Franciscus Cornelis Donders (May 27, 1818 in Tilburg - March 24, 1889 in Utrecht) was a Dutch ophthalmologist. During his career, he was a professor of physiology in Utrecht, and was internationally regarded as an authority on eye diseases, directing the ...
Franciscus Cornelis Donders (May 27, 1818 in Tilburg - March 24, 1889 in Utrecht) was a Dutch ophthalmologist. During his career, he was a professor of physiology in Utrecht, and was internationally regarded as an authority on eye diseases, directing the Netherlands Hospital for Eye Patients. Along with Graefe and Helmholtz, he was one of the primary founders of scientific ophthalmology.
For several years the young Donders studied at the military medical school in Utrecht, earning his M.D. in 1840 from the University of Leiden. Following a stint as a medical officer in the Hague, in 1842 he was appointed as a lecturer in physiology and anatomy at the Utrecht military medical school. In 1847 he became an associate professor at Utrecht University, and in 1862 attained a full professorship in physiology.
He is known for his work and research of eye disease, and was among the first practitioners of the ophthalmoscope. He is credited with invention of an impression tonometer (1862), and for introduction of prismatic and cylindrical lenses for treatment of astigmatism (1860).
Donders also was the first to use differences in human reaction time to infer differences in cognitive processing. He tested both simple reaction time and choice reaction time, finding that simple reaction was faster. This concept is now one of the central tenets of cognitive psychology— while mental chronometry is not a topic in itself, it is one of the most common tools used for making inferences about processes such as learning, memory, and attention.
In 1864 he published the highly acclaimed "On the anomalies of accommodation and refraction of the eye".