Thursday, April 18, 2024
Homeinfo around the worldSomething to Know About Ophthalmology

Something to Know About Ophthalmology


The branch of medical science which deals with the anatomy, particular diseases and physiological features of the eye is referred to as "Ophthalmology." A doctor who is specialized in Ophthalmology is called an Ophthalmologist; Ophthalmologists are both medical and surgical specialists since they perform eye surgeries.

The term "Ophthalmology" is derived from the Greek terms 'ophthalmos' which means the eye and 'logia' which refers to study. It therefore quite literally is an exhaustive study of the anatomy of the eyes and the diseases which affect eyesight. The eyes of humans and those of the animal kingdom, surprisingly, have only minor differences although the functions of both are quite complex and some of the diseases that affect mankind also affect animals – eg cataract.

History of Ophthalmology

The first ever eye surgeon who left a thesis of works on eye treatments and surgeries, with detailed description of over 76 ocular diseases was Sushruta of Indian origin in about 800BC. His thesis called the Sushruta Samhita is described as the world's first ophthalmological treaty on instruments and techniques that deal with the human eye.

In general, the study of the human eye can be dated back from the pre-Hippocrates days of ancient Greece. Scholars during that time based on their anatomical concepts primarily on speculation as they had no model to base research on to arrive at true finds. Alcamaeon, a Greek scholar and a group of others believed that the eye had an outer covering, an inner layer at the center of which is the pupil and fluid that rested between the layers. It was not until the time of Aristotle that scientific research on dissected eyes of animals found that the fluid in the eye was perceived to be of a constant consistency. Later Greeks like Rufus and Galen, the physician successfully propounded the theories of the eye's anatomy – cornea, lens, retina, optic nerve, anterior and posterior chambers etc.

This study led to further detailed analysis and the earliest drawings of the human eye with several other features and functions like the sclera, choroid, ciliary body and tear ducts etc.

During this time and in later centuries, Islamic, Arabic and Persian scientists combined theory and practice to craft precision instruments to treat eye ailments. The Arab scientist, Ibn-al-Haytham wrote an extensively detailed book in 1021 named Book of Optics.

The Modern Era

The first use of hand lenses and microscopes in the 17th and 18th centuries allowed for more detailed study and provided some answers for questions that arose from each study. Francois Pourfour du Petit and Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus were able to provide at least some answers to previously unanswered questions – why does the iris fill with blood ?, why does the pupil change size ?, what is the function of the posterior chamber ?, what is the nature of the retina ?, and many others.

The 18th century Austrian ophthalmologist Georg Joseph Beer who led the First Viennese School of Medicine successfully implemented a technique for the treatment of cataracts; it was he who popularized the Beer's Knife, an instrument used to perform cataract surgery.


Source by Urvi Tandon


Most Popular