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A milestone in the history of medicine: Dr. Eduard Zirm and the first successful keratoplasty in 1905

Poster Details

First Author: S.Scholtz GERMANY

Co Author(s):    F. Kretz   G. Auffarth           

Abstract Details


This poster is done in honour of life and achievements of Dr. Eduard Zirm who performed the first successful transplantation of a human cornea 110 years ago. This was the first transplantation of human tissue as well.


International Vision Correction Research Centre (IVCRC), Dept. of Ophthalmology, University of Heidelberg, Germany


Selective literature research of books and journal articles via PubMed, Google Scholar and Google.


On December 7, 1905 Dr. Eduard Zirm (*1863, †1944) performed the world´s first successful transplantation of a human cornea at the hospital of Olmütz (Moravia at that time, today Olomouc, Czech Republic). By using glass or animal cornea the history of corneal replacements had started already in 1798. In 1879 the first successful corneal transplantation took place, but the cornea went opaque within 20 hours. Zirm´s transplant stayed stable for more than one year.


Corneal alterations are still a major cause for blindness or severe visual impairment worldwide. By inventing the knowledge of successfully transplanting a cornea Zirm made an important impact on ophthalmology. Ongoing research led to new techniques and devices used in modern keratoplasty, e.g. femto-second lasers for retrieving more accurate grafts and improved wound healing. Today´s limitation is the availability of donor corneas. The Lions Club is supporting eye banks worldwide.

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