• Notable Dates in Ophthalmology - Winter 2021

    A collection of historical facts and dates, courtesy of Daniel M. Albert, MD, MS, associate editor of ophthalmic history for Scope.

    5 years ago (2016)

    One year after receiving a single injection of AAV2-hRPE65v, two patients with RPE65-mediated inherited retinal degeneration, or Leber's congenital amaurosis, were able to easily navigate a poorly lighted maze and had improved light sensitivity.

    25 years ago (1996)

    An internal review by the National Institutes of Health concluded that “gene therapy had not yet proved clinically successful and that significant problems remain in all basic aspects of gene therapy."

    Robert Machemer, MD, 1968. Courtesy of the Truhlsen-Marmor Museum of the Eye®.

    50 years ago (1971)

    Dr. Robert Machemer, (1933-2009), in Miami developed a vitreous infusion suction cutter, which proved to be a major breakthrough in the area of closed vitrectomy surgery.

    100 years ago (1921)

    Dr. Otto Barkan, (1887-1958), trained in ophthalmology in Vienna and Munich and returned to his birthplace of San Francisco, where he focused on understanding the causative mechanism and treatment of glaucoma. 

    “A Treatise on the Principal Diseases of the Eyes,” by William Rowley, 1773. The M. Wallace Friedman, MD, Rare Book Collection. Courtesy of the Truhlsen-Marmor Museum of the Eye®.

    250 years ago (1771)

    William Rowley, (1743-1806) of London, published his work, An essay on ophthalmia or inflammation of the eyes. He also published a general work on eye disease in 1773. Rowley issued a plagiarized translation of Plenck’s Doctrina de morbus oculorum in 1790, which was considered in England to be an important work and was not recognized as a plagiarism for nearly half a century.

    500 years ago (1521)

    Averroes, (Abu Al-Walid Muhammad Ibn Ahmen Ibn Rushd Al Maliki) published, "Paraphrasis De partibus et generatione  animalium nuper ex hebraico in latinum translata per magisterium jacob mantinum." It reviewed Aristotle’s work on vision and opposed the Greek emanation theory of sight that was prevalent at the time.