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Special Article
May 2001

One Hundred Important 20th-Century Ophthalmic Books

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Iowa, Iowa City (Dr Thompson), and Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland(Dr Blanchard).

Arch Ophthalmol. 2001;119(5):761-763. doi:10.1001/archopht.119.5.761

We set ourselves to this project because it promised to be interesting and enjoyable. It has, in addition, turned out to be intensely instructive for us, and we sense that the job will remain permanently unfinished because we have, finally, had to make some coin-toss decisions about rounding out the collection to exactly 100 titles.

We have been aware from the beginning that the mere act of providing such a list is to ask for dissent and disparagement. To start with, what does"important" mean? Does it just mean popular? Is Duke-Elder on the list just because a lot of copies of his book were sold? It is our hope to call a book important when there seems to be some agreement that the book has made a significant contribution to ophthalmic knowledge or practice. We concede that it often takes time for the word to get around about the excellence or significance of a certain book. This means that when a consensus has been reached, there may well have been quite a few copies sold. Some books published in the last decade of the 20th century will continue to be useful and popular well into the 21st century, but so far they have only had time to put their stamp on the 1990s. For this reason, we have found it hard to evaluate them as 20th-century monuments. By the year 2020, a general agreement may have finally been reached about the importance of these books. If our list is slightly weighted toward the first half of the century, this delay may have been a contributing factor. By the same token, some books first written in the 1890s continued, through new editions, to have a major influence into the 20th century, and we have included a few of these on our list. The result is that our definition of the 20th century is a little fuzzy at both ends.

Another problem with our list is that many of the most significant contributions to ophthalmic knowledge were first offered in professional journals, and the author never got around to writing a book on the subject. Ours is unabashedly a list of books. One might well object that books are just one kind of retrievable information package, so why not consider all such packages in every kind of database? Our first answer is that we are fond of books. Books are not only discrete, compact, and accessible, they also can be attractive because their physical qualities appeal to some of our other senses. The palpable heft of the book, the feel of the binding and the paper, the art and skill of the typography and illustrations are all part of "reading" a book. A book comes saturated with the personality and voice of the author; it is designed to be held in its owner's hands and to be read, shelved, and reread as needed. Our second reason is that we have to draw the line somewhere, and by limiting ourselves to books we have sidestepped the impossible task of writing a comprehensive history of ideas in 20th-century ophthalmology.

We have asked many others to give us their choices, but in the end this is our personal list, tilted inevitably by our own personal American exposure to ophthalmic books and by our inclination toward the English language. We have made no attempt to rank all 100 of these books in order of their importance: we are not that foolhardy! We have listed them chronologically within 11 areas of ophthalmology (Table 1). The sequence of these subspecialty areas is, where possible, anatomical, from the front of the eye to the back of the eye. Our belief is that there might be a fairly general agreement that most of these 100 ophthalmic titles deserve mention among the most influential of the century. The remainder will be on someone's list but not on everybody's list. Table 2 contains the same list of books, arranged alphabetically by author.

The full text of our article (a printable 40-page document), containing details about these books, together with some comments on their special qualities and their publication history, can be found on the Internet (available at: http://webeye.ophth.uiowa.edu/dept/20thCenturyBooks). This is the site of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Iowa, Iowa City. If you have comments or suggestions for us regarding this project, please record them at this site before the end of the year 2001.

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Article Information
Table 1. The List of 100 Important 20th-Century Ophthalmic Books, Arranged Chronologically Within Each Subspecialty Area*

General Ophthalmology

Norris, OliverSystem of Diseases of Eye. 1897-1900.

Wood C.The American Encyclopedia of Ophthalmology. 1913-1921.

Berens C.The Eye and Its Diseases. 1936-1949.

Duke-Elder S.Textbook & System of Ophthalmology. 1941-1972.

Adler FH.Physiology of the Eye. 1933-1992.

May CH.Manual of Diseases of the Eye. 1900-1973.

Vaughan D, Asbury T.General Ophthalmology. 1958-1999.

American Academy of Ophthalmology.Basic and Clinical Science Course. 1940-2000.

Grant M.Toxicology of the Eye. 1962.

Duane T.Clinical Ophthalmology. 1976.

Fraunfelder F, Roy FH.Current Ocular Therapy. 1980.

Spalton D, Hitchings RA, Hunter PA.Atlas of Ophthalmology. 1984.

Albert D, Jacobiec F.Principles and Practice of Ophthalmology. 1994.

Cataract Surgery

Smith H.The Treatment of Cataract. 1910.

