Modern Ophthalmology in North-West Germany
When in the second half of the 19th century Albrecht von Graefe began
to reform the ophthalmology in Berlin, this was soon known in all parts
of Germany, also in the duchy of Oldenburg in north-west. So Dr. Dode-Emken
Müller, a military physician in Oldenburg came to Berlin, to learn
in the courses given there by Albrecht von Graefe.
Dr. Müller was born on a farm near Jever in North-Oldenburg. He
visited the universities of Tuebingen, Wuerzburg and Giessen and subsequently
for advanced studies Zurich clinics from 1846 till 1848. In 1848 he
joined the army of Oldenburg and became a military doctor. Here at last
he was “Oberstabsarzt”. In 1856 he opened a private clinic
for ophthalmology in Oldenburg. But as military doctor he was depending
on the political events of his time. So he had to take part in the wars
at the time. After the war between Germany and France 1870/71 he had
to stay in France with wounded soldiers till 1873. He again began with
his ophthalmologic clinic, that in the meantime has gone back. Till
1894 he was commander of the military hospital and doctor of the ducal
family. In 1896 Dr. Müller suddenly died on a visit, still working
at an age of 74 in the hospital of the protestant church. His son Prof.
Paul Müller-Kaempf was a landscape-painter. He has founded the
artist village of Ahrenshoop on the Baltic sea near the island Ruegen.
Dr. med. Heinz Fischer,
Bahnhofstr. 47, D-49661 Cloppenburg
An Old Ophthalmologist Reports
About the resumption of medical education at the Julius-Maximilians-University
after world war II.
Dr. med. Josef Haslbeck,
Karl-Speier-Str. 41, D-92318 Neumarkt
The Invention of Contact Lenses by August Müller (1887–89)
In his Inaugural-Dissertation of February 28, 1889, representing his
doctorate thesis at the Medical Faculty of Kiel University, August Müller
described the results of his studies, which he took up in 1887 on the
dioptric correction of his myopia by means of contact lenses.
August Müller deposited lenses in 1937 to the Deutsche Museum
in Munich. These lenses correspond to those ones described by him in
his doctorate thesis.
An account of the life history of August Müller (1864-1949) is
Dr. med. Dr. phil.
R. F. Heitz, 23 A rue Trubner, F-67000 Strasbourg
Carl Ernst Theodore Schweigger – On His Life and Work
Carl Ernst Theodore Schweigger was born on October 28th 1830 at Halle/Saale.
He descended from a family famous for science. His father was the well-known
professor of chemistry and physics, the creator of the galvanometer.
C. Schweigger studied medicine in Erlangen and in Halle too. After his
thesis in 1852 he became a medical assistant by Peter Krukenberg. The
fields of his special interest were the auscultation and percussion.
In 1856 Carl Schweigger went to Heinrich Müller in Wuerzburg to
learn the anatomic-pathologic microscopic investigation of the eye.
This work made him enthusiastic about ophthalmology. Then he moved to
Albrecht von Graefe in Berlin, one of the famous ophthalmologists at
the time, for specialization in ophthalmology and working with him for
six years. In 1864 Schweigger made a study trip to Utrecht, London and
New York. Having come back to Berlin he practised as ophthalmologist
in the town. In 1868 he was appointed professor of ophthalmology at
the Goettingen university, and in 1871 for the same function at the
Charité of the university in Berlin as successor of his deceased
teacher A. v. Graefe. The chairmanship of the department of ophthalmology
he carried out 28 years. In 1881 was the opening ceremony of the newly
built eye clinic at the Ziegelstrasse.
His extensive scientific work contains numerous topics – the
microscopic pathology of the eye, the cataract operations, and the strabismus,
the ophthalmoscope technique of the examination, the glaucoma’s,
visual card tests, the relationship between general and eye diseases
and others. His manual of special eye diseases was examplary for many
further textbooks. Since 1882 he was the co-editor of the Archiv der
Augenheilkunde by Knapp and Schweigger. By reason of his proceeding
muscular dystrophy he prematurely resigned the chair. He died on August
24th 1905. On the occasion of the 100th day of his death we will appreciate
the achievements in ophthalmology by Carl Schweigger.
