, Volume 93, Issue 1-2, pp 159-167

Sushruta: The father of Indian surgery and ophthalmology

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Abstract

Sushruta is the most celebrated physician and surgeon in India. Though he practiced during the 5th century B.C., many of his contributions to medicine and surgery preceded similar discoveries in the Western world. Sushruta devotes a complete volume of his experiences to ophthalmologic diseases. In theUttar Tantrum, Sushruta enumerates a sophisticated classification of eye diseases complete with signs, symptoms, prognosis, and medical/surgical interventions. In particular, Sushruta describes what may have been the first extracapsular cataract surgery using a sharply pointed instrument with a handle fashioned into a trough. His ability to manage many common eye conditions of the time with limited diagnostic acids is a testament to his virtuosity.

Read at the annual meeting of the Cogan Ophthalmic History Society, The National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland, March 15 and 16, 1996.