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Standing up to the operation

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The position of the patient and surgeon relative to each other during eye surgery has seen its own evolution. First both the patient and surgeon sat; then the patient sat while the surgeon stood; then the patient lay down and the surgeon stood. Several contemporary eye surgical procedures involve the use of gadgets and equipment requiring the surgeon to use both hands and both feet. This mandates that the surgeon is seated while the patient lies down. The illustration on the front cover comes from ‘A Treatise on the extraction of the Cataract’ by Frederick Bischoff published in London in 1793. It shows an operating chair designed by the author with various adjustments that could be made to it. The patient at this time in the history of ophthalmic operations was most frequently operated on in a sitting position the head being held firmly against the chest of the assistant. Bischoff preferred to operate with the patient sitting upright on …

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