Master of anatomy

David Baker examines the optical connections of the Italian Antonio Scarpa, an educator in anatomy and a gifted artist

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Antonio Scarpa was not an ophthalmologist, yet he wrote a hugely influential textbook on ophthalmology. He studied under a professor who gave his name to a type of cataract, yet he severely retarded the progress of cataract surgery throughout Europe. And despite his interest in ocular disease, he was scathing about the idea that eye surgery should exist as a distinct surgical speciality. He was famous in his time and gave his name to several anatomical features, yet was shunned and alone at the time of his death. Who was this contrary doctor and why was his influence on ophthalmology so great?

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