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March 21, 1959

A History of Ophthalmology

JAMA. 1959;169(12):1396-1397. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03000290122039

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This well-written book describes the important events in the history of ophthalmology, not as isolated events but in relation to general historical developments. It is the author's contention that, with few notable exceptions, developments in ophthalmology are consequent to developments in religious, philosophical, ethical, and technical thought. The peculiar importance of vision in man's relationship to the external world makes such an approach particularly pertinent. Dr. Arrington states that in the past, because of this relationship, the eye was the meeting-ground of many disciplines including neurology, physiology, religion, and philosophy. In chapter 14, the author makes an almost impassioned appeal, which strikes a sympathetic note in this reviewer, that the ophthalmologist not lose himself in his techniques but view his specialty against an appropriate background of cultural knowledge. Furthermore, he emphasizes the importance of the individual in furthering the advances of the future and deplores the tendency in present society

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