This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
This is an inflammation of the conjunctiva or mucous membrane of the eyelids. The sensation is as if particles of sand had insinuated themselves beneath the lids, accompanied by heat, pain, and increased lachrymal secretion, also intolerance of light. In severe cases, headache, nausea, constipation, loss of appetite, etc., are present. The causes of this form of inflammation are mostly local, as particles of sand, dust, insects, etc.
TREATMENT. -- Remove the cause. If due to foreign particles in the eye, they should be removed. Bathe the eye thoroughly in water, rubbing towards the nose. If iron or steel is suspected, a vial cork, rubbed smooth with flannel, should be touched to all parts of the eye, which will remove the particles. When the eye is relieved, a mild purgative may be given, and cold water applications made to the eye. In severer cases, lotions of nitrate of silver, sulphate of zinc, etc., become necessary.
This is due to exposure to cold. The white of the eye becomes inflamed and very red, and generally there is a thin mucous discharge, which in severe cases becomes thick and purulent. This condition of the eye is accompanied by chilliness, aching of the bones, and some degree of fever.
TREATMENT. -- Apply cold soft water to the eyes with little muslin packs, and give a purgative. If this will not relieve the inflammation, cold slippery-elm poultices, or the domestic practice of applying "smear case" to the eyes, may be resorted to. In obstinate or chronic cases a solution of four grains of sulphate of zinc to the ounce of water may be applied two or three times a day with a small brush. The eye should also be bathed with a decoction of golden seal. My "Herbal Ointment" (page 469) is excellent in all ophthalmic diseases.