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April 1997

The Emergence of Women in Ophthalmology

Author Affiliations

Royal Oak, Mich

Arch Ophthalmol. 1997;115(4):544-546. doi:10.1001/archopht.1997.01100150546019

This YEAR marks the 125th anniversary of women practicing ophthalmology in the United States. The thousands of pages of recorded ophthalmic history feature dedications to the "great men of ophthalmology"—Albercht Von Graefe, Theodor Leber, Ernst Fuchs, and David G. Cogan—but ignore the contributions of "great women." Women did play visionary roles in ocular pathology, physiologic optics, research, and international ophthalmology, although they were not always recognized with the same enthusiasm in the literature. In the scientific gallery of genderless first initials and masculine noms de plume, the unveiling of women pictured side by side with their male colleagues is long overdue.

In Washington, DC, Isabel Hayes Chapin Barrows inserted her calling card into the Daily Morning Chronicle in 1871,1 becoming the first "lady oculist" in the United States. She established a list of firsts during her career: first woman admitted to the University of Vienna in Austria to