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From the Rush Archives: Glaucoma Awareness Month and Ophthalmology at Rush

by Nathalie Wheaton on 2021-01-28T09:00:00-06:00 in Archives, History | 0 Comments

From the Rush Archives:

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. Advances in tools and techniques have changed the outlook for Rush’s glaucoma patients in past decades.

Microsurgery and Glaucoma:

An article on advances in microsurgery in the Winter 1980 issue of Rush’s The Magazine included the latest successes for glaucoma patients. In 1980, Rush’s Department of Ophthalmology had five operating microscopes for use in major and minor surgery and research. The most recent acquisition at the time was the Zeiss OMNI 6 with foot pedal zoom and focusing control, installed as part of the Joseph and Helen Regenstein Eye Center grant.

CAPTION: William E. Deutsch, MD, examines a cataract patient. From The Magazine, Winter 1980. [1]

From The Magazine, Winter 1980: ...While there is no cure for glaucoma, the disease is commonly controlled with drugs to relieve the pressure on the optic nerve. A microsurgical procedure called a trabeculectomy affords the same result [for glaucoma] without the use of drugs… 

"…We have not yet reached the full potential of microsurgery of the eye. Radical eye surgery is just now in its infancy, but is one area that should move forward as more ophthalmologists use the operating microscope…" 

-Ophthalmologist William E. Deutsch, MD, acting chairman of the department at the time.

Laser Surgery and Glaucoma:

A dozen years later, the Spring 1992 issue of The Magazine covered yet another advancement in glaucoma treatment, the use of lasers.

"...Lasers can be used to delay or prevent the need for conventional surgery for some glaucoma patients. They work by creating holes to drain fluid or, in the most severe cases, by destroying the very cells that produce fluid in the first place..."

At the time, Rush was the only academic medical center in Chicago to have access to a laser that was predicted to one day be the preferred tool for permanently correcting focusing errors in nearsighted people. 

CAPTION: Rush's excimer laser, used to correct nearsightedness. From Rush's The Magazine, Spring 1992.

"...Lasers have brought us into a Star Wars revolution in the operating room... Looking at progress in eye care, lasers are the most dramatic in a series of advances made possible by long-term research both in clinical settings and in the laboratory..." 

-William E. Deutsch, MD, chairman and professor of ophthalmology at Rush.

Learn more about Ophthalmology Services at Rush today:

Want to learn more about the history of Rush or the Rush Archives collections? Explore the Rush Archives website, or contact the archivist, Nathalie Wheaton, MSLS. Follow us on Twitter! @RushArchives

All documents and photographs belong to the records collections of Rush University Medical Center Archives, Chicago, Ill. Contact the archivist for permissions and full citations.


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