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March 1989

Strabismus Surgery for Neurological Illness: The Stevens Commission 1887-1889

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center.

Arch Neurol. 1989;46(3):323-324. doi:10.1001/archneur.1989.00520390089023

• In 1887, the New York Neurological Society appointed a committee of distinguished neurologists to investigate the claim of ophthalmic surgeon George Thomas Stevens that he could cure chorea and epilepsy through correction of refractive errors and strabismus. After 21/2 years, the supervised therapeutic trial collapsed amid mutual recriminations. The commission issued a bland statement to the effect that the treatment was not curative and was insufficiently helpful to recommend. The idea of ocular reflex causation and surgical cure of "neuroses" persisted for several more decades in the face of increasing skepticism and resistance.

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