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Eye on the Web
June 9, 2008

The Faces Behind the Eponyms

Arch Ophthalmol. 2008;126(6):846. doi:10.1001/archophthalmol.2007.63

If you ever wondered what Anton Elschnig, Karl Stargardt, Alfred Vogt, and 80 other great ophthalmologists looked like, there is a Web site with their portraits and short biographies.1 Each of their names has been immortalized by one or more names of diseases, signs, or ophthalmic instruments. Vitelliform macular degeneration is named after Friedrich Best, who studied macular degeneration in Germany. Hans Goldmann developed and refined numerous ophthalmic instruments, including the slitlamp, bowl perimeter, gonioscopes, and applanation tonometer. Robert Marcus Gunn and Douglas Moray Cooper Lamb Argyll Robertson both were Scottish ophthalmologists who described special conditions affecting the pupil. David Cogan, a 20th century American ophthalmologist and editor-in-chief of the Archives from 1960 to 1966, has a disease, a syndrome, and a sign named after him. Yoshizo Harada, a Japanese ophthalmologist, along with Yuki Koyanagi and Vogt, described a rare autoimmune multisystem disorder that bears their names. Giovanni Battista Morgagni (Figure) is the earliest scientist in the group, whose name we use to describe a hypermature cataract with a brown nucleus that sinks within liquefied cortex.

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