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Biographical entry Morton, Andrew Stanford (1848 - 1927)

MRCS July 23rd 1871; FRCS Jan 14th 1888; MB CM Edin 1874.

11 April 1927
Ophthalmic surgeon


Studied at Edinburgh, at University College Hospital, London, and in Paris. At the Royal Ophthalmic Hospital, Moorfields, he was first House Surgeon in 1876 under Bowman and George Critchett, having as his colleague Marcus Gunn, then for sixteen years Clinical Assistant, when he was appointed Assistant Surgeon on the resignation of George Lawson (qv) in 1886 and full Surgeon in 1891, resigning in 1909. Meanwhile he had become Surgeon to the Royal South London Ophthalmic Hospital, Southwark, and later Ophthalmic Surgeon to the Great Northern Hospital.

Morton gained a permanent place in the history of ophthalmology by the production of his ophthalmoscope, based on an invention of John Couper (qv). It consisted of a set of lenses capable of being moved in front of the sight-hole by a geared wheel for the estimation of refraction before the days of retinoscopy. Adapted to an electric installation, its success continued, owing largely to the excellence of its British manufacture. He had remarkably sound judgement based on clinical experience and was a very dexterous operator, yet never seemed to realize the advantages of modern aseptic methods. He operated with much success on conical corneae, excising a small elliptical portion, and he described his methods at the Swansea Meeting of the British Medical Association (Brit Med Jour, 1903, ii, 717). Whilst he was working as a clinical assistant retinoscopy for the correction of errors of refraction came into use, and Morton wrote a small book on Refraction of the Eye which immediately became popular.

The classes in which he was accustomed to demonstrate on pigs' eyes the chief ophthalmic operations were always popular. He was an excellent draughtsman, and his drawings of the fundus of the eye were reproduced in the Transactions of the Ophthalmological Society; the originals are preserved in Moorfields.

He received the Order of Chevalier of the Crown of Italy for his services as Surgeon to the Italian Hospital. Lieut-Colonel A E J Lister, Professor of Ophthalmology at King George's Medical College, Lucknow, described a cataract operation by Morton in the British Medical Journal (1927, ii, 117). Morton practised at 133 Harley Street. He retired in 1920 and went to live among his relatives at Clifton, where he died on April 11th, 1927.

Morton's numerous publications appeared in the Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital Reports and in the Transactions of the Ophthalmological Society.
An Improved Student's Ophthalmoscope, 8vo, London, 1884.
Refraction of the Eye: Its Diagnosis and the Correction of its Errors, with a Chapter on Keratoscopy, 8vo, London, 1881; 7th ed, 8vo, 1906, with a chapter on the use of prisms.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Treacher Collins's History and Traditions of the Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, 1929. Lancet, 1927, i, 948. Brit Med Jour, 1927, i, 780].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England