Ophthalmology—the first of the medical specialties—owes much to the practitioners of Philadelphia. It took many years, however, before in this city the "specialty" reached a status sufficiently secure to receive the dignified support of the medical profession, as well as the respect of the community, enabling it to go on and on to maintain, nationally and internationally, its place in the science of medicine.
Until after the middle of the eighteenth century in this country, just as in England and on the Continent, diseased eyes were treated by itinerant quacks, or by those who, by self-teaching, from their own experience or from what they had learned somewhere in Europe acquired more or less skilful ability to relieve sufferers from ocular disease. Such persons were known as "oculists," to be regarded with suspicion and aversion by the regular physicians, both in this country and in England, so that until about the
CHANCE B. A SKETCH OF THE EARLY DAYS OF OPHTHALMOLOGY IN PHILADELPHIA. Arch Ophthalmol. 1937;18(1):23–45. doi:10.1001/archopht.1937.00850070035003
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