Bright Sight

Oliver Backhouse, Consultant Eye Surgeon www.cataract.org.uk

Alternative and complimentary medicine

Not infrequently people look at alternative healing methods to help control their medical problems. The majority of these methods have no proven benefit in controlling the disease process unlike conventional medicine which has gone through randomized trials and shown a greater effect than what would be expected by the Placebo Effect.

Placebo Effect: This is when an effect on a disease process is seen that is not due directly to the active substance in the medication. It can have a beneficial effect in approximately 30% of cases. In order for a conventional medication to ‘work’ it must be seen to have a statistically significant effect above that seen in people taking 'placebo medication'.

Homeopathy: This is based on the principle that increasing dilutions of usually a herbal compound has increasing medical strength in treating a disease. To date no benefit has been shown in cases of uveitis.

Vitamins: Many Eye vitamin preparations are available from health stores. They are mainly for helping macular degeneration – Vitamin A,E and D. No trials have shown any significant benefit of taking vitamins in cases of uveitis. A balanced diet will provide good levels of vitamins needed for a healthy body and mind.

Herbal Medicine: People forget that many medicines we use today are plant derivatives or slight alterations of. In this respect it is likely that some herbal remedies will be of benefit but conversely there are well reported cases of some being toxic. To date no trials have shown a significant benefit in cases of uveitis.