“Tell me, sweet eyes, from what divinest star did ye drink in your liquid melancholy?”—Bulwer Lytton.
When you crawl out of bed in the morning do not dig your fists into your eyes and rub and rub until, when at last you do open those sleepy “windows of the soul,” there is two of everything in the room, and big black spots are whizzing through the air. Pressure on the eyeball flattens the lens of the eye, and is sure to produce myopia, or shortsightedness.
If the eyes are not inflamed at all, they should be washed every morning in moderately cold water. In case of inflammation an application of hot water and milk in equal parts will be found most beneficial. Dry with a piece of old, soft linen, being sure to wipe inward toward the nose so as not to issue invitations to those horrors of womankind—crow’s feet! Great care should be taken to keep all foreign substances, especially soap and other irritants, from the delicate skin of the lids, and particularly from the still more sensitive eyeballs.
Gaslight brings direful havoc to good eyes, especially when the flame is in a mood to flicker and splutter, as gas sometimes does. Take a faint, wavering light and a piece of embroidery and you have as fine a recipe for premature blindness as can be unearthed in a month of Sundays. Sewing in the twilight is equally disastrous, as is the habit of facing the light when writing or reading.
Few women realize the great need of resting the eyes occasionally, and the unhappy result of trying them to the utmost limit. The very moment that the eyeballs ache work should be suspended, no matter how necessary or urgent. Rose-water and plantain in equal parts makes a refreshing wash, and elderberry water is said to be good when there is a disagreeable itching.
If the eyes are hot and watery use hot water which has been poured over rose leaves. Witch hazel, that good old stand-by, is always refreshing and is especially good when combined with camphor water. It is best when applied at night and allowed to dry on the lids. Weak tea, which is the eye tonic of our grandmothers, is also splendid.
A lotion that has been tried over and over again and found excellent for tired and inflamed eyes, is made by rubbing one teaspoonful of pulverized boracic acid in fifteen drops of spirits of camphor and pouring over this two-thirds of a cup of hot water. Stir and strain, and use as needed.
To brighten the eyes, steep good green tea in rose-water, soak bits of absorbent cotton in the liquid, and bind on at night.
For granulated lids—and what is more maddening and painful?—make an alum paste. This is done by rubbing a small piece of alum into the white of an egg until a curd is formed. Apply to the lids upon retiring at night, tying a piece of soft linen over the eyes.
So many girls say that they look a fright in eyeglasses, and ask if they should wear them. Most certainly if the eyes are worn out and failing. An oculist of the very best reputation should be consulted. The fee does not exceed that of the quack, and the eyes are tested with greater thoroughness. Glasses must be chosen with the utmost care, as ill-fitting lenses can make a great deal of trouble. They are worse than no glasses at all. Then, after eyeglasses are put on, they must be changed now and then to suit the changing conditions of the sight. If the eyes are not in a bad state, wearing spectacles for a few months may strengthen them so that the glasses can be discarded. Also, if the oculist knows his business as he should, he can give you much valuable information concerning the care of your eyes.