My first introduction to the eye came more than three decades ago when my close friend and mentor, the late Professor Isaac C. Michaelson, convinced me that studying the biochemistry of ocular tissues would be a rewarding pursuit. I hastened to explain that I knew nothing about the subject, since relatively few basic biochemical studies on ocular tissues had appeared in the world literature. Professor Michaelson assured me, however, that two books on eye biochemistry had already been written. One of them, a beautiful monograph by Arlington Krause ( 1934) of Johns Hopkins Hospital, is we II worth reading even today for its historical perspective.
The other, published 22 years later, was written by Antoinette Pirie and Ruth van Heyningen ( 1956), whose pioneering achievements in eye biochemistry at the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology in Oxford, England are known throughout the eye research community and beyond. To their credit are classical investigations on retinal, corneal, and lens biochemistry, beginning in the 1940s and continuing for many decades thereafter.
Their important book written in 1956 on the Biochemistry of the Eye is a volume that stood out as a landmark in this field for many years. In recent years, however, a spectacular amount of new information has been gener ated in ocular biochemistry. Moreover, there is increasing specialization among investiga tors in either a specific field of biochemistry or a particular ocular tissue.