Arruga H.Cirugia Ocular. 1946.

Kirby DB.Surgery of Cataract. 1950.

Kelman C.Phacoemulsification and Aspiration: the Kelman Technique of Cataract Removal. 1975.

Jaffe N.Cataract Surgery and Its Complications. 1972.

Eisner G.Augenchirurgie. 1973.

Cornea and External Disease

Axenfeld T.The Bacteriology of the Eye. 1908.

Vogt A.Atlas of the Slit Lamp. 1921.

Berliner ML.Biomicroscopy of the Eye. 1943-1949.

Castroviejo R.Keratectomy & Keratoplasty. 1964.

Donaldson D.Atlas of External Diseases of the Eye. 1966.

Fedukowicz HB.External Infections of the Eye. 1963.

Grayson M.Diseases of the Cornea. 1979.

Krachmer JH, Mannis M, Holland E.Cornea. 1997.

Glaucoma

Elliot R.Treatise on Glaucoma. 1922.

Uribe-Troncoso M.A Treatise on Gonioscopy. 1947.

Sugar HS.The Glaucomas.1951.

Becker B, Shaffer R.Diagnosis & Therapy of Glaucomas. 1961.

Ascher K.The Aqueous Veins. 1961.

Chandler PA, Grant WM.Lectures on Glaucoma. 1965.

Shields MB.Textbook of Glaucoma. 1982.

Anderson D.Testing the Field of Vision. 1982.

Alward WL.Color Atlas of Gonioscopy. 1994.

Neuro-ophthalmology

Wilbrand H, Saenger A.Die Neurologie des Auges. 1900-1922.

Posey WC, Spiller WG.The Eye and Nervous System. 1906.

Inouye T.Sehstörungen bei Schussverletzungen. 1909.

Traquair H.An Introduction to Clinical Perimetry. 1927.

Cogan DG.The Neurology of the Ocular Muscles. 1945.

Walsh F.Clinical Neuro-ophthalmology. 1947.

Bender M.The Oculomotor System. 1964.

Hoyt WF, Beeston D.The Ocular Fundus in Neurologic Disease. 1966.

Smith L, Glaser J.The University of Miami Neuro-ophthalmology Symposia. 1965-1980.

Leigh J, Zee D.The Neurology of Eye Movement. 1983.

Loewenfeld IE.The Pupil. 1993.

Optics and Refraction

Jackson E.Skiascopy and Its Practical Application. 1895.

Gullstrand A.Monochromatische Aberrationen. 1900.

Obrig T.Contact Lenses. 1942.

Mandell R.Contact Lens Practice. 1965.

Milder B, Rubin M.The Fine Art of Prescribing Glasses Without Making a Spectacle of Yourself.1979.

Pediatric Ophthalmology

Maddox E.Tests and Studies of Ocular Muscles. 1898.

Worth C.Squint. 1903.

Howe L.The Muscles of the Eye. 1907-1908.

Peter LC.The Extra-Ocular Muscles. 1927.

Bielschowsky A.Lectures on Motor Anomalies. 1940.

Scobee R.The Oculorotary Muscles. 1947.

Burian H, von Noorden G.Binocular Vision and Ocular Motility. 1974.

Hereditary Ocular Disease

Ishihara S.Ishihara Charts for Color Blindness. 1917.

Waardenburg PJ.Das menschlichen Auge und seine Erbanlangen. 1932.

François J.L'Hérédité en Ophtalmologie. 1958.

Franceschetti A, François J, Babel J.Les Hérédo-dégéneresences Chorio-rétiniennes. 1963.

Krill A.Hereditary Retinal and Choroidal Diseases. 1972.

Retina and Vitreous

Ramon y Cajal S.Structure of the Retina. 1894-1933.

Woods AC.Endogenous Uveitis. 1956-1961.

Gonin J.Le Décollement de la Rétine. 1934.

Meyer-Schwickerath G.Lichtkoagulation. 1959.

Schepens C.Retinal Detachment & Allied Diseases. 1983.

Cibis P.Vitreoretinal Pathology and Surgery in Retinal Detachment. 1965.

Gass JD.Stereoscopic Atlas of Macular Disease. 1970.

Shields J.Intraocular Tumors. 1983.

Ryan SJ.Retina. 1989.

Oculoplastic Surgery

Czermak W.Augenärztlichen Operationen. 1907-1908.

Meller J.Ophthalmic Surgery. 1908.

Whitnall SE.The Anatomy of the Human Orbit. 1921.

Sheehan JE.Plastic Surgery of the Orbit. 1927.

