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Friedrich Wilhelm Ernst Albrecht von Graefe (or Gräfe; May 22, 1828 – July 20, 1870) was a pioneering German ophthalmologist. Graefe was born in Finkenheerd, Brandenburg, the son of Karl Ferdinand von Graefe a German surgeon.
At an early age he showed a preference for mathematics, but this was gradually superseded by an interest in natural science, which led him ultimately to the study of medicine. After studying at Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Paris, London, Dublin and Edinburgh, and having devoted special attention to ophthalmology, in 1850 he began to practice as an oculist in Berlin. He founded a private institution there for the treatment of eyes, which became the model of many similar clinics in Germany and Switzerland.
In 1853 he was appointed teacher of ophthalmology at the University of Berlin; in 1858 he became an Extraordinary Professor, and in 1866 an Ordinary Professor. Graefe contributed greatly to ophthalmological science, particularly by the establishment in 1855 of his Archiv für Ophthalmologie, in which Carl Ferdinand von Arlt and Franciscus Donders collaborated. In 1870, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
Perhaps his two most important discoveries were his method of treating glaucoma and a new operation for cataract. He was also regarded as an authority in diseases of the nervous system and brain. He died in Berlin from tuberculosis on July 20, 1870. His grave is preserved in the Protestant Friedhof II der Jerusalems- und Neuen Kirchengemeinde (Cemetery No. II of the congregations of Jerusalem's Church and New Church) in Berlin-Kreuzberg, south of Hallesches Tor.
- See Ein Wort der Erinnerung an Albrecht von Gräfe (Halle, 1870) by his cousin, Alfred Gräfe (1830-1899), also a distinguished ophthalmologist, and the author of Das Sehen der Schielenden (Wiesbaden 1897); and E Michaelis, Albrecht von Gräfe. Sein Leben und Wirken (Berlin,1877).
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- (1972) Von Graefe-prize. Determinations. Bericht Über Die Zusammenkunft 71: 755–6.
- (1972) Statute concerning the award and grant of the "Graefe medal". Bericht Über Die Zusammenkunft 71: 755.
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- Hoffmann-Axthelm W (1969). The von Graefe family and their estate "Finkenherd" in the Berlin zoological garden. Bericht Über Die Zusammenkunft 69: 685–706.
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- (October 1965)Dr. Albrecht von Graefe in Behrenstrasse will treat free of charge the eye diseases of the poor. Archives of Ophthalmology 74 (4): 545–8.
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- Kugelberg F (December 1950). Albrecht von Graefe, 1828-1870; memorial lecture at the Swedish Medical Association meeting on the 10th of October 1950.. Svenska Läkartidningen 47 (51): 2954–63.
- This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
- Famous Ophthalmologists
- Graefe's sign at WhoNamedIt
- Biography and bibliography in the Virtual Laboratory of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
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