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July 1956

Notes on the Life and Work of George Bartisch

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles

AMA Arch Ophthalmol. 1956;56(1):57-70. doi:10.1001/archopht.1956.00930040063009

A few observations on the activities of George Bartisch, that sixteenth century surgeon and ophthalmologist, might not only stimulate interest in a great personality but emphasize a few of the actualities of medical practice in his time. The sixteenth century saw speculation yielding to exact observation, with a multiplicity of facts rapidly replacing fiction and superstition.* It was then that the daring discoveries of Vesalius and Harvey, the pioneer work of Paré, the tremendous labors of Leonardo da Vinci and Paracelsus were blazing a trail through the darkness into the light of modern science. Bartisch's appearance on the German scene gave an encouraging impetus to the advancement of ophthalmic surgery. The title of "father of modern ophthalmology" bestowed upon him by medical historians appears well deserved.

Conforming to the prevailing practice, surgeons traveled extensively, offering their arts and exhibiting their skills. Most of them, however, never attained any particular prominence,