Rheumatism is a "symptom complex" rather than a definite disease; an infection, though the germ or germs are not agreed on. It must be separated from the joint diseases due to infected wounds, typhoid fever, acute follicular tonsillitis, gonorrhea, scarlatina, dysentery, pneumonia or septic pyemia in this discussion.
For our purpose, rheumatism may be classed as (1) acute articular and (2) indefinite, the first having well-defined symptoms, the second shading off to phenomena hard to characterize, and yet representing a pathologic entity of defective metabolism in fibrous tissue and insufficient elimination of certain waste products.
Clinical experience shows that eliminative agents influence most favorably both rheumatism and associated keratitis. Typical among these are the salicylates, of which Cushny says, "they increase by 12 per cent. the excretion of sulphur; augment the excretion of uric acid from 30 to 100 per cent., and correspondingly increase the leucocytes in the blood. In
CONNOR L. IS KERATITIS EVER CAUSED BY RHEUMATISM?. JAMA. 1905;XLV(6):381-387. doi:10.1001/jama.1905.52510060017002c