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Ksawery Galezowski [1832-1907] and his retina studies

Session Details

Session Title: Quick Fire Free Paper Session 04

Session Date/Time: Sunday 29/09/2013 | 11:00-13:00

Paper Time: 11:05

Venue: Hall C (Level 1)

First Author: A.Grzybowski POLAND

Co Author(s):                  

Abstract Details


Despite many activities of Galezowski, a high professional position in his times and an important influence on the European ophthalmology, his private life and ophthalmic achievements have not yet been studied and analysed in detail. The only article written about him so far was by Amalric in 1999. It was however only a fragmentary description of his life and work, and unfortunately the article did not include any references. Thus, the aim of this study was to collect and analyse the available information about the life and work of Gałęzowski.


Gałęzowski was one of the most distinguished Polish ophthalmologists of the 19th century. He was the author of hundreds of articles and 12 books, on nearly every aspect of ophthalmology, including his major interests in ophthalmoscopy, retinal chromatoscopy, and retinal detachment.


The original works and articles written by Gałezowski in Russian, Polish and French (courtesy of Dr. A. Franceschetti) were translated, analysed and summarised. The published information about his life was supplemented with information collected form Polish medical libraries, including Jagiellonian Library and French libraries, among them Polish Institute in Paris, Polish Libarary in Paris, and National French Library. The information collected was additionally verified by the grandson of Ksawery, Nicolas Gałęzowski.


Ksawery Gałęzowski graduated from a medical faculty in St. Petersburg and in 1858 he presented his doctoral dissertation there on ophthalmoscopy. He then left for France, where he stayed until the end of his life. From 1859-1864 Gałęzowski was an assistant and Chef-de-Clinique at Desmarre’s eye clinic in Paris; in 1865 he was given the title of doctor of medicine with the dissertation entitled “On Pathologic Changes of the Optic Nerve and Cerebral Diseases from which They Originate”; in 1867 he founded a private clinic, which became one of the best ophthalmic hospitals in Paris. He also worked in other Parisian hospitals, co-operating also with Charcot. Hirschberg wrote that he was assumed one of the best practitioners and surgeons in ophthalmology in those days. He founded the first French monthly ophthalmic journal “Journal d’ophtalmologie” in 1872, which was continued from 1879 to 1907 as “Recueil d’ophtalmologie”. His major interests were focused in ophthalmoscopy and retinal detachment. Due to his co-operation with Jean-Martin Charcot at the Salpetriere, he gained a great deal of experience with neurological diseases and he became the pioneer of the use of ophthalmoscopy in the diagnosis of central nervous system diseases (cerebroscopy).


Gałęzowski did many pioneer studies in different fields of ophthalmology and certainly he was a great practitioner and tutor. Although He did not make any breakthrough in ophthalmology, his studies in ophthalmoscopy, retinal detachment and glaucoma surgery belong to the best of the 19th century ophthalmology.

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