The word ophthalmology has its roots in the Greek language, where ophthalmos means "eye" and logos means "thought or discourse."
CHICAGO, IL, August 01, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The word ophthalmology has its roots in the Greek language, where ophthalmos means "eye" and logos means "thought or discourse." Therefore, ophthalmology quite literally means "the science of the eyes." An ophthalmologist is a medical specialist who studies the anatomy, physiology, and diseases of the eye in order to diagnose and treat eye disorders and other conditions.
Early Developments in Ophthalmology
All the way back in 800 BC, Sushruta - an Indian surgeon - wrote a document in Sanskrit that described over 75 different ocular diseases, as well as surgical techniques and instruments to treat them. Sushruta has been hailed as the world's first cataract surgeon.
Before Hippocrates, people mostly based their concept of the eye's anatomy on speculation. They recognized the cornea as the outer coating of the eye and the pupil as its inner layer, with a fluid at the center of the eye. At that point, it was believed that this "eye fluid" transmitted vision to the brain through a tube.
Aristotle was the first to apply empiricism to these ideas. After dissecting animal eyes, he discovered three layers instead of two, and found that the surrounding layers of the eyes were juxtaposed. Along with his contemporaries, Aristotle postulated that three tubes led from the eye to the brain, not one.
Over the centuries, further discoveries were made that proved the eye was increasingly more complex than people assumed.
Introducing New Technology
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, physicians began to develop devices and instruments that enabled them to more accurately study the eye, including:
- Hand lenses
- Methods of fixing the eye for study
- Methods of freezing the eye
Great Britain's first ophthalmic surgeon was John Freke, who was appointed to his position in 1727 at St. Bartholomew's Hospital. The first dedicated ophthalmic hospital was established in 1805; it is now known as Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, England. Moorfields became a hub for ophthalmic research, enabling clinical developments that have paved the way for modern ophthalmology.
Modern advancements in the techniques, technology, and instrumentation used by ophthalmologists have led to innovations such as Laser Vision Correction. Each year, more and more people seek out LASIK eye surgery - along with other refractive surgeries like PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) - to improve their vision and reduce their dependence on glasses and contact lenses. Meanwhile, common procedures like cataract surgery have become more efficient, effective, and safe than ever.
If you would like more information about ophthalmology, please visit the website of the experienced Chicago ophthalmologist Dr. Mark Golden at Doctors For Visual Freedom at www.doctorsforvisualfreedom.com.
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