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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 59  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 318-319

Albrecht von graefe (1828–1870)

Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission13-Jul-2020
Date of Acceptance20-Jul-2020
Date of Web Publication09-Sep-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Gunjan Saluja
Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/tjosr.tjosr_88_20

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How to cite this article:
Saluja G. Albrecht von graefe (1828–1870). TNOA J Ophthalmic Sci Res 2021;59:318-9

How to cite this URL:
Saluja G. Albrecht von graefe (1828–1870). TNOA J Ophthalmic Sci Res [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Nov 30];59:318-9. Available from: https://www.tnoajosr.com/text.asp?2021/59/3/318/325745

Albrecht von Graefe [Figure 1] was a German ophthalmologist, scientist, and is often designated as The father of modern ophthalmology. He was born on May 22, 1828, in Finkenheerd, Brandenburg, and had medicine and ophthalmology in his genes. His father Karl Ferdinand von Graefe was an eminent professor of surgery and the director of the Ophthalmology Institute at the University of Berlin. But, unfortunately, Albrecht's father died when he was merely 12 years old, but his father remained an inspiration throughout his life.
Figure 1: Albrecht von Graefe (1828–1870) Source: Ivaniševic M, Stanic R, Ivaniševic P. Albrecht von Graefe (1828–1870) and his contributions to the development of ophthalmology. Int Ophthalmol 40, 1029–1033 (2020)

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Albrecht von Graefe received his doctorate from the University of Berlin in 1857 and continued his further studies at London, Paris, and Vienna and gained special interest in ophthalmology. Finally, in 1858, he started his practice in Berlin as an oculist and soon achieved popularity and used to treat his patients free of cost.

In 1858, he was appointed as an associate professor in the University of Berlin and was further promoted as a professor there.

Contributions by Albrecht von Graefe: In January 1854, Von Graefe started his own journal of ophthalmology, Archive fur Ophthalmologie, and in the first issue of the journal, he had contributed 394 pages of the 480 pages journal bringing him in the limelight.

It was in the Vol. 3 of this journal that von Graefe explained the pathogenesis of glaucoma, due to increased intraocular pressure. He was also the first one to show optic disc cupping in glaucoma, thus being the first to clinically utilize the direct ophthalmoscope.[1] He classified glaucoma as acute, chronic, and simple and showed the response of iridectomy in acute stages of glaucoma.

von Graefe also showed the importance of iridectomy to treat iridocyclitis.[2]

In 1860, he devised his sclerocorneal knife, popularly known as von Graefe's knife.

Moreover, there were many entities which were first described in von Graefe's journal, including central artery occlusion,[3] Neuritis nervi optici in “brain diseases,”[4] and swelling of the optic disc with increased intracranial pressure.[5]

In 1864, von Graefe described the famous von Graefe's sign.

He noted that in exophthalmos, the upper eyelid fails to follow the downward movement of the eye and was most likely due to involvement of Müller's muscle.

He described the sign to be pathognomonic of Basedow disease.[6]

von Graefe also had special interest in extraocular muscles, especially the obliques.[7],[8]

von Graefe had a very short span of 20 years in ophthalmology and succumbed to tuberculosis at a very young age of 42 years in 1870; however, in those 20 years, he made himself immortal in the field of ophthalmology.

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  References Top

Rohrbach JM. Albrecht von Graefe to William Bowman, the discovery of glaucomatous papillary excavation and newly discovered Graefe manuscripts.Klin Monatsbl Augenheilkkd 2017;234:1022-5.  Back to cited text no. 1
von Graefe A. On the iridectomy in glaucoma and the glaucomatous process. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 1857;3:456-555.   Back to cited text no. 2
von Graefe A. On embolism of the central retinal artery as the cause of sudden blindness). Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 1859;5:136-57.  Back to cited text no. 3
von Graefe A. On complication of optic neuritis with brain diseases. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 1860;7:58-71.  Back to cited text no. 4
von Graefe A. Tumor orbitae et cerebri. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 1866;12:100-14.  Back to cited text no. 5
von Graefe A. On Basedow's Disease. German clinic 1864; 16: 158-60.  Back to cited text no. 6
von Graefe A. Contributions to the physiology and pathology of the oblique eye muscles. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 1854;1:1-81.  Back to cited text no. 7
von Graefe A. Symptomlehre der Augenmuskellähmungen (Symptom Theory of Eye Muscle Paralysis). Berlin: Hermann Peters; 1867.  Back to cited text no. 8


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