Edwin Sterling Munson

Edwin Sterling Munson (1870-1958)

Edwin Sterling Munson (1870-1958) was an American ophthalmologist and homeopath.

Munson earned an international reputation in ophthalmology with numerous publications. He developed a test chart for eye examination in 1934 (modified Snellen chart). His name lives on in Munson sign.

Munson was actively involved in homeopathy being treasurer of the Homeopathic medical society of New York and publishing in the papers in the homeopathic literature on ophthalmoscopy; convergent strabismus; and the use of homeopathic medications in eye conditions as well as otitis media.


  • Born May 8, 1870 Earlville, Illinois
  • 1894 – MD, New York Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital
  • 1895 – Resident physician, New York Medical College
  • 1896 – Resident, New York Ophthalmic Hospital
  • 1914-1919 New York National Guard. Initially as private rising through ranks to lieutenant serving in 107th Infantry, 27th Division, AEF and served in France
  • 1930 – President of the American Homeopathic, Ophthalmological, Otological and Laryngological Society
  • 1936 – Professor Emeritus of Ophthalmology, New York Medical College
  • Dean of the New York Ophthalmic Hospital (now Flower Fifth Avenue Hospital)
  • Died February 2, 1958

Medical Eponyms

Munson sign (1933). V-shaped indentation observed in the lower eyelid when the patient’s gaze is directed downwards. The medical sign is characteristic of advanced cases of keratoconus (a condition in which the cornea assumes a conical shape because of thinning and protrusion) and is caused by the cone-shaped cornea pressing down into the eyelid.

When keratoconus is fully developed diagnosis becomes relatively simple. At this stage protrusion of the cornea has advanced to the point of appreciable conicity, and the apex has become irregularly opacified (interstitial keratitis) owing to increased exposure and friction, while sensitivity to touch has disappeared or diminished greatly. The degree of protrusion may be measured with the exophthalmometer, if available, or it may be studied advantageously by elicitation of the sign which was first pointed out by Dr. Edwin S. Munson to the staff of the New York Ophthalmic Hospital and has been referred to as Munson’s sign ever since.

Alfred Appelbaum 1936

Major Publications


eponymictionary CTA


the person behind the name

GP trainee in the UK after three years of Emergency Medicine in Brisbane and Perth. Fascinated by the history of medicine.

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