Raffaele Riva was born in Caserta, Southern Italy and had his studies at the university there. He obtained a degree in Medicine and Surgery on December 3rd, 1883. As soon as he finished his degree, he immediately acquired a degree in ophthalmology just 15 months later, on October 1st, 1884.

He then emigrated to the United States, where he passed the first examination for an American license with honors and became certified by the Medical Board of New York City on November 17th, 1886. He then went on to become a professor of ophthalmology, the medical specialty dealing with diagnosing and treating eye diseases. He also created the first school of ophthalmology in New York. Raffaele Riva established his practice as an ophthalmologist at 200 Central Park South, New York City.

Raffaele Riva was born into an upper-class family in 1858. Raffaele Riva’s father was a professional ophthalmologist, but his son’s education was in medicine as he did not want to be an ophthalmologist. He received his early training in medicine at the University of Naples and passed his M.D. in 1880.

In 1883 Riva obtained a diploma from the School of Ophthalmology in Paris. She went to work at the hospitals at Neuilly, where he had charge of eye diseases among children and eye diseases among adults. He remained there for a year before working at the Eye Hospital of Turin for two years. Raffaele Riva moved to New York City in 1884 and was made the medical director of an Eye Hospital in Harlem. While there, he became interested in ophthalmology and decided to specialize. Although ophthalmology was not yet a recognized specialty, Riva’s interest and experience called for a Chair at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, which the American Medical Association established then.

In 1889 Raffaele Riva trained many young ophthalmologists who would become famous in their own right. These include Carl Heimburg, Bernard Sachs, Francis Winslow Anderson (1871–1930) and George Niekirk (1868–1941).


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