Eyes and Epsom salts - wonder drug or dud?

well have had sore, dry twitchy right eye and headaches with blurred vision on and off for a week now thought caused by over tiredness and after trying to get into opticians all week to no avail popped into chemists today and explained had serious eye problems and had similar symptoms in April where I was seen at the eye hospital who said I was fighting an infection somewhere in my body and thought I had blephorism - spelling wrong I think so sorry. And asked if he could give me something over the counter until I could get into gp or opticians next week as didn't fancy thirty mile drive to the nearest eye hospital this weekend. Well this is the strange bit he's given me two kilo of Epsom salts to have a soak in the bath with and a print out off the Internet about the benefits of Epsom salts and told me not to believe all that my consultant tells me. Has anybody else used these and I ask this with my tongue firmly in my cheek has he found a miracle cure that solve everything?

Think I may be giving the hospital a call in the morning.

18 Replies

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  • My mother (who is 91) absolutely swears by the healing properties of Epsom salts. She has been using it for years for just about every ailment under the sun. She puts it in the bath and I think has even been known to put a couple of spoonfulls in water and drunk it.

    Always thought it was some sort of old fashioned remedy nonsense and have never used it myself but I think it does have something in it that is beneficial. My mother certainly thinks so!! Jean.

  • Epsom salts may make a nice bath, but I'd run a mile from a chemist who advises me to use them and ignore what the consultant says, and doesn't actually give any good advice on the problem you asked about. Keep you tongue firmly in your cheek!

  • Sounds a bit unprofessional behaviour from a pharmacist to me? Its one thing to suggest an over the counter product as a possible remedy but the part about not believing everything consultants tell us concerns me a bit? But I guess they can't harm although how on earth they might help an eye problem I'm not sure? If you mean blepharitis then my optician gave me a leaflet a d recommended I use baby shampoo diluted in boiled water to clear the dead skin and gunk out of my tear ducts with cotton wool. Also preservative free eye drops help. If you feel your blurred vision is quite severe then it might be best to go into your a&e but I find, with secondary Sjogrens, my eyes get blurry when I'm tired because my eyes are so dry.

  • I agree with Tilda. About 25% of people with RA have Secondary Sjogren's which means your moisture producing glands are not working. You would have a dry mouth (with a metallic taste), dry eyes (or too watery), swollen glands sometimes, and dry skin.

    A hot wet flannel compress on closed eyelids can help, but you must get advice from an expert, and not take any notice of quackery.

    If it was a qualified pharmacist, you should make a complaint, really. Epsom salts! Honestly!

  • Blepharitis that's it.

    I was surprised by his comments, he basically implied consultants prescribed the drugs they did as they were all receiving back handers from the drugs companies- complete and utter tosh. Apparently we are all magnesium deficient in the modern world hence why we have such illnesses. I feel for a large chemist chain he is giving a bad impression, i will be ringing the store manager tomorrow, unfortunately wasnt my usual pharmacy. Definitely will not be stopping any meds until I see the consultant. I am going to see if I can get through to the eye hospital this morning and can recommend anything without me traveling up there as unfortunately our local a and e won't treat eyes. If I have the bath in the Epsom salts I don't think it will interact with any medications from what I can find on the internet but then again that can be very contradictory depending on the website.

  • i cant see how a bath in epsom salts will help your eyes - i dont even think drinking a glass with a spooonful disolved in it will help either! it was very unproffesional of him to imply that it's a wonder cure for everything - god forbid if this pharmacist was set loose on a cancer patient! epsom salts has its uses but i dont think this is one of them!

    we all will be magnesium defficent because our bodies don't store magnesium - if we use to much of it we pass it out - thats why its used (or was years ago) for its laxative propities.

    there is probably a huge deal of truth in the consultants recieving backhanders to prescribe certain drugs - look at all free the stationary from drug companies next time you're at your gp's office - its there for a reason - to prompt your gp to prescribe certain brands and drugs when you are visiting!

    the phamacist could have sold you a tube of viscotears - its not a cure but at least it would have soothed your dry eyes! (oh and if you do buy yourself some viscotears ask for the novartis ones - for some reason the cheaper generic brand aren't as effective and you'll use twice as much)

  • i cant see how a bath in epsom salts will help your eyes - i dont even think drinking a glass with a spooonful disolved in it will help either! it was very unproffesional of him to imply that it's a wonder cure for everything - god forbid if this pharmacist was set loose on a cancer patient! epsom salts has its uses but i dont think this is one of them!

    we all will be magnesium defficent because our bodies don't store magnesium - if we use to much of it we pass it out - thats why its used (or was years ago) for its laxative propities.

    there is probably a huge deal of truth in the consultants recieving backhanders to prescribe certain drugs - look at all free the stationary from drug companies next time you're at your gp's office - its there for a reason - to prompt your gp to prescribe certain brands and drugs when you are visiting!

    the phamacist could have sold you a tube of viscotears - its not a cure but at least it would have soothed your dry eyes! (oh and if you do buy yourself some viscotears ask for the novartis ones - for some reason the cheaper generic brand aren't as effective and you'll use twice as much)

  • It doesn't sound to me as if you will get much from A&E or an eye hospital. If it is secondary Sjogrens, if you have RA - and it would probably be worth trying artificial tears or boiled water or both for the weekend and then try and see you opthalmologist ASAP when you can? Definitely worth complaining about that chemist person if you can be bothered - they really should not be holding forth to customers about their conspiracy theories however true. I'm sure that's a sacking offence because the pharmacy is paying this person to sell all these supposedly bogus products!

