Page images

sickuess. I can only point out, however, their bearing upon ocular disorder. Conium must be our leading remedy in simple paresis of the muscles, extrinsic and intrinsic, of the eyeball/ Here it would vie with Gelsemium, whose action seems almost if not quite identical in character with that of our present drug. It should also be useful in muscular asthenopia (a case of which, rapidly cured with it, is reported by Drs. Allen and Norton), and whenever haziness of vision or vertigo is induced by fresh adjustments of the optical focus.

The most frequent use, however, which Conium has found in ophthalmic practice, and this in both schools, has been to remove the photophobia of strumous ophthalmia. It is not very obvious how it accomplishes this, either from the antipathic or the homoeopathic stand-point; for it is not an anaesthetic, except in toxic quantities, and it has never caused photophobia in the healthy. Yet it removes it, and with it much of the coexisting malady, in strumous ophthalmia, in doses far too minute for any physiological action to be exerted. Drs. Allen and Norton seem to think that it acts upon the cornea, subduing the keratitis which is undoubtedly one of the exciting causes of photophobia. Another tenable view is that it operates (like Sulphur and Calcarea) by its general anti-scrofulous influence, as displayed in its power of reducing the swollen lymphatic glands which belong- to this malady. In this connection an observation of Knorre's is significant. "Several times," he says, "I have observed, after the administration of this remedy, a scabby, moist exanthema come upon the head and face, with disappearance of the photophobia."* All agree that it is when the photophobia has little accompanying inflammation that Conium is most effective.

The last medicine of which I shall speak to-day is

It was noted by several of the English physicians— Lettsom, Withering, Mossman—who in the last century * See Dudgeon, loo. cit., p. 352*

used the foxglove so largely in phthisis and dropsy, that it had a peculiar effect upon vision. Those under its influence complained that their sight was dim and indistinct; or that the colouring of objects was altered, so that they seemed blue, yellow or green; or all things appeared as if covered with snow, and faces assumed a corpse-like whiteness. At another time motes floated before the sight, which on covering and pressing the eyes appeared as sparks; then flashes and balls of fire were seen, and objects appeared brilliant with a fiery halo round them. If the use of the drug was pushed, blindness might occur, which in one case lasted for a month after omitting it; the sense of pressure in the eyeballs which accompanied the initial symptoms being exchanged for throbbing pain and sense of fulness and enlargement.

Subsequent experimentation has added some further features to those now mentioned. Purkinje, who proved the aqueous extract and infusion of the leaves upon his own person, saw flickering indented objects before his eyes, which from their shape he called "roses." Lembke describes his muscae volitantes as white spots, stripes, and black rings. Bahr, from the second decimal trituration of Digitaline, had his upper half of vision covered by a dark cloud. Brunton, as also Homolle and Quevenne, found the introduction of this alkaloid into the eye cause, four or five hours afterwards, a candle to be surrounded with a prismatic halo; and from the internal use of the drug saw a large bright spot advancing before him, often showing the same prismatic colours.

These phenomena (all of which you may read in Allen's Encyclopedia) are not easy to account for, physiologically; but, pathologically, they strongly suggest the presence of a similar condition of things to that which obtains in incipient glaucoma. The rainbow-coloured halo round a candle is a well-known and pathognomonic symptom of this morbid change. Another disorder figured in them, and one which may equally be of neurotic origin, is detachment of the retina. "Benefit has been obtained from it," say Drs. Allen and Norton, " in checking the progress of detachment of the retina, and in relieving some of the troublesome symptoms, as wavering, everything appears green or yellow, &c."

Digitalis also exerts some action upon the conjunctiva. Hahnemann reports "violent inflammation of the eyes" (which is vague), "and inflammation of the Meibomian glands," as resulting from it; and praises it in the latter affection. Several other provers experienced conjunctival hyperemia; and Purkinje had a phlyctenula on the inner margin of his cornea, with its usual areola of enlarged vessels.

By J. W. Hayward, M.D.

John W. Hayward, M.D., aet. 43. Nervo-lymphaticobilious temperament, dark hair and eyes; good health, but has had bronchitis and quinsy.

