Univ. Prof. Dr. Ursula Schmidt-Erfurth
This year the Department of Ophthalmology and Optometry of the Medical University Vienna celebrates its 200 years anniversary. Founded in 1812 it was the first University Eye clinic in the world. The department was declared an official chair in 1818 and thereafter developed as a medical and academic discipline. After internal medicine and surgery ophthalmology was the third medical discipline to obtain an independent status and residency training.
The team of the Department of Ophthalmology of the Medical University Vienna is aware of its historical and medical responsibility over the centuries and continues to this tradition until today!
Professor and Chair
Department of Ophthalmology and Optometry
Medical University of Vienna
George Joseph Beer - The First Chairman
Initially a theology student, George Joseph Beer soon changed to medicine, receiving his doctorate in 1786. Under the guidance of his mentor Joseph Barth (1745-1818) Beers’ primary focus turned to the field of ophthalmology. He became a popular teacher and attracted a large number of students. As a result Beer was appointed by the government as the first chair to the newly founded University Department of Ophthalmology in 1812.
His most famous students were
William Mackenzie (1791–1868),
Philipp Franz von Walther (1782–1849),
Carl Ferdinand von Graefe (1787–1840),
Johann Nepomuk Fischer (1777–1847),
Konrad Johann Martin Langenbeck (1776–1851),
Anton von Rosas (1791–1855),
Maximilian Joseph von Chelius (1794–1876),
Francesco Flarer (1791–1859) and Christoph Friedrich Jaeger Ritter von Jaxtthal (1784–1871), his future son-in-law.
The ophthalmologist Ernst Fuchs (1851 – 1930), chair of the university Eye clinic from 1885 to 1915, influenced a new generation of ophthalmologists worldwide. His famous work “Textbook of Ophthalmology” was translated into 35 languages and earned the title "bible of ophthalmology" for at least 50 years. The first edition was bound with empty pages, so that the author could make corrections for later editions.
Our Mission today
Since 1812 two hundred years have passed. Today the Department of Ophthalmology and Optometry of the Medical University Vienna is one of Europe`s leading eye hospitals.
Our Mission is to promote healing through patient-centered care, scientific research and teaching:
Patient care includes providing state of the art diagnostic and therapy in ophthalmology in terms of prevention, health maintenance, healing and abatement of symptoms.
High level scientific research enables our continuous diagnostic and therapeutic progress.
Training of medical students and specialists in ophthalmology as well as postdoctoral education is another central aim of the Department of Ophthalmology.