Nethrachikitsa is derived from two Sanskrit words 'netra' means 'eyes' and 'chikitsa' means 'treatment'. Thus, Nethrachikitsa is the science that deals with the treatment of eyes. Nethrachikitsa is a branch of Salakyatanthra in ayurveda, which deals with the treatment of entire area of head and neck. In English Nethrachikitsa is termed as Ophthalmology. Eyes have been given due importance as an indriya or organ in ayurveda from the ancient times. The traces of nethrachikitsa can be found in the ancient texts of ayurveda. It is told that earlier, in Kerala, there was an existence of systematic way of eye treatment, which included different types of therapeutic formulations and practices. Among all the branches of salakyatanthra, nethrachikista or ophthalmology is the most important and popular branch. In this field, total 76 eye diseases have been described with classification such as Vartma gata roga i.e. diseases of the lids, Krishnagata roga (Diseases of cornea) etc.
Nethrachikitsa in ayurveda has highly effective and efficient treatment methods for several eye problems. In ayurveda, the treatment of eye diseases is done not only by internal medications but also through several traditional applications like Anjanam and Aschyothanam. It also includes methods like nasyam (part of Panchakarma), nethratharpanam and putapakam. Nethrachikitsa advocates the application of several eye exercises and yoga in order to keep the eyes healthy.
Nethra Chikitsa (Ophthalmology), a specialty area in Indian Ayurveda, has to date very few practitioners and experts compared to other areas. Aayushi Healthcare is a well known centre for treating various disorders of eyes.