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Ophthalmologists Ancient Egypt

Ophthalmology is the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases of organs of vision — in Ancient Egypt was a specialized branch of medicine.

In 1926 during excavations near the pyramid of Cheops was discovered a funerary stele. Hieroglyphic inscription indicates that it depicts a court physician of Iran, known from surviving historical documents as ophthalmologist, gastroenterologist, pharmacist and proctologist. The creation of this monument, scientists determined quite accurately — the middle of III Millennium BC, Therefore, already in Egypt there was a system of specialization of physicians in certain areas, including ophthalmology.

Information about the achievements of eye physicians of the Nile Delta reached the scientists of the pharaohs was found correspondence with the Hittite kings. So, Ramses II in his letter to the ruler of the Hittites Hattusili III reports that due to illness of the eye the latter sends him “good medicine”.

The famous document of the XV century BC the so-called Leiden papyrus (named after the town in Germany where he is now kept), suggests that the treatment of eye diseases, along with rational actions, included the recitation of certain magical spells, addressed to the God RA. This confirms the close connection of healing with the religious ideas of the ancient Egyptians.

Scientific knowledge, lakopenicescoe luminaries of Ancient Egypt, widely seen in the famous papyrus Ebers, the creation date of which is 1550 BC Historical document contains a total of 431 ophthalmic recommendation.

That eye disease, which, judging by the texts of the papyri Ebers, was taken to treat physicians of the Nile Delta: suppuration in the eye, damage due to shock him, lacrimation, pupil dilation, trachoma, cataract, hemorrhage, pain in the eye, burning, night blindness, cataract, dilation of blood vessels, drooping of the upper eyelid, barley, etc.

It is noteworthy that some physicians of Ancient Egypt were engaged in diseases of the right eye, others the left. Only one of the texts 2500 BC referred to a physician specializing immediately in both eyes.

And here’s an interesting associated with the organs of vision omen the ancient Egyptians: if the iris in one eye yellow and the other black, she’s pregnant.

It is significant that modern scientists have noted the considerable achievements of the ancient Egyptian oculist-healers in the field of iridodiagnostiki.

Judging by extant documents, vets in Ancient Egypt also possessed ophthalmic knowledge found in Kachanski veterinary papyrus, confirming this. It contains recipes for treatment of diseases causing defects of the organs of vision in the dog, the blindness of a bull. In addition, the document States “the treatment of eye diseases in fish and treatment of eye disease in birds”.

It should be noted that the achievements of the ancient Egyptian ophthalmologists has pushed the development of the science of the eye diseases of later times and peoples.