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Curability of Cataract

Homeopathic Journal :: Volume: 4, Issue: 12, Oct 2011 (General Theme)   -   from Homeorizon.com
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This article is taken from the renowned Book "Curability of Cataract" by Burnett James C. Here author described his experiences with Homeopathy Cure for Cataract. Author explained some of his own cases and some of other old author' cases to present his views.



Part No.

Cataract, Curability of cataract with medicines


Cataract Cases


Treatment of Cataract.... Cases continued...


Cases continued...


Important remedies for ophthalmic diseases




Psora as Bearing on Cataract, from a Therapeutic Standpoint

The expression Psora means different things to different minds. In the Hahnemannic historico-pathological case-taking it plays a most important part. Here its true appreciation is of the utmost significance and incalculable range.

Psora may not, perhaps, express an absolute truth, but it is of extreme practical worth. It must not be regarded as synonymous with the acarus disease, although it may be possibly included in it. As far as I understand the subject, it has not any more to do with scabies than with eczema, psoriasis, rhagades, phthisis, or cancer; but psora is the soil in which these weeds thrive, the psoric individual is their appropriate host.

Those who ridicule the Hahnemannic doctrine of psora, believing it to be synonymous with the acarus malady, are both right and wrong; right in refusing to subscribe to the teaching of such identity merely, but wrong in supposing that Hahnemann ever taught so. At least I cannot see that he does so in the original.

The mucous membrane in its entirety and he common integument must be looked upon as homologous : what is on one to-day may appear on the other to-morrow, and conversely. Metastases from the one to the other are most frequent. Both are dermoido-epithelial structures; and, for me, psora means a constitutional crisis that manifests itself as a disorganisation of some portion or portions of these homologous structures, whereby we may have itching when it is on outside.

We have seen that the lens is differentiated skin, a dermoido-epithelial structure; and hence cataract may well be conceived as being a metastatic, or primitive, psoric expression. This I conceive to be the Hahnemannic Pathology and Etiology of Cataract. On this line cataract is curable with medicines. Further, I submit that this is pretty clearly demonstrated in quite a number of the cases of cure that I have cited and narrated.

It is vague, I admit; neither would I maintain that it is an absolute truth; it certainly requires reading of books and of nature, and some reflection withal. But the willing mind, with fertile receptivity and docility, may in this wise get behind, and beyond, and under many otherwise inscrutable forms of disease, and he will be thus often enabled to cure what, from any other standpoint, seems hopelessly incurable.

It would lead me too far, were I to attempt to follow this up and to elaborate it.

I have, myself, obtained more insight into the doctrine of psora in working at this "Curability of Cataract with Medicines" than I ever before could; the light - crepuscular only as yet - is nevertheless, better than the darkness of despair.

"Censeurs savants, je vous estime tous;

Je connais mes défauts mieux que vous."

Curability of cataract with medicines

The limits of the curable and of the incurable are not represented by any fixed lines. What is incurable to-day may be curable to-morrow; and what we all of this generation deem incurable may be considered very amenable to treatment in the next generation.

When walking the hospitals years ago, I was taught, in respect of cataract, that there was nothing for it but an operation. A few months since I spent a little time at an excellent metropolitan hospital for the eye, and found that it is still the one thing taught, viz., if you have a cataract, there is no hope for you beyond that of getting blind, and then trying to get your sight again by having the cataractous lens removed.

On the twenty-eight of May, 1875, I was for to see a lady suffering from acute ophthalmia. She informed me that her friend, Dr. Mahony, of Liverpool, had recommended her to try homoeopathy when she should again require medical aid, and had also mentioned my name to her. She seemed rather ashamed of calling in the aid of a disciple of Hahnemann, and was very careful to lay all the blame upon Dr. Mahony; "for", said she, "I know nothing about it". My patient was in a darkened room, and hence I could not well see what manner of woman she was; but I soon learned that she was the widow of an Indian officer and had spent many years in India, where she had ophthalmia a great many times, and that she was in the habit of getting this ophthalmia once or twice a year, or even oftener, ever since. It generally lasted several weeks, and then got better; no kind of treatment seemed to be of any great avail. Did I think homoeopathy would do her any good? I replied that we would try it.

