Cataracts in Ancient Egypt
Ever wonder how vision problems were treated hundreds or thousands of years ago? Thought there weren’t any treatments before modern day medicine? The answer may surprise you.
The oldest documented case of a cataract throughout history was noted in a famous and small statue from the 5th dynasty (about 2457-2467 B.C.) contained in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt. In fact, “cataract” means both an opacity of the lens and a torrent of water and is derived from the Greek word kataráktēs meaning the fall of water.
A wall painting in an ancient tomb at Thebes (about 1200 B.C.) seems to reveal the treatment of an eye by an oculist. Scientists believe that the painting, as well as ancient medical instruments including some uniquely designed surgical needles discovered, indicate that cataracts were treated in ancient times.
Cataracts in ancient Egypt were apparently a treatable phenomenon, though leaving much to be desired. Today’s advanced technologies owe a nod to the scientists and physicians of ancient times.