First proving .—July 24th, 1872. Took in water ten drops of first cent. dil. at 10.40 a.m. At 10.50 my attention was arrested by a sharp downwards-drawing pain on right side of nose near inner canthus; this lasted about a minute, and then gradually changed into a dull bruised pain which lasted for ten minutes, and then passed off gradually. There was at the same time a slight quivering feeling in lower lip near left corner of mouth, lasting half a minute. At 11 there was a continued tearing pain in brain just above root of nose, with a confused muddled feeling; on coughing front part of brain felt a jerk as if it were tender. After this I went out of doors, and was too occupied to notice symptoms.

Returned at 1.15 and took another ten drops. At 1.30 felt quivering in left under eyelid for a few minutes. I now lunched, and did not observe any symptom until when sitting quiet after lunch there was return of the pain and sensitiveness of the front part of the brain, aggravated by coughing and sneezing. Being called out the proving was interrupted, and was not resumed.

Second proving.—September 17th, 1881. Took five drops of third cent. dil. in water at 10 a.m. Did not notice any effect. At 11 took another five drops and went out of doors; after about quarter of an hour my attention was drawn to my heart by a feeling of soreness as if in the pericardium; this lasted for a few minutes. After another quarter of an hour attention was arrested by a feeling of soreness along cartilages of ribs in epigastrium; this lasted a few minutes. At 1 p.m. took another five drops; did not notice any effect. At 3 took another five drops and went out; nothing peculiar arrested my attention until evening, when I noticed myself yawning constantly, and then my attention was drawn to the fauces by a feeling as if the velum were stiff and too long, and as if the fauces were lined with mucus. At 11 p.m. took another five drops and went to write, and went to bed at 11.45. Slept heavily and dreamed much, and on awaking in the morning felt as if the brain were contracted and lay loose within the skull, and fell about on moving head, and as if it were tender or morbidly sensitive, so that a pulsative headache was felt synchronous with the pulse, as if the brain were somewhat grasped; also a tenderness of the heart on turning to the left side, as if pericardium were morbidly sensitive: these two symptoms continued for half an hour and went off while dressing.

18th.—Breakfasted at 9 a.m. At 10 took ten drops; at 10.10 felt a pressing pain behind left orbit, slightly pulsative. At 11 took another ten drops and went out; at 11.30, whilst driving, attention was arrested by sensation of swelling of velum with feeling of mucus in fauces, and which had to be swallowed down or hawked up, or as if uvula were hanging too low. 12.30.—Constant yawning, also a downward-pulling pain in a small spot in head in right side of vertex; and still the feeling of mucus in fauces with some sore pain about uvula on swallowing, followed shortly by a singing in whole head as after taking chloroform, continuing for some time and being followed by a full congested feel of whole front part of brain, with torpidity of intellectual faculties or dull confusion in front of brain. 1.30. —Took another ten drops; same symptoms continued. 4 p.m.—Took another ten drops; same symptoms continued, they only disappear during the evening.

19th.—On awaking this morning had much itching of skin all over. 10.0.—Took twenty drops, attention not arrested by any symptoms. 11.0.—Took another twenty drops and went out; all forenoon much yawning and sneezing, and much increase of secretion of watery mucus from nose. 2 p.m.—Took another twenty drops; was very busily occupied, and attention was not drawn by any symptom. 3.30.—Took another twenty drops and went out; all afternoon much yawning and sneezing and catarrhal running from nose, with some stinging about nostrils. 5.0.—Took another twenty drops: sneezing, stinging, and catarrh continued all evening. Went to bed about twelve; about 2 a.m. was waked up by painful neuralgic drawing in fauces, worse on left side about root of tongue, almost producing choking, and not relieved by anything I did; it lasted over quarter of an hour and then disappeared. After three hours more was waked up again with severe drawing pain in right wrist not relieved by rubbing; it lasted ten minutes.

20th.—From unfavourable interruption took no more of the drug; felt, however, out of sorts all day, and weak at the heart, and more easily tired and out of breath than usual, and only regained my usual good health gradually after some days.

Third proving.—June 19tb, 1882. Took five drops first decimal in water at 8.45 a.m. Whilst at breakfast at 9.5 attention was arrested by a severe clawing pain in left side of cerebellum, lasting a few minutes. At 9.40, whilst reading, attention was arrested by a pricking and a sensation of constriction in fauces. At 10.0 attention was arrested by a grasping pain at under surface of left frontal lobe of brain over back part of orbital plate for about a minute, followed by a dull, heavy, congested feel of whole front of

« PreviousContinue »