I made an attempt at examining the eye by lifting up one of the laths of the venetian blind to let in the light, and then everting the lid; but the photophobia and consequent blepharospasm were so great that I barely succeeded in recognizing that the right eye was a red, swelled mass, while the left one was only comparatively slightly affected - in fact, a case of panophthalmitis. A more minute examination was impossible, as the pain was so great that the patient screamed whenever any light was let into the eye. I took a mental note of the chief symptoms, notably of the fact that the inflammation was chiefly confined to the right eye, and went home and worked out the homoeopathic equation. I was especially anxious to make a hit, and so I spent about half-an- hour at the differential drug-diagnosis. The drug I decided upon was Phosphorus. Thus :

R. Tc. Phos. 1m xij. Sac. lac. q.s.  Div. in p. æq. xij.

S. One in a little water every hour.

That would be ab ut the one-hundredth part of a grain of Phosphorus at a dose, or rather less.

I called the next day, about eighteen hours thereafter, and my patient opened the door herself, slightly screening her eyes with her hand, and was quite able to bear a moderate amount of light. The inflammation was nearly gone; and the next day it was quite gone.

Patient's amazement was great indeed. In all suffered much, and had a number of doctors, including London oculists, to treat her; but to no purpose. And yet she had been treated actively, and there had been no lack of physic and leeches, and also no lack of medical skill; but there was lacking in their therapeutics the one thing needful - The law of similars.

How was it that I, with no very special knowledge of the eye or of its diseases, and with only usual practical experience, could thus beat skilled specialists and men of thrice my experience?

Was it, perhaps, greater skill, deeper insight into disease, or more careful investigation of the case? By no means. . . It was just the law of similars, patiently carried out in practice.

My dear allopathic confreres, why are you so very simple that you leave us homoeopaths with this enormous advantage over the best of you? Any little homoeopathic David can overcome the greatest allopathic giant, if he will only keep to his Materia Medica and the directions of Hahnemann. And the good thing lies so near, and is so constantly thrown at you. If we homoeopaths were only to make a secret of our art, you would petition the Government to purchase if of us!

But - revenons à nos moutons. My patient was naturally very grateful, and said. "If that is homoeopathy, I wonder if it could cure my cataract?" On examining the yes now with some care one could readily perceive that there were opacities behind the pupils, that of the right being the much more extensive. She then informed me that she had a cataract for some years, and was waiting for it to get ripe, so as to undergo an operation. She had been to two London oculists about it, and they agreed both as to diagnosis and eventual operative treatment. She had waited a year and gone again to one of these eye-surgeons and been told that all was satisfactorily progressing, although but slowly; it was thought it might tale another two years before an operation could be performed. Her vision was also getting gradually worse, and she could not see the parting in her hair at the looking-glass, or the names over the shops, or on the omnibuses in the street; could see better in the dusk than in broad daylight.

In answer to her question as to the curability of cataract with medicines, I said I had no personal experience whatever on the subject beyond one case *, and I thought that from the nature of the complaint one could hardly expect medicines to cure it, or even affect it at all. Still some few homoeopaths had published such cases, and others had asserted that they sometimes did really succeed in curing cataract with homoeopathic treatment. I added that, inconceivable as it was to me, yet I had no right to question the veracity of these gentlemen simply because they claimed to do what seemed impossible.

* This was the case of a lady of 48 years of age, with senile cataract, in which Calcarea 30, and Silicea 30, had been given with apparent benefit.

In fine, I agreed a patient's special request, to try to cure her cataract with medicines given on homoeopathic lines!

