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June 1964


Author Affiliations

100 York St New Haven 11, Conn

Arch Ophthalmol. 1964;71(6):879-880. doi:10.1001/archopht.1964.00970010895020

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To the Editor:  In a recent article by Dr. H. K. Messenger (Glaukoma and Glaucoma, Arch Ophthal 71:264-266, 1964), an attempt was made to set straight the origin, meaning, and pronunciation of the word "glaucoma." While the paper contained regrettably few data on which to base the author's rebuke of American ophthalmologists, it propagated historical errors; the correction of a few of them would seem in order.As a general principle, one must recognize the fact that in the evolution of scientific study a word changes its meaning according to the available data which it denotes. To Plato (n 428 bc) the word "atom" had meant something quite different than to Dalton (1808) or our Oppenheimer (1964). Similarly it comes naturally that by "glaucoma" Hippocrates understood a different state of ocular morbidity than we, and one certainly hopes that in 2,000 years hence its meaning will change again. To belittle

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