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Article
November 1960

Another Georgia Incident

Arch Ophthalmol. 1960;64(5):649. doi:10.1001/archopht.1960.01840010651002

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Abstract

A controversy that is still good for a brisk argument after more than a hundred years is the priority for discovering the usefulness of ether. Crawford Long of Jefferson, Georgia, probably was the first to use it for anesthesia but failed to report it. Morton, the Boston dentist, rediscovered it (with several assists apparently) and this was reported in the literature. By coincidence, a striking analogy now applies to the discovery of the usefulness of α-chymotrypsin in cataract surgery. Again the setting is Georgia for the one, but Barcelona instead of Boston for the other.

Dr. Ben Jenkins who describes himself as a small town practitioner began using α-chymotrypsin for zonulolysis in 1955. An attempt to clear vitreous opacities in a congenitally blind man with α-chymotrypsin was unsuccessful, but the enzyme did cause the lens to dislocate. Prompted by this fortuitous observation, Dr. Jenkins began using α-chymotrypsin routinely for cataract

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