Prof. Dr. med. Jutta
Herde, Univ.-Augenklinik, Ernst-Grube-Str. 40,
About the Eye of Horus
At the beginning there was the myth, the story of Osiris and Isis,
the fight between Seth and Horus, in which Horus lost one eye. More
than 4000 years ago, for the first time there were written records testifying
the story in the so called text of the pyramids on the walls of five
pyramids of Saqqara. The "Eye of Horus" became the "Sacred
Eye" called Udjat. In the pictorial representation, which is typical
for its recurrence form. In the Middle Kingdom, the Udjat was painted
for the first time on the coffins and later on in the New Kingdom it
was frequently painted in the tombs of Theban Necropolis. lt is to be
seen on the walls, false doors, steles, barks, as a part of exquisite
jewellery and on vignettes of the "Egyptian Book of Death",
which is a source for understanding the various meanings of the "Eye
of Horns". The different meanings and their evolution till date
are especially discussed in this paper. Today, we find the Udjat as
a souvenir and in a modified logo-form on prescriptions of American
Prof. Dr. med. Gerhard
Holland, Esmarchstr. 51, D-24105 Kiel
Discovery of Ocular Onchocerciasis in Africa and Central America
The first persons to mention ocular onchocerciasis were Rodolfo Robles
and Pancheco-Luna in Guatemala in 1915/1916. Ophthalmic symptoms and
signs were marked in the Triassic, also known as ‘Morbus Robles’:
1. Filarial worm infection of an adult Onchocerca in America, 2. Erisipela
de la costa, red skin inflammation of the coast, a skin disease located
on the face, 3. Conjunctivitis and iritis of the anterior segment of
the eye. The early investigators of onchocerciasis from 1874–1930
in Africa made no mention at all of concomitant severe eye disease.
Publications of the observations in Central America by Rodolfo Robles
and Émile Brumpt in 1917/1919 prompted some specialists in tropical
medicine to look for eye disease associated with African onchocerciasis.
However, there did not seem to be any eye disease leading to blindness.
Only Ouzilleau and his colleagues recorded in 1921 that one of the 16
infected persons of 27 inhabitants they had found in a village near
Brazzaville had keratitis.
It was not until 1930/1931 that Jean Hissette reported that 20% of
patients with onchocerciasis were blind in an onchocerciasis focus on
the Sankuru river in the Belgian Congo, and that 50% of the villagers
suffered from eye troubles. Two years later, he found a second focus
with the same pathology on the Uéle river. Hissette described
the pathomechanism of this blindness in a long paper in 1932 and in
addition to a description of anterior eye disease, he drew attention
to an association with chorioretinitis. Two years later the Harvard
African Expedition to the Belgian Congo under Richard Pearson Strong
with five American colleagues was organized at Belgium expense. His
members had to check Dr. Jean Hissette’s reports because there
were doubts about his findings. Confronted by this commission in the
form of the Harvard African Expedition, Hissette traveled once more
to the Sankuru with the Americans as seventh member of the expedition
and showed them "his" river blindness patients. The Americans
finally confirmed all the observations on river blindness caused by
onchocerciasis in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine (1938) that
had already been communicated by Hissette (1932).
Hissette’s findings prompted renewed efforts to find ocular complications
of onchocerciasis in other parts of Africa, now known as river blindness.
In 1944, Harold Ridley found that slightly more than one third of patients
with onchocerciasis in a region of the Gold Coast (Ghana) had evidence
of either anterior or posterior disease of the eye, with nearly half
of them being blind or nearly blind. Ridley’s monograph Ocular
onchocerciasis (1945) was of considerable success in river blindness
Prof. Dr. med. Guido
Kluxen, Brückenweg 1, D-42929 Wermelskirchen
The "Club of the Anomals"
The ophthalmologists working for the German Railway around 1912 were
already equipped with the Anomaloscope constructed by Nagel in 1905
for the quantitative registration of colour perception malfunction.
So those ophthalmologists ironically called themselves "Club of
Since the middle of the 19th century medical care by railway doctors
had been given to the employees of the German railways before they amalgamated
to form the "Deutsche Reichsbahn" in 1924. Only towards the
end of the 19th century people began to realize the necessity of examining
and monitoring eyesight especially of train drivers.
As a result additional ophthalmologists were employed to provide permanent
eye care for railway personnel. They contributed their knowledge of
the function of the eye to industrial medical care and to the safety
of rail traffic. Thus at an early stage they also opened up an area
of practical importance for ophthalmology going beyond curative medicine.
It was (these) well – known ophthalmologists who set the standards
which are still used today by the railway.
The present-day traffic ophthalmology, including far more now than
just rail traffic, is closely linked in its development with this early
sphere of industrial
Dr. med. Peter Kober,
Zamenhof-Weg 4, D-58332 Schwelm
Wuerzburg – Peak of His Career: Carl von Heß (1863–1923)
Carl von Heß died in Munich in the year 1923 as holder of the
chair of ophthalmology at the universitiy of the Bavarian capital. But
the peak of his career were the twelve years before, which Heß
spent in Wuerzburg. The scientific results of this excellent ophthalmologist
will be honoured in the lecture.
