvious improvement in vision. Most of them have to continue wearing specs to correct either distance or near vision.
Cow's milk and its products are extremely useful for a person suffering from cataract. Vegetables like fenugreek, spinach, drumstick, lady's finger, and fruits like bananas, grapes, pomegranate, apples and oranges are recommended. Pungent, bitter and sour food stuff should be avoided.
The patient should avoid white bread, sugar, cream, refined cereals, rice, boiled potatoes, puddings, pies, strong tea or coffee, alcoholic beverages, condiments, pickles and sauces.
Eye exercises aimed at relaxing and strengthening of the eyes are also valuable in cataract. Fresh air and gentle outdoor exercise such as walking are other essentials. Exposure to heat and bright light should be avoided.
Excessive mental strain or emotional strain should be avoided.
Ayurveda attributes cataract to the aggravation of Vayu, which dries up the eyeball making it opaque. The useful herbs for cataract are Aniseed, fenugreek, garlic, Indian mallow, Indian sorrel, parsley.