- 科学史研究 (ISSN:21887535)
- vol.54, no.274, pp.37, 2015 (Released:2020-12-14)
The present article explores practical aspects of medieval ophthalmology in Cairo Genizah, by examining an exchange of letters (T-S 10J16.16) between two ophthalmologists (Abu Zikri and Abu 'Ali). In this document, written between the twelfth and thirteenth century, they talked about conditions and treatments of three eye diseases, i.e. ulcer of cornea (qarha fi qarniya), conjunctivitis (ramad) and trachoma (jarab). I compare their descriptions with the explanations found in major Arabic ophthalmological texts, and thereby reveal the practical dimension of their medical activity. At the stage of diagnosis, Abu Zikri's observation was based on the same pathological knowledge as described in the medieval Arabic medical texts, which was also shared by Abu 'All. However, when deciding the treatment plans, the two ophthalmologists, though still basing themselves on the same medical books, adopted different methods. Finally, at the stage of prescription, Abu 'Ali suggested the use of some medical substances that could seldom be found in the major texts. His knowledge of pharmacotherapy could come from his experiences (tajriba). Although such empirical knowledge might not have affected Abu 'All's basic physiology, its accumulation within the domain of pharmacotherapy could have influenced his decision about treatment plans.