I must confess that I smiled a little at my own temerity. But I consoled myself thus : "What harm could it do to treat her while not prevent it!"

So it was agreed she should report herself every month or so, and I would each time prescribe for her a course of treatment.

All this was there and then agreed to.

She took from May 26th to June 19th, 1875, Calcarea Carbonica 30, and Chelidonium 1, one pilule in alternation 3 times a day. Thus, she had two doses of the Calcarea one day and one the next, and conversely of the Chelidonium.

There were indications for both remedies, though I cannot defend the alternation; I hope I alternate less frequently now.

Then followed Asafoetida 6, and Digitalis Purp. 3.

Then Phosphorus 1, and subsequently Sulphur 30, and then Calcarea and Chelidonium.

Thus, I continued ringing the changes on Phosphorus, Sulphur, Chelidonium, Calcarea Carbonica, Asafoetida and Digitalis, till the beginning of 1876.

On February 7th, 1876, I prescribed Gelsemium 30, in pilules, one three times a day; and this was continued for a month.

Then I gave the following course of drug treatment : Silicea 30, for fourteen days; Belladonna 3, for fourteen days; Sulphur 30, three times a day for a week, and then Phosphorus 1, for a fortnight.

A month or so after this date, March 20th, 1876, I one morning heard some very loud talking in the hall, and my patient came rushing in and crying in quite an excited manner that she could see almost as well as ever. She explained that latterly she seemed able to discern objects and persons in the street much better than formerly, but she thought it must be fancy, but that morning she suddenly discovered that she could see the parting in her hair, and she at once started to inform me of the tract, and, en route, she further tested her vision by reading the names over the shops, which she previously could not see at all.

I ordered the same course of treatment again, and in another two months the lenticular (or capsular) opacities completely disappeared, and her vision became and remained excellent.

She never had any recurrence of the ophthalmia, and she remained about a year and a half in my neighbourhood in good health; she then went abroad again, and in her letters to her friends since, she makes no mention of her eyes or sight, and hence I fairly conclude that she continues well.

The patient's age is now about 50 or 51.

I have detailed this case somewhat circumstantially, so that my conversion to a belief in the medicinal curability of cataract may appear to others as it does to me.

This case made a considerable stir in a small circle, and a certain number of cases of cataract have since come under my care in consequence, and the curative results I have obtained in their treatment are extremely encouraging. Be it noted that the diagnosis of cataract was made by two London oculists.

This case had led me to look up the literature of cataract a little, to see what others have said and done on the same subject; and in treating various cases of cataract. I have been often moved to a consideration of the true nature and origin of this affection, and on these points some few thoughts will not be out of place by-and-by.


In consequence of this cure of cataract with medicines, I began, as just stated, to look about in our literature to see what others had done.

In the British Journal of Homoeopathy, for 1847, vol. v., p, 224 et seq., there is a very able article on this subject by the late Dr. Henry V. Malan. This writer considers the primary cause of cataract to be a psoric taint in the constitution, and asserts that all constitutional cataracts are from a psoric cause.

This, of course, does not apply to traumatic cataract, and not necessarily to those of inflammatory origin.

Dr. Malan continues . . . "Many circumstances accompanying the formation of the cataract render the surgical treatment, it left to itself, either impossible or most difficult; for that reason the attempt has frequently been made to find a medical one. According to Vidal de Cassis (Pathologie Externe, Paris, 1840 à, none have been found except in some rare cases, and then only for the inflammatory and recent cataracts. The French surgeon Velpeau corroborates this statement, and tells us that some cures have been made by revulsives to the skin, setons, moxas, etc., and that "it is only by revulsion that the cures of some cataracts in their infancy have been made; but that these cures, after all, are only the exceptions; old cataracts of the capsule, or of the lens, must always be operated on."

"Here I (Malan) differ. The general opinion entertained on this point is not mine. I shall try to point out, in a few remarks, my reason for differing, and shall endeavour to be concise."

