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, if 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), 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 process 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 homoeopathy 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, homoeopathy 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.