The History of Cataract Surgery – Professor William Ayliffe FRCS PhD – Gresham College Lectures

The commonest operation in the world is responsible for restoring sight to millions of blind and visually disabled people every year. From humble beginnings in India over 2,000 years ago it was refined by French surgeons in the Enlightenment. Over the last few decades this operation has been transformed from a risky operation almost identical to that performed by Victorian Surgeons, into a sophisticated quick day case procedure with extremely low complications. The development of new materials by the British aircraft industry was critical to this development and the courageous adoption of pioneering surgeons all over the world, criticised by their peers at the time, has led to the miracle of modern cataract surgery.

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