History 3913 Paper

History 3913 Paper - Kaupke 1 Kirk Kaupke Dr Williams...

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Kaupke 1 Kirk Kaupke Dr. Williams History 3913 April 11, 2008 Living in the Dark Blindness is one of the major fears of many people, because the thought of living in the dark, being banished from society makes any human cringe. This gives valid reason why still today even the slightest eye imperfection will cause the victim to take immediate action, and also why doctors put great effort to alleviate them. 1 Today the necessary technology has been made possible to doctors and there are very few visual faults that cannot be fixed with help of eyeglasses or contacts. Aristotle began a new era in the well being of humans when he started dissecting eyes for the first time to try to discover the anatomy. Although Galen and other distinguished physicians proved many of his observations false, the process of trial and error is what led to the innovations in eye care that are experienced in the twenty-first century. The inventions of the ophthalmoscope in 1851, and subsequently the ophthalmometer in 1854, were the most significant advances in the understanding of the eye and the turning point for eye specialists as a profession. Aristotle (384-322 BCE) was the first to begin dissecting the eyes of animals and building the anatomy of the eye muscles and nerves. 2 During this time period, the thought of performing such procedures on human beings did not even cross Aristotle’s mind because of the influence of the culture. This obstacle made describing any part of the body extremely difficult. Aristotle had no prior research, of either his own or his peers, on which he based his assumptions of his discoveries of the anatomy of the eye. He 1 John Walton, Paul B. Beeson, and Ronald Bodley Scott, The Oxford Companion to Medicine (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), 942. 2 Walton, Beeson, and Scott, Oxford Companion, 942.
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Kaupke 2 named three parts of the eye of which he found to be the most important. The first outer layer was very tough and is called the sclera. The cornea is on the front part of the sclera and very transparent. The cornea refracts light and helps the eye focus. The middle layer is known as the choriod, and is comprised mostly of blood vessels. The layer that lies within the sclera and the choriod is known as the retina, which is formed of a thin clear tissue that is very brittle. 3 The extent of Aristotle’s work past this point is unclear and the work towards the anatomy of the eye is relatively stagnant until the emergence of Galen (129-214) as a prominent physician in the second and third centuries. 4 Upon Galen’s research, he found interest in the soft gel substance in the center of the eye. Galen also gave the credit of vision to the organ of the crystalline lens, solely because of the lens placement directly behind the cornea separating the aqueous humour and the vitreous humour. Galen knew nothing of the function of either the aqueous or vitreous humours and their functions would in fact not be known for many years to come. 5
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History 3913 Paper - Kaupke 1 Kirk Kaupke Dr Williams...

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