Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery: A History in the Making

  • Murray A. MeltzerEmail author
  • Ann Ostrovsky


The subspecialty of ophthalmic plastic surgery was born in the mid-twentieth century in the United States at the conclusion of World War II. The art of oculoplastic surgery, however, is centuries old, bearing its roots in antiquity in India, the Far East, and Europe. The principles and basic techniques that have been improved upon and refined over the years are inherent in the disciplines of ophthalmology and plastic surgery. Thus, a history of ophthalmic plastic surgery is inevitably a history of the development of both fields. The various procedures that have evolved over centuries can be divided into several general categories: reconstructive, restorative, and cosmetic. Each of these categories deals with restoring or enhancing structure as well function to damaged or malfunctioning adnexal structures. Numerous adnexal structures make up the periorbita, and throughout time, oculoplastic surgeons have perfected, refined, and pioneered new techniques of lacrimal surgery, ptosis repair and blepharoplasty, orbital surgery, lid malpositions, and flaps and grafts. Oculoplastic surgery became recognized as a unique subspecialty of ophthalmology at the end of World War II. Numerous orbital and periocular injuries were treated by general ophthalmologists without prior training or exposure to ophthalmic plastic surgery. For these surgeons topic literature, exchange of experiences with colleagues and across disciplines, and more often than not, trial and error were keys in developing these procedures. After the war, interest in the subfield of ophthalmic surgery grew, and eventually, an organized association dedicated solely to the field of ophthalmic plastic surgery was formed. This chapter is a testament to those great minds that weaved the broad array of ophthalmic techniques into a quilt of a distinct subspecialty.


Orbital Surgery Transconjunctival Approach Ocular Prosthesis Canalicular Obstruction Eyelid Reconstruction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Celsus AC. DE Medicina. With English translation by WG Spencer. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 1935, v3, pp338–43.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Reifler DM, editor. The American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS). Winter Park: ASOPRS/Norman; 1994.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Katzen LB. The history of cosmetic blepharoplasty. In Putterman A(Ed): Cosmetic oculoplastic surgery, New York, Grune & Stratton, 1982. Reprinted, in part, in Advanced Ophthlamic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 1986; 5: 80–96.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Reverdin JL. Greffe epidermique. Bull Soc Imperiale Chir (Paris). 1869;10:483–511.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Dieffenbach JF. Eininge Bemerkungen aus uber Paris. Wchnschr f d Res Heilk. 1835;4:7–11.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hughes WL. Reconstructive Surgery of the Eyelids. St Louis, CV Mosby, 1943. Reprinted, in part, in Adv Ophthalmic PLast Reconstr Surg 1986; 5: 25–87.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hirschberg J. The History of Ophthalmology. (Translated in II volumes by Frederick Blodi. Originally published under the title Gescichte der Augenheilkunde Julius Hirschberg, Springer Verlag, Berlin). Bonn, JP Wayenborough, v1–11ptl, 1982–1992.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Sichel J. Une discussion sur la blephoroplastique. Gaz d Hop. 1834;8:276.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Borges AF, Gibson T. The original Z-plasty. Br J Plast Surg. 1973;26:237–46.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Bosniak SL. Ophthalmic and plastic reconstructive surgery in the United States: 1893–1970. Adv Plast Reconstr Surg. 1986;5:241–81.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Filatov VP. Plastika na kruglom stebl. Vestnik Oftamologii. 1917;34(4–5):149–58.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Imre J. Schetamejplastikat (Lidplastik). Studium Kiadasa, Budapest, 1928.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Fricke JCG. Die Bildung neuer Augenlider (Blepharoplastik) nach Zerstorungen und dadurch hervorgebrachten Auswartswendungen derselben. Hamburg: Perthes and Bessler; 1929.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kazanjian VH, Roopenian A. Median forehead flaps in the repair of defects of the nose and surrounding areas. Trans Am Acad Ophthalmol Otolaryngol. 1956;60:557.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Wheeler JM. Halving wounds in facial plastic surgery. Proceedings of the 2nd congress Pan Pacific Surgery Association. 1936, 289–95.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Spaeth EB. Newer methods of ophthalmic plastic surgery. Philadelphia: P Blakiston’s; 1925.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hughes WL. A new method of rebuilding the lower lid. Arch Ophthal. 1937;17:1008–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Kohn R. Textbook of ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery. Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger; 1988.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Converse JM, Smith B. Enophthalmos and diplopia in fractures of the orbital floor. Br J Plast Surg. 1957;9(4):265–74.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Mustarde JC. Repair and reconstruction in the orbital region. