The popularity of nonspecific stimulation as a therapeutic measure of broad applicability in ophthalmology declined with the advent of antibiotics, and especially of steroid therapy.
When in 1917 Wagner-Jauregg introduced inoculation with malaria for the treatment of general paresis1 his success supported a rising interest in "fever therapy." Since the twenties injections of pyrogens were in general use for numerous diseased states. The concept developed that pyrogens by nonspecific stimulation intensified the processes of defense and reparative inflammation, and that fever, even though it was the outstanding clinical sign, was not the cause of the therapeutic effect.2-4 Pyrogens became widely used in ophthalmology, the rationale being that a diseased eye, because it was an organ of small dimensions, was not capable of exciting the whole body to alert its defense mechanisms, but that the latter could be accomplished by nonspecific stimulation.
While the validity of this hypothesis is
FECHNER PU, FECHNER I. Influence of Pyrogen on Healing of Corneal UlcersExperiment on Guinea Pigs. Arch Ophthalmol. 1961;65(3):392-400. doi:10.1001/archopht.1961.01840020394013