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John Zachariah Laurence

Born  1829
Died  1970

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English ophthalmologist, born 1829; died July 18, 1870.

Biography of John Zachariah Laurence

John Zachariah Laurence was the founder of the Royal Eye Hospital and the founder and editor of Ophthalmic Review, the first English journal devoted to ophthalmology. He qualified at University College, London, in 1854 and then specialised in general surgery.

In 1857 Laurence founded the Ophthalmic Hospital at Southwark in London and was active there until 1873. This hospital later became the Royal Eye Hospital. He was also surgeon to the Surrey Ophthalmic Hospital, and from 1866 held an additional appointment as ophthalmic surgeon to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, Rochester. From 1863 he was a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and M. B. University of London,

Laurence was instrumental in promoting the use of the ophthalmoscope in Britain. He had done undergraduate studies of refraction and accommodation mechanisms in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and gave a series of lectures on these topics in England. The lectures were well received and they were published in 1865.

Laurence founded the journal Ophthalmic Review, edited by himself and Thomas Windsor. The journal was published in three volumes from 1864 to 1867. When John Zachariah Laurence died in 1870, he was only 42 years of age.

We thank Pam Rowden for information submitted. John Zachariah Laurence was her great-great-grandfather.


  • The diagnosis of surgical cancer (Lectures on theology).
    London, John Churchill, January 1, 1855.
    A classic treatise on histological studies in the diagnosis of cancer.
  • The influence of the variation of the size of the pupil on the accomodating power of the eye.
    London: W. Mackenzie, 1860. 2nd edition, revised and enlarged, H. C. Lea, January 1, 1869.
  • The Sensibility of the Eye to Colour. 1861.
  • A Handy-book of Ophthalmic Surgery for the Use of Practitioners.
    Written with Robert C. Moon. London, Robert Hardwicke, January 1, 1866.
  • A. Sorsby:
    Zachariah Laurence. A belated tribute.
    British Journal of Ophthalmology, London, 1932, 16: 727.

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