17th Annual Meeting Abstracts - 2004


Titles marked with a P* are available in the Proceedings volume for the year of presentation.  Contact Jenny Benjamin, at the Museum of Vision (jbenjamin@aao.org) for further information.

Papers noted as being “Published as…” may not be identical to the Cogan Society presentation or the content in the Proceedings volumes.

Arthur von Hippel and the Trephine that “Revolutionized” Corneal Transplantation
Mark J. Mannis

Arthur von Hippel, one of the luminaries of 19th and early 20th century European ophthalmology, was a champion of both xenografting and lamellar corneal surgery and can be credited as the first to transplant corneal tissue in a human with retained transparency of the graft. His most memorable and, perhaps, lasting contribution to the field of corneal surgery was the invention of the mechanized clockwork trephine. A clever, automated device, the instrument altered corneal transplantation forever and remains, even 150 years later, the design prototype on which most subsequent trephines have been modeled.


Dr. J. Ball and His Patent Eye Cups:
An Early Proponent of Reshaping the Cornea for Correction of Refractive Errors
Andrew P. Ferry

On April 22, 1851, Jonathan B. Ball received his patent for a “Means of Renovating and Correcting Sight,”,a pair of eye cups attached to rubber suction bulbs. The concept was that presbyopia was caused by diminished convexity of the cornea with aging. Application of suction to the eye was said to raise the corneal convexity to its original height. With respect to myopia, the concept was that the cornea was too steep. This was treated by fitting the eye cups with ebony inserts, which projected anteriorly when the rubber bulbs were compressed. The eye cups were eventually advertised for a variety of ocular diseases, including cataracts, glaucoma, and the like.


Green Cataract
Robert C. Drews

The finding of “green cataract” was well known in the 16th to 18th centuries. Then, in 1830 Mackenzie declared that this was not due to cataract but in reality a type of absolute glaucoma. (He was not the first…) As happens even in the language of science, the very term changed its meaning. Even today, the phrase grünen starr in German means glaucoma. Were the old observers deceived? The story is an intriguing one. I will report my own observations and opinions.


Oculofacial Plastic Surgery Subspecialization. Past, Present and Future
David M. Reifler

In 1994, the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS) celebrated its 25th anniversary and reviewed the intersection of ophthalmology and plastic surgery. Ten years later, the Council of the American Academy of Ophthalmology is scheduled to vote on a petition of the ASOPRS seeking support for the establishment of an American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO) Subspecialty Certificate in Advanced Oculofacial Plastic Surgery. A review of the history of the subspecialty, some aspects of the current debate, and possible future scenarios involving this subspecialty and ophthalmology will be considered.


The Life and Times of A. Cecil Alport (1880 – 1959)
Norman B. Medow

Arthur Cecil Alport is well remembered for Alport Syndrome: hereditary nephropathy, neuro-sensory hearing loss and a variety of ocular abnormalities, including retinal opacities and anterior lenticonus. In 1937 Alport accepted the Chair as Professor of Medicine at the University of Cairo Medical School. Over the next 6 years he was confronted with pervasive corruption and dishonesty within the medical facilities in Egypt resulting in substandard patient care, medical education and management. We follow Alport's fight for reform, his dogged determination and the lack of support from his colleagues both locally and abroad.


Sir Norman Gregg and the Rubella Virus
Don Manley

In 1941 in Sydney, Australia, two mothers brought babies into the clinic who had congenital cataracts, and both revealed they had had rubella infections during their pregnancies. Gregg gathered together 78 children who had been born with congenital cataracts in early 1941 and recognized that rubella contracted during the first trimester of pregnancy can result in cataracts, deafness and anomalies of the heart and other organs. His discovery was the first example of external environmental influences on the developing fetus, and ushered in the modern science of teratology.


