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Bartisch, George (1535-1606).

Opthalmodouleia, das ist Augendienst. Newer and wolgegrundter Bericht von Ursachen und Erkentnus aller Gebrechen, Schaden und Mangel der Augen und des Gesichtes.

Dresden, M. Stockel, 1583.

Although Bartisch gave his text on eye care a Greek title, he published the balance in German, thereby providing one of the earliest surgical works printed in the vernacular. Bartisch limited his practice to eye surgery and hernia repair, and Ophthalmoduleia is the first extensively illustrated account of any surgical specialty. Bartisch, who served as court oculist to Duke August I of Saxony, was known for his skilful operations on cataracts using a clean needle to depress the lens through the sclera. He was the first eye-doctor to recommend removal of the eye in cases of cancer.

The striking woodcut illustrations, made after Bartisch's own drawings from life, provide a comprehensive pictorial record of Renaissance eye surgery. The innovative and effective use of movable flaps to show sectional views of the brain and eye on pages A5r and B2v appears here for the first time.

Bartisch, known as the "Father of Modern Opthalmology," a simple genius, was a peripatetic practitioner who became the court oculist in Dresden. The illustrations in this work form a complete picture book of Renaissance eye surgery. The general anatomical woodcuts are made after Vesalius, while the woodcuts representing the anatomy of the eye, the instruments, and the operations, are made by Bartisch. He is said to have been the first to describe excision of the eye in living man, and it is of interest that he devoted chapters to the care of the mouth, teeth, skin, and so forth, as related to eyes. He was, in fact, a great opthalmic operator. He was, however, grossly biased against the use of spectacles, " he could not concieve how an eye that does not already see well could see better with something in front of it." Chapters are devoted to white and black magic as well as to sorcery.
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