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Rhazes Doubting Galen: Ancient and Medieval Theories of Vision

Mohammadali M. Shoja, Paul S. Agutter, R. Shane Tubbs


In this article, we give a brief account of Rhazes' life and works and provide an English translation of a passage from his “Doubts on Galen” concerning the theory of vision; Rhazes’ “Doubts on Galen,” although an important and controversial contribution in his era, has seldom been examined in literature. We follow our discussion by overviewing the evolution of vision theories in ancient and medieval times. An account of intromission and extramission theories is given. The present review attempts to cover three periods, i.e., before Galen, between Galen and Rhazes, and after Rhazes. It also gives a brief historical snapshot on how vision theories lead to the development of geometrical and physical studies that further contributed to advances in ophthalmology.

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