By Todd Cooney, DVM, CVH | February 9, 2017
We say the eyes are the window to the soul. One can gauge an individual’s health with a thorough gaze into this amazing organ. Eyes are also a window to the outside environment, and crucial to most animal species. Eye disorders are a regular part of veterinary practice, and homeopaths treat eye symptoms as part of the individual’s total symptom picture, or totality. Let’s consider how homeopathy is useful in treating some of the most common eye disorders seen in practice today, after this quick overview of homeopathy basics.
Homeopathic treatment is based on true natural laws of healing, which do not change over time. Homeopaths study the same textbooks used over 200 years ago, and practice according to the same principles outlined by the old masters of this healing art. Three basic laws undergird all of homeopathy:
1. The Law of Similars states that any substance that produces symptoms in a healthy individual can cure the same symptoms in disease. For example, the watery nasal and ocular discharge of hay fever or a cold may respond well to Allium cepa, a remedy made from onions, because sliced raw onions cause similar symptoms (it may help any individual with watery ocular discharge).
Another good example is parvo virus in puppies, with its characteristic nausea, vomiting, and foul liquid diarrhea, often helped by Arsenicum album, which causes the same syndrome in healthy individuals. Symptoms are the body’s attempt to restore homeostasis, or balance, and the correct homeopathic remedy supports this process, rather than opposing it. Opposing symptoms or surgery often lead to suppression, forcing the natural disease deeper into the body.
2. Hering’s Law states that disease tends to develop in a certain direction, and leave in the opposite direction. All cure starts from within and moves out, from the head down, and in reverse order as the symptoms appeared, or were suppressed. This translates to symptoms moving from more vital to less vital organs, from the interior to exterior of the body (think skin), and from the top down (or head to tail in animals) as healing occurs. For the eye, a cure would move from a cataract to an ocular discharge. This direction of cure is universal, and happens regardless of the type of medicine doing the curing.
3. The Law of Dilution/Potentization states that repeated dilutions and succussions (forceable mixing) of remedies results in a greater strength of effect. A 6c potency is diluted 1:100 six times and succussed each time; the much more potent 200c is diluted 1:100 a total of 200 times with succussions. Quantum physics is shedding some light on possible explanations for this phenomenon, as is nanotechnology (see the two-part article “Homeopathy: a 200-year-old nanomedicine” by Shelly Epstein, DVM, CVH and Iris Bell, MD in the Summer and Fall 2013 issues of IVC Journal), and clinical experience confirms this law.
OPHTHALMOLOGY AND HOMEOPATHY
A noted human homeopathic ophthalmologist, Edward Kondrot MD, CCH, DHt (healingtheeye.com), believes that the largest cause of all eye disease in people is suppression caused by modern medicines and treatment methods. I feel this also translates to our animal patients.1 The following are a few contributing factors:
· Antibiotics for conjunctivitis
· Treatment of chronic blepharitis
· Steroid eye drops and ointments
· Cataract surgery
· Laser surgery and injections for retinal disease
These “opposite” treatments cause the disease to go deeper into the body, resulting in more serious eye problems. A good example are the “side effects” listed for steroid eye drops, which are actually the result of suppression – corneal ulcers, infections, cataracts, increased intraocular pressure, to name a few. This is also true in our veterinary patients, as antibiotic/steroid medications are the first line of allopathic treatments for most eye conditions seen in practice. How do we address some common veterinary ophthalmological conditions with homeopathy?
Up to 90% of eye cases have some degree of this inflammatory symptom. Many clients present an animal with eye discharge and want an antibiotic, fearing infection. However, true infections are rare. The ocular organs given the body a route of cleansing and detoxification (lacrimal system), along with the saliva, lungs, skin, gastrointestinal tract, urine, etc.
The most common causes of conjunctivitis are poor diet, toxin accumulation from vaccinations (vaccinosis), GI imbalance, and possibly tight dog collars (harnesses improve many health conditions). Bathing the eye with soothing solutions can be taught to clients.
· Saline: ¼ teaspoon salt in one cup clean, distilled water.
· In severe cases, add up to ten drops per cup of water of one of the following herbal tinctures: goldenseal, euphrasia, calendula or hypericum.
Here are a few of the most useful homeopathic medicines for conjunctivitis, with common indications (the symptoms of the patient should be present in the remedy, but not all the remedy symptoms need to be present in the patient):
· Aconitum – sudden onset; intense fear; exposure to bright sunlight/ snow reflection or cold weather; early stages with intense painful inflammation; profuse watery discharge; bloodshot eyes
· Allium cepa – minor irritations; watery, bland tears
· Apis melliﬁca – swelling is key; chemosis; thick, sticky discharge; thirstlessness
· Argentum nitricum – young animals; copious yellow/green discharge
· Arsenicum album – yellow/watery discharge; chilly, restless, thirsty patient
· Belladonna – sudden, intense inflammation; dry eyes; dilated pupils
· Euphrasia – also known as “eyebright”; acrid tears leaving a stain; chronicity
· Mercurius (vivus or solubilis) – acrid, thin discharge; pus in anterior chamber; green nasal discharge; irritable nature; sensitive to hot and cold
· Pulsatilla – bland yellow discharge; itchy eyes, mild inflammation; resolving upper respiratory infection
· Rhus toxicodendron – yellow, profuse discharge; intense inflammation; painful; gluey discharge sticking lids together
· Sulphur – end of upper respiratory infection; acrid discharge; itchy eyes and lids; rubs eyes and face a lot
1. Corneal ulcers
These are common, and often a sequel to conjunctivitis, ranging in severity from superficial to deep, or even indolent.