Aviation Medicine and Ophthalmology
Steven A. Newman

One hundred years ago the Wright brothers ushered in the era of powered manned flight. Five years later a young army lieutenant riding with the Wrights became the first fatality of powered engine aircraft. The allies and Germans rapidly established criteria for pilot training. Many of the criteria involved visual function and were probably responsible for washing out more candidates for pilot training than any other. Many of these were entirely arbitrary with no physiologic basis. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of powered flight we will trace the history of aviation medicine as it pertains to ophthalmology.


History of Mirrors Dating Back ca. 8000 years Before the Present (BP)
Jay M. Enoch

The first known mirror (black volcanic glass) was recovered from a grave in Çatal Hüyük in Anatolia (northern modern Turkey, near modern Konya), dated ca 8000 BP (6000-5900 BCE. The next mirrors were recorded from Southern Mesopotamia, Uruk (Tello) in late 4th - early 3rd Millennium BCE, and from other Mesopotamian sites, or from Egypt. In Egypt, for some period of time, prior to 3200 BCE wetted smooth stones and mica was employed. From 3200 BCE onward, copper or bronze mirrors were found there. Chinese mirrors have been attributed to the Xia Dynasty (21st- 16th Centuries BCE).


David Rittenhouse:
George Washington's Optician & The First United States Mint Director
Jay M. Galst

David Rittenhouse. 1732-1796, one of America's foremost scientists and patriots of the 18th century, was called upon by George Washington to become the first director of the United States Mint. He was well qualified for the position, having been a clockmaker, surveyor, mathematician and astronomer. Rittenhouse was also one of the first opticians in America. In 1783, he fabricated spectacles and reading glasses as a gift for George Washington. Examples of the spectacles that he made are unknown today, but examples of his clocks and telescopes still survive, as does his legacy as the first Director of the U.S. Mint.


Wenzels, Father and Son: Oculists to King George III and Napoleon
William S. Tasman

Baron Michael Johann Baptist de Wenzel (1724-90) succeeded Chevalier Taylor in 1772 as oculist to the King of England. He wrote virtually nothing, but to his credit the senior Wenzel adopted Daviel’s procedure and even improved upon it. The younger Wenzel got his medical degree in Paris in 1779. He later became a member of the Académie de Médecine and, as such, a member of the medical establishment, a feat his father failed to achieve. This presentation will present documentation that the younger Wenzel was Napoleon’s oculist.


Retinal Photography Atlases of the 20th Century
Patrick J. Saine

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Helmholtz ophthalmoscope, Keyes and Rucker (1950) released a bibliography of ophthalmoscopy atlases that had been published to date. Most of the books on their list were collections of retinal paintings. This presentation updates Keyes and Rucker's bibliography by describing the retinal photography atlases of this past century. The year 2003 is the centenary of the first retinal photography monograph (Thorner, 1903). In another 50 years, the bicentennial update of the Keyes and Rucker bibliography will likely include electronic media as well as the traditional bound book.


The Third Eye
G. Richard O'Connor

When birds and mammals veered off from the phylogenetic tree that had produced the reptiles, they lost their third eye, a mid-line sensory organ. They have a pineal body instead, whose function is to provide some adaptation to the changes of night and day. The pineal is thought to have been discovered by Galen in the second century A.D. Descartes thought it was the seat of the soul. Buddhist monks of Tibet performed trephinations of the skull to provide special powers of clairvoyance. Mammalian pineal bodies contain "pinopsin", analogous to the "visual purple" or rhodopsin in human eyes, and they secrete melatonin under conditions of darkness.


Monet Through his Own Eyes: Visual and Artistic Effects of his Cataract (Snyder lecture)
Michael F. Marmor

Monet had cataracts diagnosed in 1912, but refused surgery until January 1923 by which time his visual acuity was 20/200 and his color sense was greatly blunted. Through computer simulations we can look at his garden and his paintings as he might have seen them during this decade. The results are quite intriguing and give insight into why and how his work took on remarkable new freedoms of "abstraction" and color. After surgery Monet returned to earlier techniques as he finished the great water lily canvases that line the walls of the Orangerie in Paris.


Two Early Cases of Cortical Blindness
Ronald S. Fishman

These are the two earliest instances of cortical blindness that I know of, one involving Alexander the Great and one involving a nameless beggar in the17th century, as observed by Hermann Boerhaave.


