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April 1976

Retinal DetachmentThe Role of the General Ophthalmologist

Arch Ophthalmol. 1976;94(4):569-570. doi:10.1001/archopht.1976.03910030263001

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In the last 125 years, retinal detachment surgery has evolved through three eras. It could be entering a fourth.

After 1852, when Helmholtz gave the ophthalmoscope to the world, retinal detachments were first observed clinically and treated surgically. The operation was purely empirical and must have inevitably resulted in failure. In the 1920s after Gonin showed that cure depended on closing the leaking retinal hole, he and his followers produced reattachment in about one half of all their cases. After 1948, when Schepens illuminated the path to the oft-hidden holes with his binocular indirect ophthalmoscope and with scleral indentation, and after Custodis and Schepens introduced scleral plombage and encircling procedures, the results in skilled hands took a major turn on the road to improvement. Gradually there began the training of retina specialists, and the last three decades have seen increasing rates of cure.

What are the present goals of retinal

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