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September 1986

A Practical Treatise on the Diseases of the Eye

Arch Ophthalmol. 1986;104(9):1282-1283. doi:10.1001/archopht.1986.01050210036018

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William Mackenzie (1791-1868) was the only son of a well-to-do family. Educated originally for the church, he deviated into medicine and was inspired to specialize in the eye by Beer of Vienna. In 1824, he founded the famous Glasgow (Scotland) Eye Infirmary and eventually became one of the foremost ophthalmologists of his era. His book A Practical Treatise on the Diseases of the Eye was the first large and comprehensive textbook of ophthalmology written in the English language. It was published in 1830 and was an immediate, outstanding success.

In the original text the 19 chapters are systematically arranged, starting anteriorly with the orbit and lacrimal apparatus and working their way back through the posterior segment. Some of the clinical observations are quite modern in concept but most are limited by the meager knowledge and therapeutic armamentarium of the period. For example, occlusion of the better eye in strabismus is

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