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November 1960

Hardness of the Eye and Its Measurement

Arch Ophthalmol. 1960;64(5):647-649. doi:10.1001/archopht.1960.01840010649001

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Glaucoma is a word of antiquity, probably being derived from the "glaucosis" mentioned amongst ocular affections in the Hippocratic aphorisms. No distinct clinical association with the term appears to have been understood by the ancients and the later Greco-Roman writings indicate that it merely signified—rather fancifully—a color change noticed in some blind eyes and attributed to alteration in the humors.

Confusion between cataract and other causes of blindness, which undoubtedly included glaucoma, persisted throughout the Middle Ages. It was not until the first decade of the eighteenth century that Brisseau and Maître-Jan convinced the skeptical that cataract was due to opacity of the crystalline lens and not due to filling of a hypothetical space between lens and pupil with inspissated humor. Gutta serena (blindness with a clear pupil, in contrast to gutta obscura or blindness with an opaque pupil) was thus dispossessed of its traditional site in the lens. There

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