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Jan Evangelista Purkynje (1787-1869) and the first visualization of human fundus

Session Details

Session Title: Imaging IV

Session Date/Time: Sunday 20/09/2015 | 11:00-13:00

Paper Time: 12:52

Venue: Thalie.

First Author: : A.Grzybowski POLAND

Co Author(s): :                  

Abstract Details

PURPOSE:To verify who did the first visualization and descritpion of human and animal fundus.


Purkynje devoted his doctoral dissertation to subjective visual phenomena. In Ophthalmology, he is remembered by “Purkynje phenomenon” and “Purkynje images”. In 1823 he wrote in Latin a treatise Physiological Examination of the Visual Organ, which has not been available in English and thus was poorly known.


The translation of the treatise Physiological Examination of the Visual Organ and of the Cutaneous System from Latin into English was conducted and analysed its ophthalmic content.


Purkynje had observed and described in detail, nearly 30 years before Hermann von Helmholtz did it (1821-1894), the interior of the eye in the light reflected into it by concave lenses.


Although probably unknown to Helmholtz, the first description of human fundus visualization was conducted and described in 1823 by Jan Evangelista Purkynje. This early experiment, probably also due to the lack of English translation available, has not been recognised for many years.

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