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Book and Software Review
May 2003

The History of Strabismology

Author Affiliations
 

BARBARA A.BLODIMD

 

edited by Gunter K. von Noorden, MD, Drhc, 290 pp, with illus, $145, Oostende, Belgium, JP Wayenborgh, 2002.

Arch Ophthalmol. 2003;121(5):746. doi:10.1001/archopht.121.5.746-a

In The History of Strabismology, Dr von Noorden has gathered an impressive group of collaborators who reveal the development of the specialty field of strabismology through time and around the world. One fascinating feature of this book is the extensive referencing of original, and in some cases, ancient writings, along with inclusion of diagrams and pictures of early treatment methods and surgical procedures found nowhere else in such detail.

In reading this text, I learned much about the nature of the specialty of what is now "strabismology." There were fun facts such as dates for the use of occlusion foramblyopia (pp 836-901), and a pointing test for stereopsis(p 1613). I learned that initially many ophthalmic surgeons were trained as orthopedic surgeons, and that the first strabismus surgery (a myotomy performed perhaps, by Diffenbach [1839]) was an adaptation of the procedure initially used for torticollis and club foot. I grew to appreciate just how extensive the influence of European physicians was on the development of this specialty worldwide. It was enlightening to read accounts of the development of strabismology in other countries (Mexico, South America, Japan, and Australia), whose literature is not readily available to me, and where much significant work is being done. It was humbling to see how few truly "new" ideas and techniques we have that were not at least conceptualized by those before us.

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