AJO History of Ophthalmology Series

James Graham (1745–1794) matriculated from the Edinburgh University’s medical school in 1761. In 1769, he joined a large influx of immigrants to America, where he specialized in diseases of the eyes and ears. To his credit, he used “ medicines and outward applications, benign and gentle in their nature, speedy and powerful in their effects ,” in contrast to the bleeding, purging, blistering methods of most other practitioners of the time. Topical therapy was not commonly employed in those days. In Philadelphia, he became acquainted with the medical applications of electricity and used it to treat ocular problems among other diseases. Then, turning a new leaf when returning to England in 1764, he tried to make his fortune by opening the Temple of Health , dedicated to using electricity to treat sexual problems. It featured the Grand Celestial Bed, probably the most famous (and expensive) bed in history. Within a few years, he was bankrupt. In his lifetime, he was known as the “Emperor of Quacks.”

Submitted by Charles E. Letocha from the Cogan Ophthalmic History Society.

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Jan 17, 2017 | Posted by in OPHTHALMOLOGY | Comments Off on AJO History of Ophthalmology Series

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