John Dalrymple

John Dalrymple (1803 – 1852)

John Dalrymple (1803 – 1852) was an English surgeon and ophthalmologist.

One of the pioneers of medical education within the field of ophthalmology. Eponymously affiliated with Dalrymple sign (1852) in Graves disease

Eclectic publications of this polymath surgeon, ophthalmologist, pathologist, biologist, histologist, and artist. Dissection and histology of first case of multiple myeloma with Bence Jones (1846)

  • Born 1803 Norwich, England
  • 1827 – Graduated University of Edinburgh
  • 1832 – Assistant-surgeon at the Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital (Full surgeon 1843)
  • 1843 – Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (one of the original 300 Fellows)
  • 1849 – Consulting Surgeon of North London Infirmary
  • 1850 – Fellow of the Royal Society
  • Died 2 May 1852
Key Medical Attributions

1834 – Published ‘The Anatomy of the Human Eye’ a 300-page account of the history and current knowledge of the eye. ‘In my search for authorities, I found no work in the English language, especially dedicated to the anatomy of the organ of vision…I have been induced to combine in a monographic form the many discoveries and improvements that have of late years enriched the department of anatomical sciences.‘ Dalrymple 1834

1846 – Dalrymple collaborated with Henry Bence Jones to sketch the skeletal defects found in patients with multiple myeloma. In ‘On the microscopial character of mollities ossium‘. Dalrymple conducted and documented the post-mortem examination of Mr. Thomas Alexander McBean, the first well-documented case to be diagnosed with multiple myeloma (Bence Jones Protein) [1846;2:85-95.]

Medical Eponyms
Dalrymple sign (1852)

Dalrymple sign: Widened palpebral tissue (lid retraction) or lid spasm seen in thyrotoxicosis (Graves-Basedow disease), causing abnormal wideness of the palpebral fissure.

As a result of the retraction of the upper eyelid, the white of the sclera is visible at the upper margin of the cornea in direct outward stare. A sign of thyroid-related orbitopathy (TRO) particularly in hyperthyroidism and exophthalmic goitre.

Normally the margin of the upper eyelid rests just below the edge of the corneal limbus and covers about 1 mm of the iris

Major Publications


eponymictionary CTA 2


the person behind the name

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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