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone; 1980.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Cutler N, Beard C. A method for partial and total upper lid reconstruction. Am J Ophthalmol. 1955;39:1–7.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Tenzel RR. Reconstruction of the central one half of an eyelid. Arch Ophthalmol. 1975;93:125.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Wood CA. Memorandum book of a tenth century oculist for the use of modern ophthalmologists. A translation of the TADHKIRAT of Ali ibn Isa of Baghdad. Chicago: Northwestern University; 1936.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Guthrie GJ. Lectures on the operative surgery of the eye. Burgess and Hill: London; 1823.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    von Graefe A. Operation der ptosis. Arch Ophthalmol. 1863;9:57.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Rogers PA. Development of oculoplastic surgery in Australia. Adv Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 1986;5:417–20.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Beard C. History of ptosis surgery. Adv Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg. 1986;5:125–31.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    de Grandmont G. Nouvelle Operation du ptosis congenital. Recueil d’Ophthalmol (Paris). 1891;13:267–70.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Reifler DM. The tarsectomy operation of A.P.L. Gillet de Grandmont (1837–1894) and its periodic rediscovery. Doc Ophthalmol. 1837–1894;89(1–2):153–62.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Hervouet F, Tessier P. Technique chirurgicale du ptosis. Bull Mem. Soc Fr Ophthalmol. 1956;239–42.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Fasanella RM. Surgery for minimal ptosis: the Fasanella-Servat operation, 1973. Trans Ophthalmol Soc UK. 1973;93:425–38.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Albert DM, editor. Ophthalmic surgery: principles and techniques. Malden: Blackwell Science; 1999.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Werb A. Ptosis. Trans Ophthalmol Soc NZ. 1976;28:29–32.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Putterman AM. Müllers muscle-conjunctival resection ptosis procedure. Aust NZ J Ophthalmol. 1985;13(2):179–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Putterman, AM: Mueller’s Muscle-Conjunctival Resection-Ptosis Procedure Combined with Upper Blepharoplasty, Chapter, In: Putterman AM, editor. Cosmetic Oculoplastic Surgery, 3 rd edn. WB Saunders Co. 1999. p. 145.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Fox SA. Ophthalmic plastic surgery. 5th ed. New York: Grune & Stratton; 1976.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Beard C. A new treatment for severe unilateral congenital ptosis and for ptosis with jaw-winking. Am J Ophthalmol. 1965;59:252–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Montadon D. History of plastic surgery of the orbital region. In: Aston SJ, editor. Third international symposium of plastic and reconstructive surgery of the eye and adnexa. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins; 1982. p. 2–10.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Snellen H: Suture for ectropion. Congr Int Opt. 1862;2:236.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Ziegler SL. Galvanocautery puncture ectropion and entropion. JAMA. 1909;53:183–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Smith B, Cherubini TD. Oculoplastic surgery: a compendium of principles and techniques. CV Mosby: St Louis; 1970.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Bick MW. Surgical management of orbital tarsal disparity. Arch Ophthalmol. 1966;75(3):386–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Tenzel RR, Buffam FV, Miller GR. The use of the “lateral canthal sling” in ectropion repair. Can J Ophthalmol. 1977;12:199–202.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Imre Jr J. Operation for senile ectropion. Klin Mbl Augenheilk. 1935;95:303–5.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Anderson RL, Gordy DD. The tarsal strip procedure. Arch Ophthalmol. 1979;97(11):2192–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Meltzer MA. Medial ectropion repair. A new procedure. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 1989;5(3):182–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Quickert MH, Rathbun E. Suture repair of entropion. Arch Ophthalmol. 1971;85(3):304–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Feldstein M. Suture correction of senile entropion by inferior lid retractor tuck. Adv Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg. 1983;2:269–74.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Weis FA. Spastic entropion. Trans Acad Ophthalmol Otolaryngol. 1955;59:503–6.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Ballen PH. A simple procedure for the relief of trichiasis and entropion of the upper lid. Arch Ophthal. 1964;72:239–40.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Wheeler JM. Spastic entropion correction by orbicularis transplantation. Am J Ophthal. 1939;22:477.Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Hill JC, Feldman F. Tissue barrier modifications of a Wheeler II operation for entropion. Arch Ophthalmol. 1967;78:621–3.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Stein JD, Antonyshyn OM. Aesthetic eyelid reconstruction. Clin Plast Surg. 2009;36(3):379–97.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Dresner SC, Karesh JW. Transconjunctival entropion repair. Arch Ophthalmol. 