· Euphrasia – a very good remedy for many ulcers; used topically in saline eye wash, or given orally in potency (or both)
· Aconitum – if the ulcer is very painful, and developed recently
· Apis, Argentum nitricum, Arsenicum alb., Hepar sulph., Mercurius, Rhus tox., Silicea, Sulphur, Thuya – other remedies to help heal ulcers
· Silicea or Thuya – to complete healing of stubborn, indolent ulcers
1. Eye injuries
Scratches, abrasions, lacerations and bruising are some of the most commonly seen injuries. These cases will usually respond very well to the correct remedy, without needing any other treatment. Consider the following:
· Arnica montana – patient extremely touchy; traumatic injuries of any kind
· Calcarea sulph. – excellent for splinters or foreign bodies in soft tissue around eye
· Calendula – used internally or topically
· Conium – cataract developing after trauma
· Euphrasia – corneal edema post injury
· Ledum – bruising; blood pooling under sclera/cornea, in anterior chamber
· Staphysagria – corneal scratches/lacerations
· Symphytum – blunt trauma to eye (“Arnica for the eye”)
This is a very painful condition, which often requires surgical correction. The following remedies may be helpful in some cases, and even prevent surgery:
· Borax – patient displays extreme noise sensitivity; fear of falling (avoids going down stairs or panics when picked up)
· Calcarea carbonica – other developmental problems present; soft, flabby, big-boned patients; slow dentition in history
Many cases can tighten up enough to not need surgery, and involve many of the same remedies listed above, as well as:
· Calcarea carbonica – if often needed
· Apis, Argenticum n., Mercury, Sulphur
Some cases respond well to homeopathic treatment, especially when the total symptoms shown by the individual are included. Dr. Compton Burnett, a British homeopath in the late 1800s,2 used various remedies, depending on the patient’s symptom totality, and had good success with many cases. He also describes five cured cases in his wonderful book, Fifty Reasons for Being a Homeopath.
Dr. Richard Pitcairn3 lists the following remedies as useful for cataract treatment: Conium (especially indicated in cataract following eye trauma, and in older patients), Silicea, Pulsatilla, Sulphur and Euphrasia.
The healing responses of many eye cases I’ve treated since I began to practice homeopathy encourage me to use this modality first when presented with eye issues. Eye problems often appear to be isolated from the rest of the body, but must be seen holistically to choose a successful prescription.
1. Indolent Ulcer in Cat
In November 2012, a specialist diagnosed an herpetic keratitis in the right eye of an 11-year-old Siamese mix named Emma Morse, which had progressed into an indolent ulcer. He recommended surgery to repair it, and dispensed topical and oral antibiotics.
Dr. Jennifer Ramelmeier prescribed Hepar sulphuris calcareum 1M to be given QD on November 17, 18 and 19 because of the severe pain and ulceration.
On recheck on December 3, the ophthalmologist reported the cat had improved signiﬁcantly so surgery was no longer needed. A second prescription of one dose of Hepar sulph 10M was administered once, and by January 14 the ulcer was healed. There was a small milky spot remaining.
2. Recurrent Uveitis in a Mare
By Stephanie A. Chalmers, DVM, Diplomate ACVD, CVH
Haleakala is a Rocky Mountain Mare. Born in December of 1994, she had been a brood mare before being purchased in September 2005. She had multiple (12) vaccines between October 2005 and May 2007 (at which time her owner stopped vaccinating). She had a hoof abscess in March 2008.
Ocular pain, eyelid swelling and mild scleral injection were noted in the left eye on April 17 of 2008. The local vet made a diagnosis of uveitis and administered Banamine and a topical antibiotic eye ointment. Symptoms recurred on May 25, again in the left eye. This time the vet administered an intravenous steroid and prescribed a topical antibiotic/steroid ointment.
When her owner contacted me on June 9, mild conjunctivitis and squinting were still present in Haleakala’s left eye. She also had early cataract development in the right eye. Her owner described her as a mild-mannered horse, sensitive and responsive when ridden. She liked to be brushed and petted. Though she had been a good mother, she seemed unattached to the other horses on the property.
My assessment was that this was a manifestation of vaccinosis. Drugs temporarily covered up the eye symptoms, but had not resolved the underlying vital force imbalance that continued to generate this symptom.
Silica 30c was prescribed to be given once, based on the symptoms of uveitis, the cataract, the suspected role of vaccination, the history of a hoof abscess and the mildness of Haleakala’s nature. We discontinued the eye ointment.
A complete resolution of her ocular symptoms occurred within one week after administering the single dose of homeopathic medicine. Her owner also noted that her coat looked better.
The uveitis returned in 2010 in the same eye and resolved with one dose of Silicea. The same thing happened again the following year (2011), but the disease never progressed to pathology. During that period, I treated her with Sulphur to resolve a hoof abscess.
I was unable to continue prescribing to completely cure Haleakala, because the owner decided to treat the mare herself when the eye inflammation recurred in 2013.
1Kondrot, Edward MD, CCH, DHt. (healingtheeye.com)
2Burnett, J. Compton. Cataract: Its nature, causes, prevention, and cure. 1889.
3Pitcairn, R and Hubble, S. Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats