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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At an early age he showed a preference for mathematics, but this was gradually superseded by an interest in natural science, which led him ultimately to the study of medicine.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.

File:Graefe Denkmal Berlin2.jpg

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.

The eponymous "Gräfe's sign" is associated with Graves-Basedow disease.


  • 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).
  • Tan SY, Zia JK (September 2007). Albrecht von Graefe (1828-1870): founder of scientific ophthalmology. Singapore Medical Journal 48 (9): 797–8.
  • Klopstock T (August 2004). Albrecht von Graefe (1828–1870). Der Nervenarzt 75 (8): 831.
  • Emel'ianova NA, Iakovlev AA (2001). Albrecht von Graefe--an outstanding German ophthalmologist (his life, medical and scientific activities). Vestnik Oftalmologii 117 (6): 54–5.
  • Kohnen T (September 2000). The ASCRS honouring of Albrecht von Graefe. American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology 238 (9): 807.
  • Haas LF (April 1998). Albrecht von Graefe (1828-70). Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry 64 (4): 504.
  • Remky H (September 1995). Albrecht von Graefe. Facets of his work. On the occasion of the 125th anniversary of his death (20 July 1870). Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology 233 (9): 537–48.
  • Verdaguer J (September 1992). Albrecht von Graefe: The man and his time. Revista Médica De Chile 120 (9): 1070–9.
  • Koelbing HM, Speiser P (1990). The Graefe memorial stone--in memory of A. von Graefe's contributions in Heiden. Gesnerus 47 (1): 109–17.
  • Jaeger W (1988). Numismatic history of the von Graefe Medal of the German Ophthalmological Society. Klinika Oczna 90 (4-5): 186–7.
  • Kyle RA, Shampo MA (July 1980). Albrecht von Graefe. JAMA 244 (1): 20.
  • Fuhrmeister H (May 1980). Hallesche Duplikate der Majolikareliefs vom Berliner Albrecht-von-Graefe-Denkmal. Klinische Monatsblätter Für Augenheilkunde 176 (5): 867–9.
  • Blodi FC (September 1979). Ophthalmology and philately: I. Ophthalmologists on stamps.--Albrecht von Graefe (1828-1870). Archives of Ophthalmology 97 (9): 1653.
  • Kettesy A (December 1975). The polemics on strabogenesis between A. v. Graefe and F. C. Donders (author's transl). Klinische Monatsblätter Für Augenheilkunde 167 (6): 785–91.
  • (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.
  • Wachholz EA (1972). Cataract knife and cataract incision from Jean Jacques Daviel to Albrecht von Graefe. Bericht Über Die Zusammenkunft 71: 709–12.
  • Goldmann H (1971). Albrecht von Graefe und das Glaukom. Albrecht Von Graefes Archiv Für Klinische Und Experimentelle Ophthalmologie 181 (2): 94–106.
  • Rintelen F (1971). Albrecht von Graefe, seine Persönlichkeit, seine Zeit. Albrecht Von Graefes Archiv Für Klinische Und Experimentelle Ophthalmologie 181 (2): 79–93.
  • Cooper SN (December 1970). Editorial. Albrecht von Graefe. Journal of the All-India Ophthalmological Society 18 (4): 150–3.
  • Toselli C (September 1970). In memory of Albrecht von Graefe. (1828-1870). Annali di Ottalmologia e Clinica Oculistica 96 (9): 433–51.
  • Böck J (1970). Zum 100. Todestag Albrecht von Graefes. Albrecht Von Graefes Archiv für Klinische und Experimentelle Ophthalmologie 180 (2): 93.
  • Hoffmann-Axthelm W (1969). The von Graefe family and their estate "Finkenherd" in the Berlin zoological garden. Bericht Über Die Zusammenkunft 69: 685–706.
  • , (July 1966). Albrecht von Graefe (1828-1870). JAMA 197 (4): 292–3.
  • (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.
  • Leopold IH (1958). Albrecht von Graefe. Diabetes 7 (2): 151–4.
  • 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

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