Ancient Eye Surgery
1 Chronicles 16:29
“Give unto the LORD the glory [due] unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.”
Man has always treasured his ability to see. And since man was created as a highly intelligent creature, rather than a simple primitive, it seems that man has practiced eye surgery as far back as we have records.
Eye surgery is no more a modern development than malpractice penalties. Ancient Egyptian eye doctors applied various kinds of salves to the eye. Some of their stranger salves contained mud from the Nile river and crocodile dung. Before you laugh, you should know that modern eye specialists admit that these strange ingredients may have contained effective antibodies to relieve infections. Eye surgeons were busy in India six or eight centuries before the birth of Christ. A surgeon named Susruta performed a surgery in which he pushed an opaque lens that sits behind the pupil of the eye into the interior of the eyeball; there, the lens would no longer block vision.
The oldest record of eye surgery, however, dates to 4,000 years ago. The Code of Hammurabi said that the surgeon who saved a man’s eye was to be paid the same fee that was given to a doctor who saved a man’s life. On the other hand, if the surgeon caused the eye to be lost, the law required the surgeon’s fingers to be cut off. There were lesser penalties if the patient was merely a slave.
History records that man has always been an intelligent creature with a surprising amount of knowledge. Although sometimes some has been lost, knowledge is a gift from God.
Heavenly Father, I thank You for a world in which there is beauty to touch our senses and give us delight. I ask that You would make me more appreciative of the beauty to be found in the forgiveness of my sins because of Christ’s sacrifice and in serving You in holiness. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
“Looking at Way Back Then.” Science News, Nov. 24, 1984, p. 329. Photo: Statue dedicated to Shushrut, the father of surgery. Courtesy of Alokprasad. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.