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July 1938


Author Affiliations

Chief Medical Officer of the Sonpur State CALCUTTA, INDIA

Arch Ophthalmol. 1938;20(1):1-15. doi:10.1001/archopht.1938.00850190013001

The early history of operations for cataract is shrouded in mystery. Many an ophthalmologist has attempted to trace it, but so far the subject has remained unsolved and the account incomplete and unconnected. Consequently, the chapter on the history of operations for cataract is uninteresting and unconvincing. Nor has the date of the inauguration of such surgical procedures been traced much earlier than the era of Christ. Permit me, then, to unveil the records of the prehistoric age.

Before 1745 A. D., when Daviel devised the capsulotomy method of cataract extraction, couching was practiced throughout Europe and Asia. Indeed, the history of operations for cataract before 1745 A. D. is equivalent to the history of couching.

Col. Henry Smith, in his famous book entitled "The Treatment of Cataract,"1 began the chapter on couching with admirable insight. His views are worth quoting. Smith wrote:

. . . Lens couching has been

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