by Chand DH.
That fine part of our constitution, the eye, seems as much the receptacle and seat of our passions, appetites, and inclinations as the mind itself; at least it is the outward portal to introduce them to the house within, or rather the common thoroughfare to let our affections pass in and out. Love, anger, pride and avarice, all visibly move in those little orbs. Joseph Addison
The eye has been called "the mirror of the mind". This expression has more meaning to it than what the poet or the romantics may have meant. This is particularly so for the Homoeopath who by his philosophy takes an overall view of all diseases. As such, the condition or ailment of some part of the body that is nearer the surface and visibly and palpably deranged, is not taken as a local disease but as a general disease expressing itself at that place at a particular period of time. Therefore, to the Homoeopath "The eye is not an organ requiring "Local" therapeutics. It pertains to one whole: the organism, being irrigated by the same blood, bathed by the same lymph and innervated by the same nervous current.
Local diseases do not exist, but solely localised morbid, affections are to be found." Dr. Pierre Schmidt. This kind of approach was naturally not as much appreciated 200 years ago, when Homoeopathy started, as it is to day. Even so, with the increase in sophisticated technology in medicine and an increasing degree of specialisation, often times such an approach is still not sufficiently emphasized. To take some simple examples, the changes that occur in the eye leading to Ophthalmic complaints can have in the background general diseases such as Diabetes mellitus, Hypertension, Haematological Disorders, Tubercular manifestations, Syphilis and various others. Even the refractive errors can have in their background hereditary tendencies, general ill health and other factors. I begin with these ideas to make a base for the peculiar approach that homoeopathy adopts in therapeutics of Ophthalmic diseases, in fact, of diseases of any particular organ of the body.
To put across the subject more clearly, it is also necessary to very briefly enunciate and explain the cardinal features of homoeopathy.
(1) Similia principle : This finds its crude analogy in the desensitisation procedures used for allergies.
(2) Single remedy : The prescription of several medicines together or complex mixtures is not followed.
(3) Small dose 'sub-physiological dose' Medication is with minute quantities of the drug substance, prepared by a "dynamisation" or "potentisation".
(4) Individualisation : selection of the remedy is based not on the disease diagnosis alone, but on the total symptom picture of the patient elicited on a psychosomatic approach.
The range of eye conditions that are treated by Homoeopathy is so wide that I would be impossible to condense it in one paper and in the time available. Bearing it mind the practice of individualisation, i would also not be possible to pinpoint specific, single remedies for different pathological conditions I will try to highlight those conditions where either a specific remedy has been repeatedly found useful, or those when allopathic therapeutics does not have much to offer and you may profitably try these medicines in your work. Even though the scope offered by Homoeopathy is wide, being a drug based therapeutic system it excludes the very large number of surgical conditions. I may add here, that some of the so called surgical conditions are amendable to medical treatment by the Homoeopaths, and they may add some pre-operative and post operative medication from their field to augment the success of the operation when this is necessary.
Some of the conditions treated successfully by Homoeopathy are
Blocked Lacrymal Duct & Dacrocystitis The remedy most used for this is Silica. Obviously, success is possible only if it is either inflammation or a partial stricture. A congenital absence or an absolute organic closure would of course, need surgery.
Styes : Treating an odd stye is not noteworthy; it can even heal naturally. However, the tendency to recurrent styes is treated with much benefit. The most important remedies are Sulphur and Silica.
This has again responded remarkably to Homoepathic treatment. I could cite innumerable cases from my practice, and some of these cures have been witnessed by Eye Specialists who were being consulted at the same time. The most popular remedies are Staphsagria (Dephinium Staphisagria) and Thuja occidentalis
Thuja is particularly chosen where the patient has been 'over-vaccinated', which is or at least has been, quite common in our country.
Staphisagria is mostly for persons with a wild temper or a condition of suppressed anger. An example of suppressed anger is where a junior cannot answer back to his boss or a conventional daughter-in-law is in a similar predicament in her relationship with her parents-in-law. This also highlights the importance of a total individual approach (psychosomatic) as mentioned earlier.
For haemorrhages of varied aetiology, whether traumatic or pathological, the general remedy to help absorption of the extravasated blood is Arnica montana. This is almost specific, and especially when haemorrhage is the result of injury, it could certainly be the first choice. This would cover paraorbital bleeding (black eye) after trauma; sub conjunctival haemorrhages and also haemorrhages inside the eye. It is also one of the remedies for ecchymosis from coughing.
