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Diseases of the Eyeball

eye, cornea, inflammation, light, sight, treatment and vessels

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DISEASES OF THE EYEBALL.

The cornea or transparent window of the eyeball is most liable to disease, to inflamma tion, &c. It is plain how serious such affections may be. For, if they involve the cornea to any extent, seeing is at once interfered with, and sight may be practically lost, because this part has lost its transparence, and cannot, there fore, be seen through, while every other part of the eye may be healthy. It is, therefore, necessary that people should be able to learn for themselves whenever this part is threatened, and how, in the event of surgical advice being unobtainable, they may avert the danger.

Inflammation of the Cornea (Keratitis) may affect only the surface of the part, and be a comparatively simple affection ; or it may involve the whole thickness of the cornea, and not pass off till it has rendered it untransparent and cloudy and whitish, with permanently lessened sight.

Its symptoms are chiefly extreme sensitive ness to light, pain, excessive production of tears, and sneezing when the eyes are opened. The person usually keeps the eye shut, because of the pain light produces. The eye is running with tears, which scald the lids and face. The pain shoots to the temple and eyebrows. Sneez ing whenever one attempts to open the eye is due to the action of the cold air on the irritable eye. So tightly does the person keep the eye shut that it is difficult to get a sight of the ball. If one succeeds in seeing it, a red circle of vessels may be noticed all round the margin of the cornea; and perhaps, by allowing the light to fall sideways on the cornea, one may be able to see that the surface is not so smooth as is natural but appears ruffled. The other symptoms are so characteristic that they are frequently sufficient to indicate the disease though the eye cannot readily be seen.

Treatment.--No lotion capable of irritating ought in such cases to be employed. Specially are washes of sugar of lead to be guarded against, since the lead tends to deposit in the inflamed cornea and leave scars that cannot afterwards be removed. Soothing applications only should be employed. Warm cloths applied to the eye are a great relief. A solution of atropine, 2 grains to the ounce of water, should be obtained, and a few drops dropped into the eye once a day. The eye should be closed and

a pad of lint secured by a bandage placed over it. A blister the size of a shilling ought to be placed on the temple, where it is left for twenty four hours, then removed, and the part covered with a piece of lint anointed with oil or fresh butter. The bowels of the person should be kept regular, and good food ordered. Change of air is beneficiaL With such treatment re covery should occur in a week or two. It may be mentioned that an inflammation like this may be maintained by the irritation of bad teeth. The teeth should, therefore, be exa mined and bad sttunpa extracted.

in the severer form of the attack the central part of the cornea is seen to be roughened and cloudy, and the cloudiness spreads over the whole transparent surface, giving it a ground glass appearance. It is very serious, since it may only pass off to leave the cornea so white that sight is seriously diminished if not lost. The cornea, which in health possesses no blood vessels, is also liable to become invaded by vessels, which render recovery still more diffi ,cult. The inflammation may run on for weeks and mouths, attacking one eye after the other.

is specially in children of a very weakly sort that the inflammation is so severe. At its very outset, therefore, attention should be given to the child's health. Cleanli ness, good food, fresh air, and cod-liver oil are valuable aids in the treatment. The eye itself is to be treated as directed above. Drops of atropine are to be employed daily ; an occa sional blister is to be put on the temple; some extract of belladonna is to be made into a moderately thick paint with water or glycerine mid spread with a brush over the outside of the shut eyelids, which are then covered with lint, a bandage securing all. Each day the belladonna paint put on the day before is to be bathed off, and more applied. With care this combined treatment will usually be suffi cient; but,use of the eye is not to be permitted till it is perfectly recovered, and till no trace of over-sensitiveness to light remains.

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