RANZCO Eye Museum


History Symposium 2021 Video


Recorded: 3 November 2021


Featuring discussions on the Early treatment of diabetic retinopathy, Teaching of ophthalmoscopy, Indian ophthalmic museums, and the Beginnings of vitrectomy in Melbourne.


To view a specific presentation, move the slider to the indicated time.


Introduction (starts at 0.00)

By Chair- Dr David Kaufman


Early treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy (starts at 1.30)

Presented by Dr Rahul Chakrabarti

Diabetic retinopathy was first described in 1855. Pituitary ablation aimed at regressing proliferative retinopathy was reported 100 years later with limited success and frequent complications. Gerd Meyer-Schwickerath used a carbon arc lamp and then Xenon photocoagulation to induce retinal burns to regress the retinopathy. Photocoagulation became widespread until the landmark clinical trial results of the Diabetic Retinopathy Study in 1960’s. Diagnostic fluorescein angiography imaged the pathological vascular anatomy which enabled earlier diagnosis of sight threatening lesions.


The Teaching of Ophthalmoscopy (starts at 25.26)

Presented by Prof Ian McAllister

An overview of the development of the various devices and aids utilised in the early teaching of ophthalmoscopy during the nineteenth century. These include instruments that allowed an observer to view the image and because of the design allowed a stabilized image or superior illumination and a fixed working distance. Atlases that demonstrated the disorders to be seen in the eye and finally practice models that replicated the optical characteristics of the eye and allowed the refractive characteristics and fundal images to be interchanged.


Ophthalmic Museums of India (starts at 49.40)

Presented by Kirsten Campbell

At the invitation of the All India Ophthalmic Society, museums in Delhi and Chennai were visited revealing a trove of history of Indian and Colonial ophthalmology.

Preserved patient histories and artworks of advanced disease feature in the extensive Elliot museum in Chennai named after the contribution of Elliot who developed the trephination operation for glaucoma.


Early Vitrectomy (starts at 108.00)

Presented by Dr David Kaufman

Some 50 years ago, Gerard Crock in the Melbourne University Department of Ophthalmology working with the innovative and brilliant engineers Jean Marie Parel and Ljubomir Pericec, developed the prototype of the Vitreous Infusion Suction Cutter – VISC. Prior to this, attempts to dissolve blood in the vitreous pharmacologically with Urokinase and Alpha Chymotrypsin failed together with manual removal of the vitreous and vitreous replacements. Parel then returned to work with Robert Machemer at Bascombe Palmer Institute in Miami. The remarkable transoceanic technology transfer between MUDO and Bascombe Palmer continued via mail and Parels’ temporary return to Melbourne.