The first cataract surgeons in Anglo-America

Christopher T. Leffler, Stephen G. Schwartz, Andrzej Grzybowski, Puneet S. Braich

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We tried to identify the earliest cataract surgeons in the English-speaking areas of America. In 1751, couching was performed on the Caribbean island of Montserrat by John Morphy. William Stork of England, who couched cataracts, practiced in Jamaica in 1760 and then in cities from Annapolis to Boston between 1761 and 1764. Frederick William Jericho of Germany, upon completion of his training at Utrecht, published his 1767 treatise on his preferred surgical technique of extracapsular cataract extraction. Jericho had practiced in the Leeward Islands by 1776 and then in cities from Charleston to Boston between 1783 and 1785. The French surgeon Lewis Leprilete was the first to advertise cataract extraction in the United States in 1782 and probably passed on the skill to his protégé, Nathaniel Miller of Massachusetts. Leprilete was also the first to publicize Benjamin Franklin's invention of bifocals. These pioneers exposed American doctors and the public to cataract surgery. Shortly after their arrival, evidence emerges of other surgeons performing these procedures in America.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-92
Number of pages7
JournalSurvey of Ophthalmology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Cataract extraction
  • Cataract surgery
  • Couching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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