Dec 2, 2010

Eye care in ancient Egypt

Eye care of the workmen was demonstrated in several papyri and tomb inscriptions. Foreign body removal and treatment of eye inflammations and minor operations were so common. The Ebers Papyrus says:

“Another, not to let a hair grow into the eye after it has been pulled out: Terebinth resin … It can not grow again”.

Night blindness was cured by roasted and crushed ox liver, which is known to be very rich in vitamin A. Cataract (loss of eye lens transparency) was so named as the Latins thought it was due to a liquid flowing from the brain into the eyes. The Egyptians called it “rise of water”, denoting a same false understanding as Latins did centuries later. It was treated by a mixture of tortoise brain and honey. The first surgery was performed in Alexandria during the Ptolomies’ era (31st dynasty).

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