Imperfect Vision. Amaurosis.
THE complaint here referred to is dependent on some change in the optic nerve or the brain, most commonly the former.
Symptoms. In some cases the sight becomes suddenly dim, and is perhaps soon lost altogether; but more often it is impaired 'by slow degrees, being only defective at intervals. as when the stomach is out of order, or the eyes have been fatigued. At one time, it will begin with objects appearing dim; at another, with their being double; at still another, with the ability to see only one half of objects. In some instances, the complaint begins with a crooked or disfigured or discolored appearance of things looked at. Again it will begin as near sightedness, or far sightedness; or the patient cannot measure distances, and will miss his aim in pouring water into a glass, or in putting a match to the wick of a lamp. The flame of a lamp will appear split. At times the eye does not bear light, at other times it longs for it, and objects do not appear illuminated enough.
Distinction. Amaurosis may be distinguished from cataract by there being no opaque body to be seen behind the pupil; and by the light of a candle appearing discolored, split, or lengthened, or iridescent; whereas in cataract vision is only clouded, and a lighted candle looks as if surrounded with a mist.
Chances of Cure. These are generally not very favorable, unless the remedies employed very soon produce good effects.
Treatment. Electro galvanism is one of the most promising remedies. Bayberry, root, dried and reduced to an impalpable powder, and taken as a snuff, is occasionally useful. Cayenne, steeped in water, one grain to one ounce of water, and a little of it dropped into the eye, may stimulate the palsied nerve, and in some cases restore sight.
But probably nothing will do better than cold bathing, a shower bath if it can be borne, out door exercise vigorously pursued, and an adherence for a long time perhaps a year to a strictly vegetable diet, at the same time using nervine tonics, etc. (316).
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