Have you ever heard of couching? The word causes me to see a visual image of my husband on Sunday afternoon during football season, but couching also has an ophthalmic connotation. It is the term used to describe an early cataract removal procedure in which a sharp instrument was inserted posterior to the limbus and with a downward movement the lens was dislocated, leaving the patient aphakic.
The “surgery” was complete when the patient began to see shapes. This procedure is described in Celsus’ “De re Medicina”, which is the oldest Greco-Latin medical document after the Hippocratic writings, appearing around 29 AD. Couching procedures remained popular up through the 19th century and are said to still be practiced in some remote areas of the world.