Else Steinert née Loewenheim (1879–1948): one of Germany's first female specialist ophthalmologists
This study of Else Steinert presents one of the first women in Germany to specialize as an ophthalmologist. Merely tolerated as a guest listener, she conducted most of her studies in Leipzig (1900–1905) and acquired her doctor's licence there. During World War I she worked as assistant at the Ophthalmology Clinic at Leipzig University under Hubert Sattler (1844–1928), but soon thereafter was displaced by her male colleagues returning from the War. Between 1920 and 1937 the young widow and mother of three had a private practice, first in Leipzig and then in Idar-Oberstein, which was one of the first ophthalmology practices to be opened by a female doctor on a national scale. After the Nazis had seized power and she had thus been declared a Jew, her doctor's licence was withdrawn and in this manner she was deprived of her livelihood. To escape being deported to a concentration camp she fled and survived World War II in the countryside of Bavaria. Her MD thesis of 1920, of which only an eight-page abridged version has survived, is a contribution to the debate on the indication and prognosis of Elliot's trepanation for the treatment of glaucoma. Based on her investigations she strongly recommended this operation for all patients with severe glaucoma.