EARLY REPORTS OF phantom limbs by Ambroise Paré and René Descartes were based on second- or third-hand descriptions provided by amputees. William Porterfield (ca. 1696-1771) was a prominent Scottish physician and was possibly the first man of medicine to write about his experiences after having a leg amputated. Porterfield was an authority on vision; he devised the first optometer and examined accommodation after cataract operations. Rather than using the phenomenon of a phantom limb to question the veracity of the senses (as Descartes had done), Porterfield integrated his phantom limb experiences into his general account of sensory function.