Kirchgasse 6, D-97291 Thüngersheim
Ophthalmology Seen with the Eyes of a Caretaker – Notes on the
Wuerzburg University Ophthalmologic Clinic in Otto Seidel's diary
The diaries, memories and photos by Otto Seidel (1890–1976) constitute
an unusual and insightful document on the history of the Wuerzburg University
Ophthalmologic Clinics at the Roentgenring (today Pleicherring). After
grammar school, different jobs and military service at the Wuerzburg
Infantry Regiment, Seidel was employed as caretaker, factotum and laboratory
assistant in 1913, moved into the caretaker's apartment in 1929 and
worked there until his retirement in 1955. He proves to be an attend
and critic chronicler of the clinic and its directors: Everyday life
of the provisional military hospital during both World Wars, instruction
of the medical students and research activities as well as the fate
of the building after the air raids from March 1945 are described lively
and with many details.
Dr. med. Andreas
Mettenleiter, Institut für Geschichte der Medizin,
Oberer Neubergweg 10a, D-97074 Würzburg
Johannes Ohm (1880–1961), Hirschberg's Student to be Remembered
for His Work on Squint
Julius Hirschberg, under whom Johannes Ohm worked in Berlin during
the years of 1905–1907, awakened his interest in the research
of ocular motility diseases. In 1908, Ohm established his ophthalmology
practice for mine-employees in Bottrop and continued his research on
nystagmus with a particular focus on nystagmus contracted by miners.
Additionally, his research on strabismus contributed significantly to
a better understanding of this ailment.
He also developed several diagnostic devices, among which are the lever-arm
nystagmograph, a recorder for the field of fixation, a double ophthalmoscope,
and an objective test for visual acuity. During his research on squinters
he recognized: (i) early childhood horizontal and vertical gaze deviations
and nystagmus (today called early childhood strabismus); (ii) special
forms of oblique strabismus (today discriminated in respect to the horizontal
and vertical outer field of fixation); (iii) late occurring strabismus
and nystagmus (today normosensoric delayed strabismus). Furthermore,
he found that amblyopic eyes exhibit unique features of optokinetic
nystagmus and its extinction by a near-threshold fixation mark.
Some of his concepts of coordinated binocularity control were not accepted
by the scientific community. For instance, he attributed disturbance
of binocularity to a dysfunction of the "main oculomotoric controller",
which he assumed to be in the nucleus vestibularis, and regarded it
to be the "origin of strabismus". He used the concept of “lateralization”
with predominance of one eye to explain abnormal correspondence on the
one hand, and the result of the struggle between opposing and equal
traction forces to explain strabismus on the other hand.
Through his accomplishments in nystagmus and strabismus research, he
bestowed great credit upon his mentor, Julius Hirschberg.
Prof. em. Dr. med.
Hans-Felix Piper, Im Brandenbaumer Feld 32, D-23564 Lübeck
Ocular Immunology: 1903–1912
„Ursprünglich, d. h. vor etwa dreissig Jahren, bildete die
Bakteriologie einen winzigen Abschnitt der Botanik“ Robert Koch
said in his inaugural lecture to the Academy of Science in Berlin 1909.
Together with the fulminantly developing of bacteriology in the last
quarter of the XIXth century Immunology had its origin; the phenomena
of immunity was clarified by the work of Emil von BEHRING (1890) and
of Paul EHRLICH. Humeral and cellular theories of Ilja METSCHNIKOFF
and of Paul EHRLICH (side chain theory) were competing.
In 1902 Charles RICHET and Paul PORTIER defined the tern "anaphylaxie",
in 1903 Clemens Frhr. von PIRQUET introduced the term "allergy".
In 1903 the monographs "Immunität bei Infektionskrankheiten"
of METSCHNIKOFF and "Die Antikörper" of Emil Frhr. von
DUNGERN were published.
E. von DUNGERN described, in the last section of his book, the intraocular
formation of Antibodies. In the same year Paul UHLENHUTH reported on
the organ specificity of lens Protein in the Festschrift for the 60th
birthday of Robert KOCH. Knowing the particularities of the eye and
ocular barriers research of the Immunology of the eye began with increasing
efforts; in 1981 Gilbert SMOLIN and G. Richard O'CONNOR cited 305 references
alone for a general introduction of the monography "Ocular Immunology"!
The Antibodies in the anterior chamber, Anaphylactic reactions and
Organ specificity of ocular tissues belonged to the major scientific
topics between 1903 and 1912. E. von DUNGERN proved in 1903 in animals,
Alfred LEBER in 1906 in humans the intraocular formation of antibodies;
sometimes cameral concentration exceeded those of serum and, in studies
of Franz SCHIECK were detected earlier than in serum. The principle
of comparing serology of Hans GOLDMANN in 1953 is based on these facts.
Anaphylactic reactions were examined by Charles NICOLLE in 1908, Carl
HUBERT SATTLER in 1909, R. KUMMELL and by Karl WESSELY in 1911, resulting
in important knowledge for various ocular diseases.
