Intended for healthcare professionals


Charles George McEwen: visionary ophthalmologist

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 20 March 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m1142
  1. John Illman
  1. London, UK
  1. john{at}

Operating microscopes have become as standard in ophthalmology as antibiotics in treating infection. But magnification in ophthalmology has a controversial history. In the 1950s and ’60s many clinicians struggling with lengthy lists complained about how long it took to use the new cumbersome devices. Not knowing what they could not see, they swore by their old fashioned loupes or magnifiers.

Charles McEwen (“Charlie”) played a prominent part in the revolution that consigned the loupe to the museum and brought the operating microscope into the clinical mainstream. He was also part of a new generation driven by the dream of making the world a better place …

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