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Dr William Briggs (figure 1) was a 17th century physician with the distinction of being one of the first to specialise in ophthalmology. Despite competition with established quacks and charlatans such as the illiterates Sir William Read and Roger Grant, he established a reputation as an honest ophthalmic physician and made some significant contributions to the subject.
He was born in Norwich in 1650. At the age of 13 he was admitted to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he obtained his BA, MA and his MD in 1677. He was made a Fellow of the College, a position he held from 1668 to 1682. He pursued further study …