For retinal haemorrhage, after such first aid with Arnica there is likely to be a need for one of the other remedies’ to control further bleeding and prevent recurrences. Choice of this follow-up remedy would vary with the general constitution of the patient. Haemorrhage may of course be a sign of leukamia and other haematologlcal diseases in which case they have to be treated according to the cause. The most popular medicines, and with which I have had very definite success, are either snake venoms-specially of Lachesis a huge and extremely poisonous snake from the Amazon region in Brazil) and of the Rattle Snake Crotalus horridus and Phosphorus. 1 may mention here in passing that Homoeopaths have used snake venoms for more than 150 years. In fact the first experiment with a snake venom; was made by a Homoeopath with Lachesis as long ago as 1828. Subsequent work on snake venoms, with which we are familiar, brings out their haemorrhagic tendencies. Therefore even simply applying the Similia principle to these substances should bring out their utility.
Traumatic conditions of the Eye Homoeo¬pathy has a lot to offer here. The usefulness of Arnica in traumatic conditions has already been emphasized. Following are the other remedies particularly useful in this field.
Symphytum Officinale : This is most useful for pain in the eye after a blow from an obtuse body e.g. shuttle cock, tennis Ball, the elbow or hand of a baby that is being carried etc. Please try it and I am sure you will be surprised at its efficacy and the rapidity of results.
Staphisagria : This is for lacerated or incised, wounds of cornea.
Ledum Palustre : This is used for contused wounds and extravasation of blood in lids, conjunctiva, acueous or vitreous.
The utility of Cineraria Maritima Eye Drops is well known to many Ophthalmologists. I personally feel that it should be used only in the initial stages with a view to prevent or slow down the process, I am not very sure if it can actually clear the lens. When the Cataract is far advanced,I think it is pointless to treat it with drugs. In addition to these drops the Homoeopaths also use remedies internally. This needs selection from a fairly large list and depends on the rest of the history of the patient. The most popular remedies are from Calcium Group-Calcarea carbonica and Calceria fluorata. A case is reported in the British Homoeopathic Journal of a person 82 years of age having had bilateral cataract cleared by Silica. The Cataracts resulting from injuries the remedies are Conium maculatum or Arnica montana.
Some cases of Glaucoma respond well to Homoeopathic treatment. The remedies particularly useful are Spigelia anthelmia (specially if the trouble is in the left eye) and Phosphorus. Such cases have, of course, to be kept under close observation and those that do not respond quickly have to be handed over the surgeon.
Paralysis of muscles of the Eye Ball
The patient usually reports with diplopia when looking in a particular direction. The remedies most popular are Causticum and Gelsemium sempervivens. I have successfully treated a large number of cases of this condition.
The condition can again be met by the remedies mentioned above and in some patients by Curare. This as you know is the arrow poison used by South Americans in ancient times and has a paralysing affect.
Pterygium : This has disappeared time and again by the use of Calcarea picrata.
Effects of Watching Solar Eclipse This was very much in the news recently, and because of sustained publicity and advance information, most people remained indoors during the total solar eclipse, however, the Homoeopaths have a special remedy for this condition which is Hepar Sulph.
For conditions resulting from eye strain
(Pain and tiredness of the eye and headache)
The two most popular remedies are Ruta graveollns and Natrum mur. The latter, incidently is the common salt of daily use which has been converted into a powerful remedy by the genius of Hahnemann and his special pharmaceutical techniques of preparing infinitesimal doses.
From the usual stand point, this should be an irreversible change. Please do not ask what is the mechanism of the reversal, but I have seen considerable clinical improvement in a number of such patients. The remedies most used are Phosphorus and Tabacum. However, where the atrophy has occurred as a use of tobacco it is remedied by giving Arsenicum album :
One fairly large field of utility of homoeopathy is the management of Viral conditions, refer to conditions like viral conjunctivitis, of which we have had epidemics in the recent past, as also Herpes. I have treated success fully not only herpes on the eye lid but also herpes of the cornea.
An advantage of Homoeopathy will be a singular absence of side effects (Iatrogenesis). I remember the warning of an eye specialist of not very freely using Penicillin eye ointment because of the danger of allergy.
I have all along refrained from giving you more precise idea about the doses and repetition of these remedies. To use them judiciously some elementary knowledge of Homoeopathy is necessary.
It was Charles Caleb Cotton who said that:
"Men are born with two eyes, but only one tongue, in order that they should see twice as much as they say."
I will therefore conclude here with an appeal to this galaxy of Ophthalmologists to utilise the services of qualified Homoeopaths for cases of these and other types,especially when not within their therapeutic orbit.
Chand DH. Role of homoeopathy in ophthalmological conditions. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 1982 [cited 2010 Aug 28];30:245-8. Available from: http://www.ijo.in/text.asp?1982/30/4/245/29439