Middle Ages

Poor vision could be ‘clarified’ with the gall of a pig, eel and cockerel mixed with honey and water. Whether this was a concoction to be drunk, applied as an ointment or poultice the source does not say. It would be interesting to know if this was a ‘tonic’ to sharpen blurred vision which had they been available could have been resolved with spectacles, a cure for infected eyes or more serious internal eye problems.

For breaking  ‘the web‘ – strong vinegar, woad juice,and wormwood would be kept for a long time in a brass vessel and a mixture of cloves, vinegar and anise which had been cooked in wine could be added if desired. This could either be a cure for cataract, or more likely a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) or retinal detachment as these give rise to descriptions of web-like strands in the field of vision. PVD’s can stablise themselves in which case the patient might consider him/her self cured, or they can become a total retinal detachment in which case the treatment was a total failure.

‘tutty’ ( a by-product of the smelting process) was mixed with aloes, camphor and powdered pomegranate and then placed in the eyes – no explanation was given as to what this was meant to cure.




Comments are closed.