CHAP. 24.—REMEDIES FOR DISEASES OF THE EYES AND EYE-LIDS.
TWO REMEDIES DERIVED FROM THE FAT OF FISHES.
THE CALLIONYMUS: THREE REMEDIES. THE GALL OF THE
CORACINUS: ONE REMEDY. THE SÆPIA: TWENTY-FOUR REMEDIES.
ICHTHYOCOLLA: FIVE REMEDIES.
The fat of all kinds of fish, both fresh-water as well as sea
fish, melted in the sun and incorporated with honey, is an
excellent improver of the eye-sight;1
the same, too, with
in combination with honey. The gall of the
heals marks upon the eyes and cauterizes fleshy
excrescences about those organs: indeed, there is no fish with
a larger quantity of gall than this, an opinion expressed too
by Menander in his Comedies.4
This fish is known also as
from the eyes being situate in the upper
part of the head.6
The gall, too, of the coracinus7
effect of sharpening the eyesight.
The gall of the red sea-scorpion,8
used with stale oil or Attic
honey, disperses incipient cataract; for which purpose, the
application should be made three times, on alternate days. A
similar method is also employed for removing indurations9
the membrane of the eyes. The surmullet, used as a diet,
weakens the eyesight, it is said. The sea-hare is poisonous
itself, but the ashes of it are useful as an application for preventing
superfluous hairs on the eyelids from growing again,
when they have been once pulled out by the roots. For this
purpose, however, the smaller the fish is, the better. Small
scallops, too, are salted and beaten up with cedar resin for a
similar purpose, or else the frogs known as "diopetes"10
"calamitæ," are used; the blood of them being applied with vine
gum to the eyelids, after the hairs have been removed.
of sæpia, applied with woman's milk,
allays swellings and inflammations of the eyes; employed by
itself it removes eruptions of the eyelids. When this remedy
is used, it is the practice to turn up the eyelids, and to leave
the medicament there a few moments only; after which, the
part is anointed with oil of roses, and the inflammation modified
by the application of a bread-poultice. Powdered bone
of sæpia is used also for the treatment of nyctalopy, being
applied to the eyes with vinegar. Reduced to ashes, this
substance removes scales upon the eyes: applied with honey,
it effaces marks upon those organs: and used with salt and
one drachma of each, it disperses webs which impede
the eyesight, as also albugo in the eyes of cattle. They
say, too, that if the eyelids are rubbed with the small bone13
taken from this fish, a perfect cure will be experienced.
Sea-urchins, applied with vinegar, cause epinyctis to disappear.
According to what the magicians say, they should be
burnt with vipers' skins and frogs, and the ashes sprinkled in
the drink; a great improvement of the eyesight being guaranteed
as the sure result.
is the name given to a fish with a glutinous
skin; the glue made from which is also known by the same
name, and is highly useful for the removal of epinyctis.
Some persons, however, assert that it is from the belly of the
fish, and not the skin—as in the case of bull glue—that the
ichthyocolla is prepared. That of Pontus15
is highly esteemed:
it is white, free from veins or scales, and dissolves with the
greatest rapidity. The proper way of using it, is to cut it
into small pieces, and then to leave it to soak in water or
vinegar a night and a day, after which it should be pounded
with sea-shore pebbles, to make it melt the more easily. It
is generally asserted that this substance is good for pains in
the head and for tetanus.
The right eye of a frog, suspended from the neck in a piece
of cloth made from wool of the natural colour,16
is a cure for
ophthalmia in the right eye; and the left eye of a frog, similarly
suspended, for ophthalmia in the left. If the eyes, too,
of a frog are taken out at the time of the moon's conjunction,
and similarly worn by the patient, enclosed in an eggshell,
they will effectually remove indurations of the membrane of
the eyes. The rest of the flesh applied topically, removes
all marks resulting from blows. The eyes, too, of a crab,
worn attached to the neck, by way of amulet, are a cure for
ophthalmia, it is said. There is a small frog17
which lives in
reed-beds and among grass more particularly, never croaks,
being quite destitute of voice, is of a green colour, and is apt
to cause tympanitis in cattle, if they should happen to swallow
it. The slimy moisture on this reptile's body, scraped off with
a spatula and applied to the eyes, greatly improves the sight,
they say: the flesh, too, is employed as a topical application
for the removal of pains in the eyes.
Some persons take fifteen frogs, and after spitting them
upon as many bulrushes, put them into a new earthen vessel:
they then mix the juices which flow from them, with gum of
the white vine,18
and use it as an application for the eye-lids;
first pulling out such eye-lashes as are in the way, and then
dropping the preparation with the point of a needle into the
places from which the hairs have been removed. Meges19
used to prepare a depilatory for the eyelids, by killing frogs
in vinegar, and leaving them to putrefy; for which purpose
he employed the spotted frogs which make their appearance in
during the rains of autumn. Ashes of burnt
leeches, it is thought, applied in vinegar, are productive of a
similar effect; care must be taken, however, to burn them in
a new earthen vessel. Dried liver, too, of the tunny,21
up into an ointment, in the proportion of four denarii, with
oil of cedar, and applied as a depilatory for nine months together,
is considered to be highly effectual for this purpose.