Organ specific antibodies against lens protein were found by Carl HESS
and Paul RÖMER in 1905 speculating on an important role in cataract
formation. These authors also determined antibodies against retinal
rods (macular degeneration?). In 1910/11 Anton ELSCHNIG discovered antibodies
against the uveal pigment epithelium and concluded a new hypothesis
of sympathic ophthalmia; his fellow Ernst KRAUPA described antibodies
against corneal stroma.
In 1910 Walther LÖHLEIN proposed an active immunisation before
keratoplasty indicating Future trials which finally ended with the Nobel
prize of Peter Brian MEDAWAR.
Results an theories of science between 1903 and 1912 were presented
without claiming Completeness.
Prof. Dr. med. Hans
Remky, Biedersteinerstr. 57, D-80802 München
The Scientific Work of Theodor Axenfeld, Professor in Rostock
Theodor Paul Polykarpos Axenfeld was born in Smyrna (June 24th, 1867).
His father was a protestant pastor. Theodor Axenfeld grew up in Bad
Godesberg, passed his final school examination ("Abitur")
in Bonn (1885) and studied in Bonn medicine (1885 to 1890). Then he
worked at several University Institutes (Physiology, Pathology and Bacteriology)
and was a medical assistant at the University Eye Hospital in Marburg
(1894). In Marburg he passed the faculty examination ("Habilitation")
in 1896. The topic of his work for this examination was "On purulent
metastatic ophthalmia". Then he changed to the University Eye Hospital
in Breslau and was appointed as Professor of Ophthalmology in Rostock
(1897) and in Freiburg (1901). Numerous publications which were noted
in the international world, gave evidence of his considerable and precise
scientific activity. He was known as a well-informed physician, experienced
surgeon and a qualified and efficient scientist who enjoyed common popularity.
He communicated with many colleagues in the international ophthalmological
world. Many of his assistants came from abroad. His main field of interest
was bacterial ocular disease and, in addition, he was occupied with
themes concerning general ophthalmology such as diseases of the anterior
eye segment, glaucoma, surgical techniques, neuro-ophthalmological,
retinal and orbital diseases. He wrote several important books. His
name is still known today in connection with several eye diseases (Embryotoxon
corneae posterius; "Axenfeld-Anomaly" and "Axenfeld-Schurenberg
syndrome"). He discovered the diplobacterium Haemophilus lacunatus
("Morax-Axenfeld" bacterium) and described a change in the
anterior eye segment which was called "Axenfeld-loop" ("Axenfeld-Schlinge").
Prof. Dr. med. Dieter
Schmidt, Univ.-Augenklinik, Killianstr. 5, D-79106 Freiburg
About the Painter Edgar Degas' Retina Disease (1834–1917)
Edgar Degas, a very important artist of the 19th century, had for a
painter unusual weak eyes. When he was forty, his problems with his
eyes increased dramatically, due to a retina disease. Finally he was
forced to reduce his painting tremendously. Since 1890 he mainly focused
San.-Rat Dr. med.
Gottfried Vesper, Harnackstr. 9, D-04317 Leipzig
Ernst Alban – Ophthalmologist and Steam Machine Engineer
Ernst Alban was born on 7/2/1791 in Neubrandenburg. Already in his
childhood he was interested in mechanical problems like the build-up
of wind mills. In 1810 he started studying theology in Rostock. At the
time he also wrote a tragedy about “Aeneas in Carthage”.
In 1811 he turned to studying medicine first in Rostock, then Berlin,
Greifswald and Göttingen where he also attended Himly´s lectures.
In 1815 he opened a private office in Rostock where he specialized in
ophthalmology. In 1816 he wrote his habilitation on the treatment of
eyes by people without medical education. From 1815 to 1817 he was able
to teach ophthamology at the university of Rostock. He also operated
successfully on 72 cataracts. Stimulated by the success of steam engines
in England, Alban started to work on high pressure steam engines and
finally went to England in 1825 to gain more experience. In 1827 Alban
moved to Stubbendorf near Rostock where he developed various new ideas
for steam egines, hydraulic presses, mills, and drilling machines most
of which he published in Dingler´s Polytechnisches Journal. In
1829 he established the first mechanical factory of Mecklenburg in Klein
Wehnendorf where he built farming machines. In 1840 he built a new big
mechanical factory in Plau where he produced high pressure steam engines,
textile machines, fire brigade pumps, tool and farming machines. In
1845 his steam-driven wheel-boat “Alban” was finished and
used on the Plauer See. On 13/6/1856 Ernst Alban died due to recurrent
PD Dr. med. Gregor
Wollensak, Wildentensteig 4, D-14195 Berlin