Lucien Howe
Lucien Howe was an American physician who spent much of his career as a professor of ophthalmology
Ophthalmology is the branch of medicine that deals with the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the eye. An ophthalmologist is a specialist in medical and surgical eye problems...

 at the University of Buffalo. In 1876 he was instrumental in the creation of the Buffalo Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Howe is mainly remembered for his work in the prevention of blindness
Blindness is the condition of lacking visual perception due to physiological or neurological factors.Various scales have been developed to describe the extent of vision loss and define blindness...

. In 1926 he established the Howe Laboratory at Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School is the graduate medical school of Harvard University. It is located in the Longwood Medical Area of the Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts....

 for research and study of biochemistry
Biochemistry, sometimes called biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes in living organisms, including, but not limited to, living matter. Biochemistry governs all living organisms and living processes...

, genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

, neurobiology, and physiology
Physiology is the science of the function of living systems. This includes how organisms, organ systems, organs, cells, and bio-molecules carry out the chemical or physical functions that exist in a living system. The highest honor awarded in physiology is the Nobel Prize in Physiology or...

 concerning the eye. Also the American Ophthalmology Society names its most prestigious award- the Lucien Howe Medal after him. Howe was a catalyst in New York State concerning the mandatory application of silver nitrate
Silver nitrate
Silver nitrate is an inorganic compound with chemical formula . This compound is a versatile precursor to many other silver compounds, such as those used in photography. It is far less sensitive to light than the halides...

 drops into the eyes of newborns as a disinfectant in order to prevent neonatal infection and possible blindness.

Howe was also a major figure in support of the controversial science of eugenics
Eugenics is the "applied science or the bio-social movement which advocates the use of practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population", usually referring to human populations. The origins of the concept of eugenics began with certain interpretations of Mendelian inheritance,...

. From a hereditary standpoint, he believed that eugenics could be a positive tool in the fight against preventable blindness. He theorized that by sterilizing the blind, the undesirable trait could eventually be eradicated.

External references

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