Famous ophthalmologists: 1
East Germany (1978) Albrecht von Graefe (1820 – 1870)
West Germany (1978) Albrecht von Graefe (1820 – 1870)
Albrecht von Graefe was born in Finkenheerd near Berlin in 1828. He graduated from the Berlin University in 1843. 
He decided to study ophthalmology following a meeting with Ferdinand von Arlt. He studied ophthalmology in P
aris with Auguste Desmarres and Jule Sichel, Vienna with Eduard Jaeger and London with William Bowman before 
becoming a lecturer of ophthalmology in the University of Berlin.
He founded the Archie fur Ophthalmolgie in 1954. His contribution to ophthalmology include the modification of 
the ophthalmolscope invented by Hermann von Helmholtz, the use of iridectomies for glaucoma, description of lid 
lag on downgaze in thyroid eye disease now called the von Graefe’s sign and the invention of the Graefe’s knife 
used for cataract extraction. 
He died from tuberculosis at the age of 42 in Berlin. His 150th birth anniversary was commemorated in two stamps 
issued by East and West Germany in 1978. He was portrayed on the East German stamp with early ophthalmoscope. 
On the West German stamp, a statue of von Graefe is featured.
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