1993;111:1144–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Harper RF. The code of Hammurabi. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 1904. p. P79.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Stahl GE. De fistula lachrymali. Halle; 1702.Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Anel D. Observation Singuliere sur la Fistule Lacrimale. Torino. 1713.Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Toti A. The treatment of dacryocystitis by the formation of a fresh passage from sac to nasal cavity (dacryocystorhinostomy). Ophthalmol Rev. 1909;28:287.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Dupuy-Dutemps L, Bourguet J. Cure de la dacryocystite cronique commune et du larmoiemet par la dacryocysto-rhinosto,ie plastique. Bull Acad de Med (Paris). 1921;86:293–5.Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Cohen SW, Prescott R, Sherman M, Banko W, Castillejos ME. Dacryoscopy. Ophthalmic Surg. 1979;10(11):57–63.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Massaro BM, Gonnering RS, Harris GJ. Endonasal laser dacryocystorhinostomy. A new approach to nasolacrimal duct obstruction. Arch Ophthalmol. 1990;108:1172–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    Henderson JW. Management of obstructions of the lacrimal canaliculi with polyethylene tubes: a follow-up study. Arch Ophthalmol. 1953;49:182–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Huggert A, Sandmark E. Treatment of lacrimal obstruction with temporarily applied polyethylene tubes – technique and results. Am I Ophthalmol. 1965;60:603–10.Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    Werb A. Role of polyethylene tubing in lacrimal obstructions. In proceedings of the second international symposium on plastic and reconstructive surgery of the eye and adnexa. St. Louis, C.V. Mosby Co; 1967 pp. 157–170.Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Werb A. A lacrimal perspective. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 1985;1(2):81–2.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Worst JGF. Method for reconstructing torn lacrimal canaliculus. Am J Ophthal. 1962;53:520–2.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  67. 67.
    Veirs ER. Malleable rods for immediate repair of the traumatically severed lacrimal canaliculus. Trans Am Acad Ophthalmol Otolaryngol. 1962;66:263–4.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. 68.
    Johnson CC. A canaliculus wire. Am J Ophthalmol. 1974;78(5):854–5.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. 69.
    Quickert MH, Dryden RM. Probes for intubation in lacrimal drainage. Trans Am Acad Ophthalmol Otolaryngol. 1970;74(2):431–3.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. 70.
    Guibor P. Canaliculus intubation set. Ophthalmology. 1975;79:|419–20.Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    Crawford JS. Intubation of obstructions in the lacrimal system. Can J Ophthalmol. 1977;12:289–92.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  72. 72.
    Ritleng P. A simplified technique for lacrimal intubation. Ocul Surg News. 1996;14:No 7.Google Scholar
  73. 73.
    Jones LT. Wobig: surgery of the eyelids and lacrimal system. Birmingham: Aesculapius; 1976.Google Scholar
  74. 74.
    Sisler HA, Allarakhia L. A new ophthalmic microtrephine. Ophthalmic Surg. 1990;21:656–7.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  75. 75.
    Meltzer MA, Zatezalo CC, Zoltan S. Lacrimal canalicular transplantation with composite eyelid graft. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 2010;26(1):23–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. 76.
    Snyder C. An operation designated “The extirpation of the eye”. Arch Ophthalmol. 1965;74:429–32.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. 77.
    Cleobury W. A review of the different operations performed on the eyes. London: T. & G. Underwood; 1826. p. 261.Google Scholar
  78. 78.
    Ferrall JM. On the anatomy and pathology of certain structures in the orbit not previously described. Dublin J M Sc. 1841;19:329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. 79.
    Bonnet A. Nouvelles recherches sur l’anatomie des aponevroses et des muscles de l’oeil. Ann d’oculist. 1841;5:27.Google Scholar
  80. 80.
    Guyton JS. Enucleation and allied procedures: a review and description of a new operation. Trans Am Ophthalmol Soc. 1948;46:472–527.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  81. 81.
    Frezzotti R, Bonanni R, Nuti A, Polito E. Radical orbital resections. Adv Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 1992;9:175–92.Google Scholar
  82. 82.
    Collis MH. On the diagnosis of cancer and the tumor. In: John Churchill and Sons editors, London; 1864, pp. 68–70.Google Scholar
  83. 83.
    Mules PH. Evisceration of the globe with artificial vitreous. Trans Ophthalmol Soc UK. 1885;5:200–6.Google Scholar
  84. 84.
    Frost WA. What is the best method of dealing with a lost eye? Br Med J. 1887;1:1153–4.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. 85.
    Sami D, Young S, Petersen R. Perspective on orbital enucleation implants. Surv Ophthalmol. 2007;52(3):244–65.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. 86.
    Wheeler JM. Implantation of hollow grooved body into orbit for filling. Arch Ophthalmol. 1938;20:709–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. 87.
    Soll DB. Evolution and current concepts in the surgical treatment of the anophthalmic orbit. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 1988;2:163–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. 88.
