The History of Ophthalmology - The Monographs volume 9
The History of Strabismology
edited by: G.K. von Noorden
Publication details: Book. 2002. ix and 305 pages. Publication date: 2002.
OUT OF PRINTThis publication is part of the History of Ophthalmology - The Monographs series
American Orthoptic Journal 2002, vol.52, 124
The History of Strabismology is volume nine in the History of
Ophthalmology series edited by Julius Hirschberg.
A total of 21 volumes are anticipated with five more listed as "in preparation." The first eight volumes include such topics as "The Eye and Man in Ancient Egypt," "The Ophthalmoscope," "Ophthalmology of the Ancients," etc. Those "in preparation" include one by Dr. Eugene Helveston on "The Treatment of Strabismus" said to be due in 2003.
I had not been familiar with these volumes before receiving the current History of Strabismology but hope to learn more about them, and I look forward to the volume on strabismus treatment. In order to cover the topic of strabismology and its history, Dr. von Noorden has enlisted contributors from around the world and asked them to write about the history of strabismology as it relates to their part of the world. So, for example, Joseph Lang authors the chapter on "The History of European Strabismology" and Dr. Shinobu Awaya and Yoshimasa Watanabe author "The History of Strabismology in Japan." Gillian Roper-Hall, D.O.B.(T.), C.O. was asked to write the chapter on "The History of Orthoptics: A World View." The other chapters include historical discussions of strabismology ... From its Beginnings to the Middle of the 19th Century, (Hans Remky), in the United States (Eugene Helveston), Mex ico (Alberto Brown-Limon and Emma Limon de Brown), South America (Henderson Almeida and Geraldo de Barros Ribeiro), and Australia and New Zealand (William E. Gilles). Each of the chapters dealing with a specific area of the world has a wealth of information about the people and their contributions to our knowledge in this field. The history of the various organizations that are devoted to strabismus are also included in each area. The history leading to the formation of the European Strabismus Association (ESA), the International Strabismus Association (ISA), the American Orthoptic Council (AOC), the American Association of Certified Orthoptists (AACO), and the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPO&S) are all detailed. A significant effort was obviously made by the authors to find photographs or illustrations of the important contributors to the field.
I found the book to be fascinating and a "good read." I imagine it will be of greatest interest to the older members who will undoubtedly remember many of the people that are referenced, but it should also be of interest to our younger colleagues who will want to know more about their heritage in strabismology.
Dr. von Noorden and his coauthors should be congratulated on their contribution to our specialty!
British Journalof Ophthalmology, 518
For those who specialise in the treatment of ocular motility
disorders, it seems at times as though time has stood still. Compared with
the technical and surgical innovations that have characterised the modern
history of the treatment of cornea and retinal diseases, strabismologists
have continued to use techniques and instruments devised in the mid-
19th century. However, after reading von Noorden's The History of Strabismology, it becomes clear that the history of our specialtyhas been characterised by physicians and scientists possessing remarkable creativity and intellect striving to understand how the eyes move and the brain sees.
The History of Strabismology is the ninth volume of The History of Ophthalmology, a planned 21 volume series of monographs intending to comprehensively review the history of ophthalmology from ancient times to the current day. The author has chosen to review the history of strabismology not with a traditional "art through the ages" chronological approach, but rather from a geocentric approach. By enlisting prominent strabismologists from around the world as contributing authors, von Noorden allows the reader to discover how the discipline and practice of strabismology developed and evolved not just in Europe and the United States, but in countries and regions such as Mexico, Japan, South America, and Australia. In thoroughly researched and referenced chapters, the authors describe, time and again, how an ophthalmologist visiting Europe learns a technique, returns to his or her country, refines the technique and applies it to the patient population unique to his or her country. We learn of scoundrels and rogues who foist themselves on the public as miracle workers, only to be publicly exposed and discredited by ethical ophthalmologists of the day (lessons we could stand to relearn now again in the 21st century). We learn that aesthetic ideals are relative to time and place; such as the fact that in pre-Columbian times a slight degree of esotropia was found to be attractive and convergence was stimulated in infants by attaching a ball of beeswax to the child's hair to be left dangling between the eyes (vision therapy at its birth).
An often neglected but historically important discipline within the field of strabismus is the practice of orthoptics. In a carefully researched and beautifully illustrated chapter, section author Roper-Hall outlines the origins of the specialty and introduces us to the pioneering women and men who selflessly served, taught, and discovered in the clinics of the more famous titans of strabismology. Throughout the book, von Noorden takes pains to illuminate the lives and contributions of both major and minor players in the history of strabismus. The reader cannot help but see how the advancement of science in a discipline is dependent upon the close collaboration that takes place between mentor and student, doctor and patient, and clinician and scientist.
As with all the monographs in this series, the volume contains extensive illustrations, photographs and reproductions. Portraits and photographs of innovators in the field of strabismology flesh out the names we associate with instruments and techniques. Each section author provides numerous references of seminal papers on strabismus published from the corners of the globe. It is refreshing to see a book on history recognise the contributions from those outside the traditional medical centres of Europe/United Kingdom and the United States.
This book will be a valuable reference for all those who specialise in the area of strabismus and those interested in the history of ophthalmology. The illustrations and historical references will greatly enhance the quality of lectures on the topic of strabismus. Knowledge of the origins of critical thought and technical innovation concerning the aetiology and treatment of strabismus will stimulate further interest in today's students of ophthalmology. Finally, the knowledge that the pioneers of ophthalmology-von Graefe, Muller, Donders, and Helmholtz-placed the study and treatment of strabismus at an equal level of importance as the treatment of diseases of the lens, cornea, and retina servesnotice to contemporary vision scientists and ophthalmologists not to neglect this most challenging discipline of ophthalmology-strabismus.