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Bones and Eyes: William Cheselden (1688–1752)
  1. Richard Keeler,
  2. Arun D Singh,
  3. Harminder S Dua

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The illustration on the front cover of this issue of the BJO comes from the frontispiece of the 11th edition of Anatomy of the Human Body by William Cheselden published in 1778. The first edition appeared 65 years earlier in 1713.

This was an important work on anatomy for many years and became a standard English textbook in the medical schools running into 13 editions.

A chapter is devoted to the anatomy of the eye not only the human eye but also eyes of animals. Cheselden mentions the examination of the eye of a crocodile which Sir Hans Sloane had kept preserved in spirits. The chapter ends with “An account of observations made by a young gentleman who was born blind, or lost his sight so early that he had no remembrance of ever having seen, and was couched between thirteen and fourteen years of age”. Cheselden is credited with performing the first operation ever …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.