Wheeler JM.The Collected Papers of JMW. 1939.

Spaeth E.Newer Methods of Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery. 1925.

Hughes WL.Reconstructive Surgery of the Eyelids. 1943.

Stallard HB.Eye Surgery. 1946.

Fox SA.Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery. 1952.

Mustardé JC.Repair and Reconstruction in the Orbital Region. 1966.

Beard C.Ptosis. 1969.

Jones L, Wobig JL.Surgery of the Eyelids and Lacrimal System. 1976.

Henderson JW.Orbital Tumors. 1973.

Dutton J.Atlas of Clinical & Surgical Orbital Anatomy. 1994.

Ocular Anatomy and Pathology

Fuchs E.Lehrbuch der Augenheilkunde. 1889.

Parsons JH.The Pathology of the Eye. 1904-1908.

Salzmann M.Anatomie und Histologie des menschlichen Augapfels im Normalzastande, seine Entwicklung und sein Altern. 1912.

Fuchs A.Atlas of the Histopathology of Eye. 1924.

Mann IC.Development of the Human Eye. 1928.

Collins ET, Mayou MS.Pathology and Bacteriology of the Eye. 1918.

Wessely K, ed.Auge.1928-1937.

Wolff E.The Anatomy of the Eye and Orbit. 1933.

Reese A.Tumors of the Eye. 1951.

Friedenwald J, et al.Ophthalmic Pathology. 1952.

Hogan MJ, Zimmerman L.Pathology of the Eye. 1962.

Spencer W.Ophthalmic Pathology. 1985.

Hogan MJ, Alvarado JA, Weddell JE.Histology of the Eye. 1971.

*Multiple publication years indicate either a delay in finishing the set or multiple editions.

(Return to text.)

Table 2. Checklist of the 100 Books, Arranged Alphabetically by Author*

American Academy of Ophthalmology.Basic and Clinical Science Course. 1940-2000.

Adler FH.Physiology of the Eye. 1933-1992.

Albert DM, Jacobiec FA.Principles and Practice of Ophthalmology. 1994.

Alward WL.Color Atlas of Gonioscopy. 1994.

Anderson D.Testing the Field of Vision. 1982.

Arruga H.Cirugia Ocular. 1946.

Ascher K.The Aqueous Veins. 1961.

Axenfeld T.The Bacteriology of the Eye. 1908.

Beard C.Ptosis. 1969.

Becker B, Shaffer RN.Diagnosis & Therapy of Glaucomas. 1961.

Bender M.The Oculomotor System. 1964.

Berens C.The Eye and Its Diseases. 1936-1949.

Berliner ML.Biomicroscopy of the Eye. 1943-1949.

Bielschowsky A.Lectures on Motor Anomalies. 1940.

Burian H, von Noorden G.Binocular Vision & Ocular Motility. 1974.

Castroviejo R.Keratectomy & Keratoplasty. 1964.

Chandler PA, Grant WM.Lectures on Glaucoma. 1965.

Cibis P.Vitreoretinal Pathology and Surgery in Retinal Detachment. 1965.

Cogan DG.The Neurology of the Ocular Muscles. 1945.

Collins ET, Mayou MS.Pathology and Bacteriology of the Eye. 1918.

Czermak W.Augenärztlichen Operationen. 1907-1908.

Donaldson D.Atlas of External Diseases of the Eye. 1966.

Duane T.Clinical Ophthalmology. 1976.

Duke-Elder S.Textbook & System of Ophthalmology. 1941-1972.

Dulton JJ.Atlas of Clinical and Surgical Orbital Anatomy. 1994.

Eisner G.Augenchirurgie. 1973.

Elliot R.Treatise on Glaucoma. 1922.

Fedukowicz HB.External Infections of the Eye. 1963.

Fox SA.Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery. 1952.

Franceschetti A, François J, Babel J.Les Hérédo-dégéneresences Chorio-rétiniennes.

1963.

François J.L'Hérédité en Ophtalmologie. 1958.

Fraunfelder F, Roy FH.Current Ocular Therapy. 1980.

Friedenwald J, Wilder HC, Maumenee E, et al.Ophthalmic Pathology. 1952.

Fuchs A.Atlas of the Histopathology of Eye. 1924.

Fuchs E.Lehrbuch der Augenheilkunde. 1889.

Gass JD.Stereoscopic Atlas of Macular Disease. 1970.

Gonin J.Le Décollement de la Rétine. 1934.

Grant M.Toxicology of the Eye. 1962.

Grayson M.Diseases of the Cornea. 1979.

