- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Alfred Vogt

Born  1879
Died  1943

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Swiss ophthalmologist, born October 31, 1879, Menziken, Aargau; died 1943.

Biography of Alfred Vogt

Alfred Vogt attended the University of Basel and received his doctorate there in 1904. He then trained in ophthalmology in Basel under professor Carl Mellinger (1858-1917) and also visited Torino before he settled in private practice in 1906. In 1909 he became head physician at the cantonal eye clinic in Aarau, and in 1917 was appointed ausserordentlicher professor and director of the university eye clinic in Basel. In 1923 he accepted an invitation as director of the university eye clinic and ordentlicher Professor of the Zurich university eye clinic.

Vogt developed techniques for retinoscopy and the surgical management of retinal detachment. In 1913 he began using the newly constructed slit-lamp in conjunction with a corneal microscope to examine the structures of the anterior regions of the eye. This work resulted in his 3-volume textbook, first published in 1921. Vogt was a leading figure in ophthalmology and he received the prestigious Donders and Gullstrand medals for his achievements.

Vogt introduced cyclodiathermy for the treatment of glaucoma. Some believe that Francisco Goya suffered from this syndrome and that the sudden onset of deafness resulted in the dramatic change of his style from paintings which were colourful and gay to scenes depicting devastation and death characteristic of his “black period”.

His last years were darkened by the death of his son in an avalanche in the Swiss Mountains, and by chronic ill-health due to a renal disorder.

    "Vogt was the omnipotent ruler, venerated by the resident and nursing staff, second only to God. When he spoke, that was it, and nobody attempted to argue."
    His biographer

    "The Zurich Eye Clinic under Professor Vogt certainly was an efficiently run, hardworking and productive institute. Vogt kept close reins on the staff and by strict discipline, which would make some of our contemporary house staff shudder, produced maximal performance."
    His biographer


  • Damage to the Eye caused by Aniline Dye.
    Written while he worked with professor Carl Mellinger (1858-1917) in Basel.
  • Atlas der Spaltlampenmikroskopie des lebenden Auges.
    Berlin, J. Springer, 1921.
    Second edition greatly revised and enlarged. Volume 1-2, Springer, 1930-1931; volume 3, Stuttgart, F. Enke, 1942. English translation of volume 3, Zurich, 1947. Reprint of 2nd edition, Bonn, J. P. Wayenborgh, 1977. English translation by F. C. Blodi, 3 volumes, Bonn, J. P. Wayenborgh, 1978-1981. Also translated into French, and Italian.
  • Zur Heilung der Netzhautablösung mittels Ignipunktur des Risses.
    Schweizerische medizinische Wochenschrift, Basel, 1933, 63: 825-827.
  • F. W. Stocker:
    Professor Alfred Vogt (1879-1943).
    Obituary. Archives of Ophthalmology, Chicago, 1944, 31: 172-174.
  • Euard Bider:
    Alfred Vogt in Basel. 1918-1923. Inaugural dissertation, Basel, 1964. 55 pages. Remembrances of Things Past. 1923-1943: The era of Alfred Vogt.
    Survey of Ophthalmology, Boston, 1974, 19: 31-37.
  • H. Schläpfer, H. Wagner:
    Zum 100 Geburtstag von Prof Alfred Vogt.
    Schweizerische medizinische Wochenschrift, Basel, 1979, 109: 1565-1566.
We thank Rudolf Kleinert, Bad Reichenhall, Germany, for information submitted.

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