On the History of So-called Static Ocular Counterrolling
Robert Jampel

It is almost universally believed that when the head is tilted to the horizon a partial static counter-rolling (OCR) occurs to compensate for retinal image rotation. This has been attributed to an effect of gravity on the otolith organs of the vestibular apparatus. I developed an image-based system (VOG) and an apparatus to maintain the retina and brain in synchrony while allowing the head to tilt freely. I found that during head tilt there was no static OCR. This paper traces the origins of our understanding of ocular kinematics and explains my disagreement with the majority of ocular motor and vestibular physiologists.


Silas Weir Mitchell, M.D. (1829-1914):
Neuro-ophthalmology and The American Civil War
Richard W. Hertle

This paper will discuss the life of Silas Weir Mitchell and contributions to ophthalmology resulting from his experiences during the American Civil War. He was put in charge of Turner’s Lane Hospital in Philadelphia, a 400-bed army hospital for nervous diseases. He went to Gettysburg and brought back carloads of wounded and took careful notes, wrote detailed case studies, and published the results of their findings in numerous articles and books, including Reflex Paralysis (1864). The most important work to result from studies of these soldiers was Gunshot Wounds and Other Injuries of Nerves in which the first reference is made to “causalgia.” Later in life, Mitchell devoted his attention to writing novels and poetry.


The History of Neuro-ophthalmology at Mayo Clinic
Jackie Leavitt

Neuro-ophthalmology practitioners at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN from 1917 to the present are reviewed. Early neuro-ophthalmologists at Mayo were heavily involved in the American Academy of Ophthalmology as well the American Ophthalmologic Society. Dr. Thomas P. Kearns and Dr. Robert W. Hollenhorst both still live in Rochester and were interviewed for the paper. Their legacies include the Kearns-Sayre syndrome, venous stasis retinopathy and the Hollenhorst plaque.


Oral Tradition, Ayurveda and Modern Medicine
V.K. Raju

The oral tradition was more highly cultivated in India than in any other country. The sacred books of Hindus are still the canons of Hinduism. Vedic hymns are still recited, old rites still performed and the classics of medicine are printed and commented upon, not only as historical documents but for the instruction of physicians. Glimpses of oral tradition of India and subsequent expansions in Ayurveda will be presented.


A Close Look At The History And Facts Of Ginkgo Biloba And Bilberry
Sayoko E. Moroi

Ginkgo biloba extract, which is derived from the dried ginkgo leaf, has become a very popular herbal supplement for its potential benefit in certain eye disorders and alleviating symptoms associated with peripheral vascular disease, dementia, asthma, and tinnitus. Bilberry (Vaccinium uliginosum) is another supplement that is used for potential improvement in night vision, inflammatory conditions, and circulation. The history and facts behind these common and popular supplements will be discussed.


The Ophthalmic Clerihew
H. Stanley Thompson

"A clerihew is a humorous pseudo-biographical quatrain, rhymed as two couplets, with lines of uneven length more or less in the rhythm of prose. The name of the subject usually ends the first or, sometimes, the second line, and the humor of the clerihew should be whimsical rather than satiric". The Poet's Manual and Rhyming Dictionary Frances Stillman


Representations of Blindness from Picasso's Blue Period
James G. Ravin and Jonathan Perkins

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was the most important artist of the 20th century, and it is impossible to think of modern art without him. The theme of blindness played a large role in his first distinctive style, the Blue Period of1901-1904. La Celestina has an opaque cornea and The Old Guitarist has an atrophic orbit, but the ocular abnormality painted in The Blind Man's Meal is uncertain. Despite a century of critical commentary, the full meaning of these paintings remains unknown, and Picasso himself never gave clear answers to questions about them.

Published as: Ravin JG, Perkins J. Representations of blindness in Picasso’s Blue Period. Archives of Ophthalmology 2004; 122:636-9. PMID 15078683


Page last updated February 11, 2019