Douglas Argyll Robertson

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Douglas Argyll Robertson

Douglas Moray Cooper Lamb Argyll Robertson FRSE (1837 – 3 January 1909) was a Scottish ophthalmologist and surgeon. Argyll Robertson pupil is named after him.[1]


He was born in Edinburgh in 1837. He was son of Dr. John Argyll Robertson, surgeon and president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1846.[2]

After earning his medical degree in 1857 from the University of St Andrews, he went to Berlin to study under Albrecht von Graefe (1828–1870). Robertson spent most of his medical career in Edinburgh as an eye surgeon at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and teacher of ophthalmology at the University of Edinburgh. For a while he was honorary eye physician to Queen Victoria and King Edward VII.

Robertson made several contributions in the field of ophthalmology; in 1863 he researched the effects on the eye made by physostigmine, an extract from the Calabar bean (Physostigma venenosum), which is found in tropical Africa. He correctly predicted that physostigmine would become very important in the treatment of eye disorders. He also described a symptom of neurosyphilis that affects the pupils of the eye, which is known today as Argyll Robertson pupils.

He was president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh for 1886-7.

He died in Gondal, India in 1909 and was cremated on the banks of the river Gondh.[3]


  1. Waterston, Charles D; Macmillan Shearer, A (July 2006). Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783-2002: Biographical Index (PDF). II. Edinburgh: The Royal Society of Edinburgh. ISBN 978-0-902198-84-5. Retrieved 22 March 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2.  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainPower, D'Arcy (1901). [ "Robertson, Douglas Moray Cooper Lamb Argyll" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). Dictionary of National Biography (1st supplement). London: Smith, Elder & Co.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Robertson, Douglas Moray Cooper Lamb Argyll (DNB12)". Retrieved 4 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>