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From the Archives of the Archives
August 2007

A look at the past . . .

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2007 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2007

Arch Ophthalmol. 2007;125(8):1144. doi:10.1001/archopht.125.8.1144-a

Henry W. Williams was the first to suture the wound after cataract extraction. He employed a single corneal suture, which he described in 1886; but, although he continued to advocate its use, it apparently was never adopted by any other surgeon. This may be because it had the serious fault of passing entirely through the cornea. However, sutures somewhat like that of Williams' are now coming into general use in cataract surgery. According to the opinions of numerous American ophthalmologists who have visited foreign clinics, the best of our ophthalmic surgeons have been for many years more skilful [sic] than the best European surgeons. To explain this superiority, I assume that as a result of our diversity of population some of our surgeons have inherited an unusual degree of dexterity. On the other hand, a claim that our worst ophthalmic surgeons are the worst in the world might be difficult to refute.