Despite the high place assigned by Aristotle to the eye as the chief organ through which objective reality is given and to sight as the most comprehensive of all the senses, from the earliest recorded times the mysteries of sight have been the wonder of men. For ages the eyeball was so imperfectly dissected and its physiology so little understood that it could not be ascertained exactly which were the recipient and which the percipient portions. All sorts of ideas prevailed. Galen's dictum that the crystalline lens is the essential element was not disproved until the middle of the sixteenth century. Leonardo likened the organ of vision to a "box," the "camera obscura," but it was Maurolyco (1494-1577) who demonstrated that sight is accomplished by means of the retina.
By about the middle of the seventeenth century optical science had so progressed that physicists became convinced that the eyeball is
CHANCE B. GEORGE BERKELEY AND "AN ESSAY TOWARDS A NEW THEORY OF VISION". Arch Ophthalmol. 1943;29(4):605–614. doi:10.1001/archopht.1943.00880160095007
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