The Eye Bath
IT is a good plan to follow the massage of the eyes with an "eye bath." A weak solution of salt and water or a dilute solution of boric acid and water, is the best for this purpose, under ordinary conditions. These solutions must on no account be strong. The water must not be brine, nor the boric acid solution too strong. The water should usually be cool, or lukewarm; but the temperature must depend upon circumstances. In certain inflammatory conditions of the eye, it is often advisable to have the water quite cold, while, on the other hand, in all injuries and local affection which render the eye sore or tender, it is best to bathe it in warm or hot water—at least at first. The bath, as a rule, should not last more than twenty or thirty seconds for each eye, and should be followed by a blinking of the eye—which, however, will probably follow automatically.
The eye bath may be taken in two ways. The first method is to fill an ordinary bowl with water, hold the breath, immerse the face in the water, and then open and close the eyes a number of times while the eyes are well under water. This may be repeated two or three times. This is the first method, and while it has the disadvantage of wetting the whole face, has the advantage of lack of suction, which the second method entails.
For taking the eye bath, the simplest plan is to fill an ordinary wash bowl with a weak solution of salt water or dilute boric acid.
The Eye-Cup. Eye-cups are now easily obtained, at a low figure, and are very useful little appliances, enabling one to bathe the eyes, without immersing the whole face, as in the method just described. In this case, the eye-cup is filled with whatever solution is to be used, the head leaned forward and the cup placed over the eye; then the head is tilted backward, and the eye under the cup opened and closed a number of times. The same operation is repeated with the other eye.
Taking the eye bath in a basin. Immerse the face in the salt water or boric acid solution and open the eyes under water, then move them from side to side, up and down, and roll them around.
It is a good thing not to keep the cup against the eye for too long a time, owing to the suction which develops in consequence. It should be removed and re-applied several times.
Taking an eye bath with the eye-cup. The eye-cup filled with the desired solution is so placed as to fit the eye socket with the head bent forward over it. Then tip the head back as in the illustration and open the eye and move it about in the solution.
As regards medicinal substances to be used in the water, there are but few of these which can be recommended. A small percentage of salt is often strengthening to the eyes, but a heavy brine is irritating and injurious. A dilute solution of boric acid is often beneficial, as it tends to cleanse the eye and wash out irritating substances. Apart from these solutions, it is safe to say that ordinarily, the further the patient keeps from "eye lotions" and concoctions of that sort, the better. These eye baths should have the effect of strengthening and stimulating the eyes in a wholesome, hygienic manner, without irritation. Cases of weak and dull eyes are especially helped by them, and they are helpful in practically every case of eye disease and defect, where they are not distinctly contra-indicated.
The eye-cup. A convenient device for taking the eye bath with a minimum of solution.