"We have seen that for cataract, as for many other similar states of the human body, no better treatment has been to this day found, than surgical operation; we shall see, also, that in many cases these means prove useless; in otorrhoeas they are injurious, and often they might, with much advantage, be exchanged for homoeopathic treatment.

"I have said that surgical operation often proves useless. It is the case when the cataract is a constitutional disease; if the general health be not improved, and the disease arrested and cured by previous internal and rational treatment, the removal of the diseased organ will not cure the progress of the malady any more than plucking rotten fruit from off a tree - because it is the only one as yet decayed - will remove the internal cause of disease in the tree. Too often, however, are surgical operations made on quite a similar mode of proceeding, and are, to say the least, useless. This, applied to the case of cataract, will explain why internal treatment will often be most beneficial.

"I said also that surgical operations were sometimes injurious to the general state. How often, for the same reason mentioned above, is the removal of an organ - visibly more affected than the others - really injurious to the whole body, as the internal disease, finding its outlet cut off, will often burst out in weaker but more essential organs, and by this inroad into the constitution bring on rapid and inevitable death.

"In other cases, I have said that surgical operation might, with advantage, be exchanged for homoeopathic treatment. It is often so in the complete and ripe cataract, though, generally speaking, surgical operation is not injurious to it, and often cures the affection when the internal process which caused the cataract has ceased, and then this morbid product stands as an inorganic mass and in the way of the functions of the organ. Even in this most favourable case, however - the only one in which surgical operation ought to be permitted - it can often be, with much advantage, exchanged for homoeopathic treatment.

"No medicine or internal treatment has, as yet, been of any avail in confirmed and ripe cataracts; this was left for better days to medical science, and homoeopathy has given us means of cure which were totally unknown before. I do not mean to say, be it well understood, that homeopathy will entirely supersede surgery, and that we are not to trust this latter means, or ever employ it - no; but I wish to draw attention to these three remarks only; that, firstly, in many cases, homeopathy will cure, completely cure, real cataracts, even old and ripe ones; secondly, in many more it will prevent the progress of the cataract in the other eye, when as yet only one is affected; thirdly, that if it does not always succeed in curing, it will always prepare the whole constitution for the surgical operation, prevent inflammatory accidents after it, and secure its success.

"This part of medical treatment has been, to this day, too much neglected, because, to out eyes this more or less ex-organic body seemed not fit for medical treatment, and because our ears have been accustomed to hear that surgical operation only is of any use we have left aside the internal treatment, which will often be crowned with far more success than is generally expected. Not the least process in the human body, morbid or natural, can take place without the whole constitution taking some part in it. We cannot expect that an organ of the body, be it ever so small, can become affected quite independently of the organism, but rather that it becomes affected in consequence of a morbid process existing, though not seen, in the organism itself. I am as far from admitting such confined notions, as I would be right to admit that the very same organ has no common tie with the rest of the body, and is not one constituent part of it, by its nerves, its vessels, and all its texture.

"If, therefore, one part of the body is diseased, we must not direct our treatment to it solely, and use what is called local treatment alone. We must act on the whole constitution in the same way as we would direct our attention to the whole tree when it bears decayed fruit. In this case, and for this very simple reason, it is not only advisable, but necessary, to have internal treatment, and this way of attending to disease will prevent many a failure, and the harm which might ensue from local treatment. In a case of cataract, therefore, the whole constitution must be acted upon, as in all diseases. Our Materia Medica has many a remedy against such a state."

The remedies reckoned the most important by Dr. Malan are Sulph., Silic., Caust., Cann. Sat., Phosph., Calc. and Conium.

The cause is psora, the remedies principally antipsorics.

Accidental symptoms to be removed by apsorics.

He concludes : "It is not possible to say that, in this or that species of cataract, this or that remedy will cure. The tout ensemble of the symptoms must always decide us in the choice of the remedy; and, in all cases, no second remedy is to be given before the first has exhausted its action."


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