The search for an effective treatment for retinal detachment involved many false hypotheses and misconceived surgical techniques, even after De Wecker and Leber in 1875 and 1882 proposed that retinal tears preceded and caused the detachment. When Jules Gonin (1870-1935) insisted that their closure was essential, and therefore, searched carefully for them, he began to have unprecedented success in reattaching the retina from 1916 onwards. In 1930, Gonin’s name was presented to the Nobel Prize committee, which then sought the opinion of the prominent Alfred Vogt (1879-1943). Vogt quite wrongly and groundlessly cast doubt on Gonin’s priority in discovering this first consistently successful operation for retinal detachment. It was enough for the Nobel committee to defer judgment and eventually pass over Gonin entirely. This has become one of the more glaring omissions in the history of the Nobel Prize.
AJO History of Ophthalmology Series
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