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CLASSICIST OF EYE TONOMETRY

CLASSICIST OF EYE TONOMETRY

Alexei N. Maklakov (1837–1895) – ophthalmologist, Doctor of Medicine, Professor of IMU.

                       

In our University. Graduated in 1860. Worked as the Chair of Eye diseases and the Director of Eye Clinic.

 

Brief biography. Alexei Maklakov was born in Moscow, received a medical degree.

In 1864 he started to work as a resident at Moscow Eye Hospital and since then Ophthalmology became the reason and contents of his life. The devotion to the chosen specialty and also diligence and talent had made Maklakov one of the leading ophthalmologists in Russia of the last quarter of XIX century. At the Eye Hospital he had worked until the end of his life, also gaving practical lessons to his students at that hospital.

Aside from that, A. N. Maklakov worked as a physician at Moscow Custodial Committee Hospital, at the Labourers’ Hospital, and other institutions pro-bono. During the years of Russian-Turkish War (1877–1878) he headed the Red Cross Hospital.

 

When a Professor of our University A. N. Maklakov took active part in constructing and organization of Eye Clinic. The Clinic was wonderfully equipped and was considered the best institution of such kind in Europe.

 

Contemporaries of A. N. Maklakov noted his diversified interests. For example, he kept bees, enjoyed painting. By the way he used his artistic talent when teaching – he made a series of drawings of an eye ball on glass which has served as a demonstrative material for several generations of students.

The scientist lead a very active social life was a member of many scientific societies: Russian Physicians Society, Physico-Medical Society, Medico-philanthropic, ets. He was a co-founder of the Surgical Society in Moscow; at the Pirogov’s Congress he initiated the creation of Russia-wide society for eye-doctors and took part in formulation of its charter. He maintained contact with many foreign scientists.

He died in 1895. One of the first to publish the necrologue was French Journal «Archive d’Ophtalmologie».

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Scientific achievements. In 1866 A. N. Maklakov defended his Doctoral thesis “On traumatic inflammation of eye retina”.

After Hermann von Helmholtz created the eye reflector (ophthalmoscope), Ophthalmology experienced rapid development. The main task of physicians and scientists was to acquire an instrument for measurement of the pressure inside an eyeball.

 

Tonometric way of measuring had already been suggested by some scientists, nevertheless, A. N. Maklakov, having considered all sore points of previous instruments, offered a new method, substituted cornea flattening for indentation.

 

During 1884–1885 he published works on the new tonometer – first in Russian, then in French. Maklakov’s ophthalmonometer is still in use in clinical practice.

The scientist also created some eye instruments – enucleation knife and fixation loop. He was the first to apply the new surgery method – slash sclerotomy, the first to use massage in ophthalmology, having offered an apparatus built on the principle of Edison’s pen.

Many discoveries of the scientist were of a great social importance. For instance at the Machine Building Plant he had tested the electric light effect on himself, as a result he came to a conclusion that it was harmful for workers’ eyes during a number of manufacturing processes.

A. N. Maklakov was one of the first to pay attention to the fact that short-sightedness was very wide-spread among school pupils, having started collecting statistics on that matter. 

At the Museum of Medical History. In the exposition “History of Russian medicine from 1755 until 1940-es” there is an ophthalmotometer of Maklakov’s construction, manufactured by St. Petersburg firm “Urlaub” in the end of XX century.

 

History Lab


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