This is generally the result of exposing the eyes to the irritation of a strong wind, smoke, or dust. It is also occasioned by long-continued use of the eye in viewing small objects, as in reading, using the microscope, or engraving. Employing the eyes in small work by a strong artificial light is especially injurious. Congestion of the eyes occasions a sensation of smarting and itching in the eye, with heaviness and weight in the eyelids. The white of the eye is reddened, the blood-vessels being swollen so as to be visible. The symptoms are generally worse when exposed to a strong artificial light. The eyes are often watery Congestion is distinguished from inflammation by the fact that it is not attended by any other than a watery discharge.

The Treatment of Congestion of the Conjunctiva, or Mucous Membrane of the Eye

The eyelids should have rest, and the eye should be bathed with tepid water several times a day. The eye douche is a very useful method of treatment, but cold water should not be employed, as it always does the eyes harm, contrary to the popular notion that bathing the eyes in cold water is a means of strengthening them. This is not an infrequent cause of congestion. In case there is considerable heat in the eye, a thin, tepid compress should be placed upon it and changed every few minutes. With this treatment the majority of cases will recover in a short time. After the disease becomes chronic, it may be necessary to apply a mild astringent, such as a solution of sulphate of zinc, a half a grain or a grain to the ounce of water. A few drops of this solution should be dropped into the eye once a day. In dropping medicines into the eye, the patient should be instructed to roll the eye upward, and the lower lid should be drawn down so as to form a little pouch, into which the medicine should be dropped. The patient should then be requested to close the lids and roll the eye about, so as to distribute the lotion over the whole mucous membrane. Cool compresses, or tepid bathing of the eye, should be employed after the application of the solution. We have found the tepid spray, and in some cases the hot spray, or hot sponging of the eye, a very excellent method of relieving congestion when other measures do not succeed promptly.