Gullstrand A.Monochromatische Aberrationen. 1900.

Henderson JW.Orbital Tumors. 1973.

Hogan MJ, Alvarado JA, Weddell JE.Histology of the Eye. 1971.

Hogan MJ, Zimmerman L.Pathology of the Eye. 1962.

Howe L.The Muscles of the Eye. 1907-1908.

Hoyt WF, Beeston D.The Ocular Fundus in Neurologic Disease. 1966.

Hughes WL.Reconstructive Surgery of the Eyelids. 1943.

Inouye T.Sehstörungen bei Schussverletzungen. 1909.

Ishihara S.Ishihara Charts for Color Blindness. 1917.

Jackson E.Skiascopy and Its Practical Application. 1895.

Jaffe N.Cataract Surgery and Its Complications. 1972.

Jones LT, Wobig JL.Surgery of the Eyelids & Lacrimal System. 1976.

Kelman C.Phacoemulsification and Aspiration: the Kelman Technique of Cataract Removal. 1975.

Kirby DB.Surgery of Cataract. 1950.

Krachmer JH, Mannis M, Holland E.Cornea. 1997.

Krill A.Hereditary Retinal and Choroidal Diseases. 1972.

Leigh J, Zee D.The Neurology of Eye Movement. 1983.

Loewenfeld IE.The Pupil. 1993.

Maddox E.Tests and Studies of Ocular Muscles. 1898.

Mandell R.Contact Lens Practice. 1965.

Mann IC.Development of the Human Eye. 1928.

May CH.Manual of Diseases of the Eye. 1900-1973.

Meller J.Ophthalmic Surgery. 1908.

Meyer-Schwickerath G.Lichtkoagulation. 1959.

Milder B, Rubin ML.The Fine Art of Prescribing Glasses Without Making a Spectacle of Yourself.1979.

Mustardé JC.Repair and Reconstruction of Orbital Region. 1966.

Norris WF, Oliver CA.System of Diseases of Eye. 1897-1900.

Obrig T.Contact Lenses. 1942.

Parsons JH.The Pathology of the Eye. 1904-1908.

Peter LC.The Extra-Ocular Muscles. 1927.

Posey WC, Spiller WG.The Eye and Nervous System. 1906.

Ramon y Cajal S.Structure of the Retina. 1894-1933.

Reese A.Tumors of the Eye. 1951.

Ryan SJ.Retina. 1989.

Salzmann M.Anatomic und Histologie des menschlichen Augapfels im Normalzastande, seine Entwicklung und sein Altern. 1912.

Schepens C.Retinal Detachment and Allied Diseases. 1983.

Scobee R.The Oculorotary Muscles. 1947.

Sheehan JE.Plastic Surgery of the Orbit. 1927.

Shields MB.Textbook of Glaucoma. 1982.

Shields J.Intraocular Tumors. 1983.

Smith H.The Treatment of Cataract. 1910.

Smith L, Glaser J.The University of Miami Neuro-ophthalmology Symposia. 1965-1980.

Spaeth E.Newer Methods of Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery. 1925.

Spalton DJ, Hitchings RA, Hunter PA.Atlas of Ophthalmology. 1984.

Spencer W.Ophthalmic Pathology. 1985.

Stallard HB.Eye Surgery. 1946.

Sugar HS.The Glaucomas. 1951.

Traquair H.An Introduction to Clinical Perimetry. 1927.

Uribe-Troncoso M.A Treatise on Gonioscopy. 1947.

Vaughan D, Asbury T.General Ophthalmology. 1958-1999.

Vogt A.Atlas of the Slit Lamp. 1921.

Waardenburg PJ.Das menschlichen Auge und seine Erbanlagen. 1932.

Walsh F.Clinical Neuro-ophthalmology. 1947.

Wessely K, ed.Auge.1928-1937.

Wheeler JM.The Collected Papers of JMW. 1939.

Whitnall SE.The Anatomy of the Human Orbit. 1921.

Wilbrand H, Saenger A.Die Neurologie des Auges. 1900-1922.

Wolff E.The Anatomy of the Eye and Orbit. 1933.

Wood C.The American Encyclopedia of Ophthalmology. 1913-1921.

Woods AC.Endogenous Uveitis. 1956-1961.

Worth C.Squint. 1903.

*Multiple publication years indicate either a delay in finishing the set or multiple editions.

(Return to text.)

Accepted for publication December 18, 2000.

Corresponding author: H. Stanley Thompson, MD, 2096 Kestrel Ridge SW, Oxford, IA 52322 (e-mail: thompson@ginniff.com).

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