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  • Dr A A Mundewadi

Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment for Ischemic Optic neuropathy (ION)

Ischemic optic neuropathy (ION) is a medical condition in which there is sudden vision loss, either complete or partial, due to a disrupted blood supply to the optic nerve. ION is of two types – anterior, which is more common and posterior, which is comparatively less common. Anterior ION relates to the disease which is confined to the retina and the immediate adjoining part of the optic nerve. Posterior ION relates to pathology which affects the distal part of the optic nerve, often away from the eyeball.


Anterior ION is of two types -- arteritis and non-arteritis. Arteritis AION relates to inflammation of arteries, more usually associated with giant cell arteritis (GCA). This condition is common in women, especially over 55. This condition is associated with generalised symptoms such as fever, fatigue, bodyache in addition to localized pain. There is usually a temporary blurring of vision before permanent vision loss occurs. Flourescein angiography is diagnostic of this condition. Steroids are used in this condition to protect the unaffected eye.


Non-arteritis AION is comparatively more common than the arteritis type and is seen in both sexes and at any age. This condition is usually caused due to sudden reduction in the blood pressure. Medical conditions with an increased risk of non-arteritis AION include diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, herpes zoster, anemia, sickle-cell disease, drastic changes in blood pressure, gastrointestinal ulcers, heart disease, vasculitis, and migraine. This condition is characterized by a sudden and painless vision loss in one eye, usually on waking up from sleep. The management of this condition includes treatment of the underlying cause; especially, aggressive treatment of cardiovascular disease.


Ayurvedic herbal treatment of ION depends upon the cause of the disease. If inflammation of arteries is the cause, herbal medicines which have strong anti-inflammatory properties are used in high doses in order to prevent loss of vision or salvage the maximum possible vision. Treatment is given to treat inflammation and blockage within the arteries and capillaries and to remove toxic components within the circulation so as to prevent or reduce damage to the retina and optic nerve.


Non-arteritis AION is usually treated according to the known cause of the disease as well as the accompanying symptoms. Treatment is usually given to treat inflammation, stabilise the nerve cells within the retina and optic nerve, improve circulation, and remove toxins and debris from the eyes.


For any type of ION, Ayurvedic herbal treatment is usually given for periods ranging from six to nine months in order to bring about the maximum possible remission in the symptoms and restore vision to the maximum extent possible. Ayurvedic herbal treatment thus has a significant role to play in the management and treatment of ischemic optic neuropathy.


Ischemic optic neuropathy, ION, arteritis AION, non-arteritis AION, giant cell arteritis, GCA

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