A Comparative Study and Review of Siddha Ophthalmology from the Classical Siddha Literature Agatthiar Nayana Vidhi-500
Issue: 2022 - Volume 5 [Issue 1]
J. Jeyavenkatesh *
Kokila Siddha Hospital and Research Centre, Thirumangalam, Madurai 625706, India.
Ashram Siddha Clinic, 9, Iyer Lane, Swarnapuri, Salem-636 004, India.
S. Roja Ramani
Government Primary Health Centre, Poovanthi, Sivagangai, India.
*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Ophthalmology has been practiced and been part of the ancient Tamil civilization since ages; this provides insights to the modern world about the treatment methods followed by Siddhars, the scientific Tamil physicians, who were way ahead compared to their western counterparts in studying the diseases affecting humanity.
The evolution of modern ophthalmology started only after 1851 with the invention of the Ophthalmoscope by Helmholtz. However, well-compiled literature evidences of eye diseases from Siddha palm-leaf manuscripts have been found since the 17th century. A few Tamil palm-leaf manuscripts belonging to the 4th, 7th and 12th centuries have also been found.
In Tamil language, “Kann” (the eye) is a word that evolved from the sensory action “Kaan” (to see). There are more than 50 words referring to the eye in ancient Tamil literatures. The total number of eye diseases clearly described in Siddha classical literatures is 96. Classical Siddha ophthalmology texts also mention a few sub classifications, thereby taking the overall number of diseases to 125. The Classical Siddha text Agathiar Nayana Vidhi describes 26 types of surgical instruments used to treat 96 types of eye diseases including procedures to perform cataract surgery. These instruments are employed to practice surgical procedures like pricking, cutting, peeling, draining and cauterizing. The present study enumerates the comparison of 96 eye diseases mentioned in Siddha texts with modern science.
Keywords: Tamil language, Tamil civilization, Siddhars, eye diseases, Siddha surgical instruments, Siddha medicine