The first eye infirmary in the United States was founded in New London, Connecticut, by Dr. Elisha North (1771-1843). North's Eye Infirmary opened its doors in 1817 and remained in existence for at least 12 years. North appears to have done considerable ocular surgery and invented an eye speculum. It was his belief that this pioneer institution "... hastened in this country the establishment of larger and better eye infirmaries." In addition to being a leading figure in Connecticut medical affairs, North made important contributions to the control of smallpox in this country and wrote the first book concerning meningococcal meningitis.
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