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Beer-type cataract knife and needle, cased, Paris, 1820-1866

Science Museum, London
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Credit: Beer-type cataract knife and needle, cased, Paris, 1820-1866. Science Museum, London. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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Georg Joseph Beer (1763-1821), an Austrian professor of ophthalmology, invented this cataract knife and needle around 1805. Cataracts cause blurred vision as the lens becomes cloudy and if left untreated can cause blindness. These instruments allowed for the surgical removal of some of the cloudy mass and, if necessary, part or all of the lens itself. Prior to effective anaesthetics this was an excruciatingly painful process. Today, the cataract-affected lens would be entirely removed by surgery and an artificial lens inserted. maker: Charrière Place made: Paris, Ville de Paris, Île-de-France, France


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