- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Eales' disease

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Noninflammatory disorder of the peripheral retinal vessels with recurrent vitreous and retinal haemorrhages giving sudden visual impairment. Occur in stress situation, after trauma, or after awakening. Most cases are spontaneous and unilateral (not posttraumatic). Begins with periphlebitis retinae. There is sudden loss of vision usually in one eye, or vision impairment (scotoma, floating spots). Occasionally associated with neovascularisation, haemorrhage, vascular obliteration, vascular sheathing, ataxia, paresthesiasis, speech disorder. Progressive condition with improvements and recurrences. Prevalent in second and third decades of life. Etiology unknown

The disease picture was probably described before Eales by the Dutch physician Adrien Christopher van Trigt (1825-1864). The work listed below is the only one found by Trigt on ophthalmology, so that is probably where he described it. Learn some Latin and see for yourself.


  • A. C. van Trigt:
    Dissertatio ophthalmologica inauguralis de speculo oculi.
    Trajecti ad Rhenum, P. W. van de Weijer, 1853.
    Contains the first printed illustrations of the fundus of the eye.
  • H. Eales:
    Cases of retinal haemorrhage, associated with epistaxis and constipation.
    Birmingham Medical Review, 1880, 9: 262-273.

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