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Gullstrand Lecture, presented by Thomas Olsen

Sunday 18 September 

Allvar Gullstrand Nobel Prize Centennial (1911-2011) - What modern refractive surgeons should know


Allvar Gullstrand (1862- 1930) was a Swedish ophthalmologist and professor at the University of Uppsala. Together with other giants from the birth of modern science like Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894) he applied the theory of physical mathematics to the study of ocular refraction for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1911. To date, Allvar Gullstrand is the only ophthalmologist who has received this award. Among his achievements are numerous scientific papers on optical instrumentation and modeling of the human eye and many of his methodologies and schematic eye assumptions are still valid today. One such example is the slit lamp, which Gullstrand invented as a tool to study the interfaces of the ocular media. Another example is the reflex-free ophthalmoscope, the principle of which is still in use in modern fundus cameras. Probably his most important contribution, however, is his theoretical work to pave the road for a complete understanding of the human eye as an optical system. Among the subjects are real ocular imagery, corneal optics, astigmatism, spherical aberration and other higher orders aberration, accommodation, gradient index of refraction of the crystalline lens and many other key issues of high interest to ophthalmologists in general and modern refractive surgeons in particular.

In this presentation dr Olsen will discuss Allvar Gullstrand’s relevance for our thinking as refractive surgeons and give personal examples of the usefulness of the classical methods.

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