Stamps on Cataract
(click on the stamp for an enlarged picture)
Cataract is one of the most common causes of blindness worldwide. The earliest document of cataract surgery is derived from  ancient Hindu medicine in the teachings of Susrata some 2000 years ago. The technique was called couching and involved displacement of the lens into the vitreous cavity, thus clearing the visual axis. In this technique, the sclera was perforated with a sharp instrument and  a blunt instrument was inserted through the scleral incision and the cataractous lens was pushed backward. The modern technique of extracapsular cataract extraction was developed by Jacques Daviel (16961762) of France. In 1748 Daviel described his technique of cataract surgery in which the cataractous lens was extracted from the eye. The use of implants was thanked to the observation of Harold Ridley (1907-2001). Ridley implanted the first IOL in 1949, after observing that World War II aviators could tolerate shards of plastic aircraft canopies in their eyes. The technique of phacoemulsification was first introduced by Charles Kelman in the late 1960s.
Although the management of cataract has a high success rate many people in the developing countries have poor access to the facilities. Fred Hollows (1929-1991), an Australian ophthalmologist, helped to improve the qualities of many patients in the developing countries by setting up factories that produce affordable intraocular lenses. 
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