Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that implies damage to the retina caused by complications of diabetes that can eventually lead to blindness.Some patients with long history of uncontrolled diabetes may suffer from diabetic retinopathy sooner or later. In this condition the blood vessels around the retina of the eye will get damaged due to the high sugar levels in the body leading to difficulty in vision and in worst cases loss of eye sight permanently. Almost 90% of the diabetic retinopathy cases can be avoided if a diabetic patient is able to detect it and start treatment in the early stages of the condition itself. The longer a person has unmanaged diabetes, the higher his or her chances of developing diabetic retinopathy.
There are two stages of retinopathy –
1. Non Proliferative retinopathy – In this type, the blood vessels in the eye become larger in certain spots (called micro aneurysms). Chances are there that the blood vessels may also get blocked. There also may be small amounts of bleeding (retinal haemorrhages), and fluid may leak into the retina. This can lead to noticeable problems with your vision.
2. Proliferative retinopathy – This condition is more advanced and severe. New blood vessels that are fragile will start to grow in the eyes. Being delicate, there are chances that the blood vessels can bleed (haemorrhage). Small scars would develop, both on the retina and in other parts of the eye eventually leading to a vision loss and other severe problems.
Factors that cause Diabetic Retinopathy according to Ayurveda
Diabetic retinopathy is caused due to prolonged high blood glucose levels. Over time, this causes damage to the small blood vessels within the retina which may then lead to haemorrhages, exudates and even swelling of the retina; this then starves the retina of oxygen, and may trigger the growth of abnormal vessels. Also, there are other below cited factors that act as a base to the condition –
1. Hereditary factor
2. Body constitution – Dosha Prakrithi
3. Stress and strain
4. Dietary and other habitual factors

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy
1. Blurred vision and gradual vision loss
2. Floaters or spots in your vision
3. Partial, total loss of vision or a shadow across your field of vision
4. Pain, pressure, or constant redness of the eye
5. Difficulty seeing in the night time
6. Photophobia

Management of Diabetic Retinopathy through Ayurveda
By Proper Ayurvedic management and practices, we can prevent the onset of Diabetic Retinopathy in diabetic patients. Controlling Diabetes is the first line of treatment in Diabetic Retinopathy.
Initially, detoxification of the body is recommended so as to clear the channels and stop the perfusion. Along with this steps should be taken to control the level of diabetes. After this, appropriate treatments for preventing/stopping the congestion or haemorrhage in retinal blood vessels and for the degeneration of the retinal nerves has to be done.

Ayurvedic treatments such as Thalam, Thalapothichil, Putapakam, Anjanam, Thakradhara, Nethradhara are generally advised by the Ayurvedic doctor depending upon the condition of the patient. Also, Panchakarma Ayurvedic therapies play a vital role in the treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy. The main aim of the treatment is to clear the passage of blood vessels in the most macro levels and improve the blood circulation on the Retina.
According to Ayurveda, channelling the treatments in a systematic way can control diabetic retinopathy to a great extent and can lead to incredible improvement in the vision.
Ayurveda also recommends, regular check-up of the eyes – Every person suffering from diabetes must get his or her eyes examined through an eye specialist at least once in a year even if he doesn’t have any symptoms.

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