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JOURNAL

Ophthalmology and Eye Diseases

American Insight Into Strabismus Surgery Before 1838

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Ophthalmology and Eye Diseases 2017:9 1179172117729367

Review

Published on 11 Sep 2017

DOI: 10.1177/1179172117729367


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Abstract

English surgeon John Taylor attempted to perform strabismus surgery in the 18th century. The field languished until, in Germany, treatment of strabismus by cutting an extraocular muscle was proposed by Louis Stromeyer in 1838 and performed by Johann Friedrich Dieffenbach in 1839. According to traditional teaching, there has never been any proof that anyone in the United States thought of the idea of strabismus surgery before Stromeyer’s report. In 1841, American surgeon William Gibson wrote that he had cut extraocular muscles to treat strabismus several times beginning in 1818 but never published his cases. Gibson’s former trainee Alexander E Hosack of New York confirmed Gibson’s memory. Interestingly, Hosack’s family had a connection with the family of New York oculist John Scudder Jr (1807-1843), whose reported cure of strabismus by cutting some of the fibers of an extraocular muscle was described in newspapers throughout the United States in 1837. Thus, Scudder’s report preceded that of Stromeyer. Scudder’s claim cannot be verified, but his description could have influenced Stromeyer, and demonstrates that the idea of strabismus surgery did exist in America before 1838.



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