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January 1984

The History of Ophthalmology: I. Antiquity

Arch Ophthalmol. 1984;102(1):29. doi:10.1001/archopht.1984.01040030015011

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In his standard medical history, An Introduction to the History of Medicine, Fielding H. Garrison described Julius Hirschberg's volumes The History of Ophthalmology (Geschichte der Augenheilkunde) as being the "most complete and scholarly history of his science which has ever been written." Most medical historians would maintain that it is the most complete and scholarly history that exists for any subspecialty in medicine. Indeed, all of the shorter subsequent histories of ophthalmology available in English, from Shastid's massive chapter in the American Encyclopedia of Ophthalmology, to Burton Chance's Clio Medica edition of Ophthalmology, through Duke Elder's vignettes on the history of ophthalmology in his Textbook and System, to Gorin's recent History of Ophthalmology, draw heavily on this work.

Why then have ophthalmologists and students of the history of medicine had to wait nearly three quarters of a century for a translation of this work into English? The reason, I believe,

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