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Diabetic Retinopathy- An Ayurvedic Management

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition of the eye that can cause loss of vision and blindness in people as a complication of diabetes. It affects blood vessels and leads to damage in the light-sensitive tissue of the retina. This condition can develop in anyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Poorly controlled diabetes is a risk factor for diabetic retinopathy. Mild cases may be treated with proper diabetes management.

Studies reveal that the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy is high, affecting almost one-third of adults over the age of 40 years with diabetes. With an age at diagnosis, less than 30 years the prevalence of retinopathy was 64 % whereas with an age at diagnosis greater than or equal to 30 years the prevalence of retinopathy was 57% in insulin-treated and 26 % in non-insulin-treated patients.


The small blood vessels that supply the retina with nutrients may get blocked as a result of high blood sugar levels. In response, the eye tries to develop new blood vessels. However, because of improper development, these blood vessels are prone to leakage.


The symptoms may not be evident in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy. As the condition progresses the following symptoms will develop

  • Spots or dark strings floating in vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Fluctuating vision
  • Dark or empty areas in the vision
  • Vision loss


  • Having diabetes for a long time
  • Poor control of blood sugar level
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Pregnancy
  • Tobacco


  • Regular eye check-ups once a year or 6 months
  • Control blood sugar levels or blood pressure levels
  • Early intervention for vision problems
  • Quitting smoking or tobacco use
  • Attention to vision changes


Ayurveda can provide effective treatments for diabetic retinopathy. Initially, stages of diabetic retinopathy should be identified. Based on the chronicity of diabetic retinopathy recommend. Internal medicines to control diabetes mellitus can be given.

External therapies

  • Nethradhara- medicinal wash for the eyes
  • Anjana- medicinal collyrium
  • Shirodhara- a steady flow of medicinal fluid over the forehead
  • Mukhalepana- facial pack
  • Nasya- nasal instillation
  • Jalookavacharana- leech therapy


  • Regular eye check-ups should be done.
  • Avoid taking Spicy food
  • Avoid direct exposure of heat. (direct sun, kitchen etc.)
  • Do not take bath in hot water