97th DOG Annual Meeting 1999

V276

EARLY REPORTS ON CONCAVE SPECTACLES IN THE 16th CENTURY

G. Wollensak, T. Seiler

Only in recent years, refractive surgery has made great progress in treating myopia. However, spectacles were and still are of great importance.

Material and methods: The sections about concave spectacles in the 16th century manuscripts of Joannes Archiepiscopus of Canterbury, Hollerius from Paris, Porta, Maurolycus, Mercuriali from Italy and Forestus from the Netherlands were translated from Latin and analysed.

Results: Spectacles with concave lenses were mentioned by these authors and recommended for the correction of myopia. However, the explanations for the optical effects of concave lenses were still unprecise and often based on GalenĀ“s ideas.

Conclusions: Concave lenses for the treatment of myopia were introduced in the 16th century, while convex lenses for the treatment of presbyopia had already been developed in the 14th century. The use of concave lenses was mostly empirical because the optical laws for concave lenses were not yet fully discovered and understood.

University Eye Clinic, Fetscherstr. 74, D-01307 Dresden


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