John Cunningham Saunders

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John Cunningham Saunders

John Cunningham Saunders, M.D. (10 October 1773 – 10 February 1810) was an English surgeon, known for his pioneering work on the surgery of cataracts. He was founder of the Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital (Moorfields).[1]


Saunders was born at Huish, Devon, England. He founded the London Eye Infirmary "out of compassion for the pitiful state of many soldiers returning from the Egyptian campaign afflicted with military ophthalmoplegia and trachoma infections" Saunders remained the director of Moorfields, a famous teaching institution, from its founding in 1805 until his death.

In 1809, he became one of the first people in England to use belladonna for its mydriatic properties to facilitate cataract extraction.

The church at Huish in Devon contains a memorial to him.


His book; A Treatise on some Practical Points Relating to the Diseases of the Eye. was published posthumously in 1811, edited by his colleague John Richard Farre.[2] It was printed at the expense of the Governors of the Hospital, by subscription, to aid the author's widow.


  1. Julius Hirschberg (1987). The history of ophthalmology. Wayenborgh. p. 124. Retrieved 17 April 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2.  [ "Saunders, John Cunningham" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>