This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
Persons suffering with catarrh of the mucous membrane complain that the lids feel as if there were sand in the eye. They are stuck together in the morning, sometimes so firmly that they can scarcely be opened. The white of the eye is greatly congested. The lining of the lids has a red, velvety appearance Catarrh is the result of severe or long-continued exposure to the same causes mentioned as productive of congestion of the eye. The affection is in many cases attributed to taking cold.
Very little treatment is required if the patient has good care and gives the eyes entire rest. Dust and bright lights should be carefully avoided. When the lids are swollen, the eyes very red and hot, and the secretion of mucus abundant, the spray to the eye, or the eye douche, should be employed several times a day, Either cold or hot water may be employed for the douche. Thin compresses wet in cold water and changed every few minutes, not being allowed to become warm, should be used. A very excellent way is to have a block of ice and keep the cloths upon the ice. Poultices should never be employed. A very weak solution of sulphate of zinc, or alum, not over two grains to the ounce of either, may be used to advantage in many of these cases, a few drops being put into the eye every day The edge of the lids should be anointed with vaseline, sweet oil, fresh butter, or some other ointment. Patent eye-waters, and other secret remedies for the eye, should, of course, -be entirely discarded. The practice of using poultices of tea leaves, alum whey, etc., etc., is to be condemned. If left to themselves, the majority of these cases recover without treatment, but when possible, they should receive careful attention, since the effects are sometimes quite serious. Catarrhal inflammation may be communicated from the patient to well persons, and hence great care should be taken to avoid opportunity for contraction of the disease by other persons.