Color illustrations of 16th C eye-diseases, including those caused by witchcraft

16th century barber-surgeon Georg Bartisch began his barber-surgeon apprenticeship in 1548 in Saxony, and three years later, became an itinerant barber-surgeon in Saxony, Silesia, and Bohemia.

In 1583, he published an atlas of eye-diseases and their treatments, grouping them by cause -- including those that he attributed to witchcraft. He also prescribed wearing cool masks to correct astigmatism.

Though many of his ideas may seem strange to us now, Bartisch was a pioneer and his major contribution to ocular medicine was his compendium or “atlas” Ophthalmodouleia Das ist Augendienst published in 1583. It was the first book that detailed eye diseases and was responsible in establishing ophthalmology as a separate and distinct medical discipline.

Ophthalmodouleia Das ist Augendienst included sections on head and eye anatomy; strabismus; cataracts (which he classified by color—white, blue, gray, green, yellow, and black); external disease; trauma; and even witchcraft.

By 1588, Bartisch was oculist to the court of Duke Augustus I of Saxony. He died in 1607.

Ophthalmodouleia Das ist Augendienst [Georg Bartisch/U Oklahoma Libraries]


JEEPERS CREEPERS: SURREAL ILLUSTRATIONS OF WITCHCRAFT-CAUSED EYE DISEASES FROM THE 16TH CENTURY
[Paul Gallagher/Dangerous Minds]