    And my consultant doesn't do the prescribing where I live - he just gives directions to my GP. I'm sure some of these ideas are true and some doctors are swayed by pharmacutical companies and backhanders but they are very well paid so a good one shouldn't be. And its not for some chemist person to lecture you anyway!

  • Ps maybe this person was being paid a backhander by the company who make Epsom Salts?!

  • Back when I was a young, new mother at the tender age of 20, I was advised to take Epsom salts dissolved in a glass of water everyday to get rid of breast milk (couldnt breast feed due to medical rasons) that were causing me a lot of pin. Epsom salts 'purge' your insides......purging isn't a remedy you hear of too much these days but back in the day I was very, very glad of them......didn't people used to take them for bad heartburn too?

  • Spoken to hospital this morning who advised me to go to a and e, who after a surprisingly quick visit aren't overly worried as they don't think it is what I was worried about (6 years ago suffered an ulcer on my ele which nearly cost me my vision) they have arranged for me to visit an eye clinic tomorrow at a more local hospital and have given me some antibiotic drops and hypromellose artificial tears for today to be on the safe side and recommended the compresses also. He thinks it may be sjorgens also especially as I have ra. Also the hospital took some details of the pharmacy as my husband wants to make a complaint regarding the pharmacist. He also has just been on the phone to the store and apparently he was a locum pharmacist yesterday and a customer who was in the shop at the time who overheard all of this made a complaint along with a member of staff. What an irresponsible individual who and I'm not sure whether they can be needs to be struck off or perhaps needs to return to university for further training.

  • That all sounds really positive FridayFever well done! I can understand why you were so worried now re previous experience. I have the same problem with dry eyes and blurred vision and panicked that it was the Hydroxy. So I went to the optician who tested my eyes using a blink test and said they were significantly dryer than they should be. He advised me to treat as for Blepharitis and gave me a leaflet and told me that I should avoid getting off the counter eye drops and ask my GP to prescribe preservative free drops as the optician advised me to. She did and they are same as yours Hypermellose and they are really good I find - although i tend not to bother unless it's particularly bad.

    Good stuff about complaining - one locum (not mine) pharmacist told me that I should put my used MTX syringes into the domestic waste!? X

  • Wow! what a lot of positive results there! I'm glad you did go to a & e though - some of the eye conditions linked to autoimmune disorders can have very damaging consequences if they aren't treated quickly, so always best to leave it up to the experts to decide if its something to worry about or not. Am so glad the pharmacist has been rapped over the knuckles and that other people also complained.

  • So glad you got some proper help - eyes are way to important to mess with aren't they? Like the others I was absolutely horrified about what the pharmacist said to you and I am pleased that your husband is going to make an official complaint. If somebody took his comments seriously and stopped taking their prescribed meds - or assumed they needed magnesium supplements etc without checking with a doctor I can't begin to imagine what the implications might be.

    Re Epsom salts - in the early days of RA when sites like this one didn't exist and there was no real advice available (or other people to bring me back to earth when I read about yet another "miracle, drug free cure") I read a book which said that regular Epsom salts baths were what I should be doing. After the first one I was so poorly - so never again! That just proved to me that something apparently "natural" could be bad for me.

    Really good luck with the eye clinic and hope they can help you. Like many others here, I have secondary Sjogrens which significantly affects my eyes - currently using prescribed drops "for severely dry eyes" 40+ times a day and getting very frustrated by it!

    Tillyx

  • Tilly, it might be worth asking about "punctal plugs" - these are tiny silicone plugs they put into your tear ducts to stop tears draining away too fast. I have a couple of friends with sjogrens who have had it done (its something that can be even be done by specialist optometrists, not just opthalmologists) and its made a huge difference. Make sure they know that you are having to use the eye drops so often and still not getting good relief.

  • Thanks Earthwitch - re the punctual plugs - been there done that (several times) and they didn't work for me unfortunately cos they kept falling out. For the last couple of years I have been waiting to be well enough to have minor surgery to cauterise my tear ducts. Rituximab has been helping my eyes some (as the rheumatologist thought it might) and I hadn't realised how much until it has started to wear off.

    Thanks so much though for your thoughts.

    Tillyx

  • Well yes I think person was appalling in that advice, no chances should be taken with any eye complaint!! and epsom salts arent appropriate for any eye complaint!!, I some times but epsom salts to put in the bath as they can soothe aching muscles but that is all, his advice way off mark!!.

  • Secondary sjorgens syndrome a high possibility and now being treated as such funnily not with Epsom salts but eye drops. Also blood tests for thyroid issues.

    Came home tonight with a formal written apology from the store manager re. Epsom salts and to inform me that further action is being taken towards the member of staff.

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