    Ruedemann AD. Plastic eye implant. Trans Am Ophthalmol Soc. 1945;43:304–12.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  89. 89.
    Cutler NL. A universal type integrated implant. Am J Ophthalmol. 1949;32:253–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  90. 90.
    Troutman RC. A magnetic implant. Arch Ophthalmol. 1950;43:1123–4.Google Scholar
  91. 91.
    King Jr JH. Wadsworth JAC: an atlas of ophthalmic surgery. 3rd ed. Philadelphia: JB Lippincott; 1981.Google Scholar
  92. 92.
    Perry AC. Integrated orbital implants. Adv Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg. 1990;8:75–81.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  93. 93.
    Khan JA, Albert DM. Willard Parker’s 1841 orbital operation. Surv Ophthalmol. 1988;33:117–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. 94.
    Duke-Elder S, MacFaul PA. The ccular adnexa. In: Duke-Elder S. System of ophthalmology, v13: pt 1 Diseases of the Eyelids; pt 2 Lacrimal, Orbital and Para-Orbital Diseases. St Louis, CV Mosby; 1974.Google Scholar
  95. 95.
    Kronlein RU. Zur Pathologie und operative Bedhandlung der Dermoidcysten der Orbita. Beitr Klin Chir. 1888;4:149–63.Google Scholar
  96. 96.
    Hughes WL. The evolution of ophthalmic sutures. Adv Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg. 1986;5:177–83.Google Scholar
  97. 97.
    Stallard HB. The evolution of lateral orbitotomy. Trans Ophthalmol Soc UK. 1973;93:1–17.Google Scholar
  98. 98.
    Smith B. The anterior surgical approach to orbital tumors. Trans Am Acad Ophthalmol Otolayngol. 1966;70:607–11.Google Scholar
  99. 99.
    Wolfley DE. The lid crease approach to the superomedial orbit. Ophthalmic Surg. 1985;16(10):652–6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  100. 100.
    Pelton RW. The anterior eyelid crease approach to the orbit. Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2009;20(5):401–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. 101.
    Balch KC, Goldberg RA, Green JP, Shorr N. The transcaruncular approach to the medial orbit and ethmoid sinus. A cosmetically superior option to the cutaneous (Lynch) incision. Facial Plast Surg Clin North Am. 1998;6:71–7.Google Scholar
  102. 102.
    Alper MG. Pioneers in the history of orbital decompression for Graves’ ophthalmopathy. R.U. Kroenlein (1847–1910), O. Hirsch (1877–1965) and H.C. Naffziger (1884–1961). Doc Ophthalmol. 1995;89(1–2):163–71.Google Scholar
  103. 103.
    Walsh TE, Ogura JH. Transantral orbital decompression for malignant exophthalmos. Trans Am Laryngol Rhinol Otol Soc. 1957;59:56–81.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  104. 104.
    Kennedy DW, Goodstein ML, Miller NR, Zinreich J. Endoscopic transantral orbital decompression. Archives of Otolaryngology. Head Neck Surg. 1990;116:275–82.Google Scholar
  105. 105.
    Trokel S, Kazim M, Moore S. Orbital fat removal. Decompression for Graves orbitopathy. Ophthalmology. 1993;100(5):674–82.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  106. 106.
    Miller CC. The excision of bag-like folds of skin from the region about the eyes. Med Brief. 1906;34:648.Google Scholar
  107. 107.
    Miller CC, Miller FL. Folds, bags and wrinkles of the skin about the eyes and their eradication by simple surgical methods. Med Bief. 1907;35:540.Google Scholar
  108. 108.
    Kolle FS. Plastic and cosmetic surgery. New York: D Appleton & Co; 1911.Google Scholar
  109. 109.
    Bourget I. La Correction esthetique des diverses deformation nasals. Rev Int de Laryngologie. 1926;Oct:133–37.Google Scholar
  110. 110.
    Katzen LB. The history of cosmetic blepharoplasty. Adv Ophthalmic Plast Recostruct Surg. 1986;5:89–96.Google Scholar
  111. 111.
    Castanares S. Blepharoplasty for herniated intraorbital fat: anatomical basis for a new approach. Plast Reconstr Surg. 1951;8:46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  112. 112.
    Loeb R. Clin Plast Surg. 8:757–776, 1981.Google Scholar
  113. 113.
    de la Plaza R, Arroyo JM. A new technique for the treatment of palpebral bags. Plast Reconstr Surg. 1988;81(5):677–87.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  114. 114.
    Camirand A. Canthopexy and transconjunctival blepharoplasty are preferable to lower blepharoplasty. Can J plast Surg. 1993/1994;1:184.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of OphthalmologyMount Sinai School of MedicineNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations