We screened 32 ophthalmology journals that had published articles during the period from 1850 through 1949 to identify top-cited articles in the field of ophthalmology (hereafter referred to as citation classics) using the online database Science Citation Index Expanded (Thompson Reuters, Chicago, Illinois). The 101 most frequently cited articles were published in 16 journals. Archives of Ophthalmology had the most top-cited articles (n = 31), followed by American Journal of Ophthalmology (n = 24) and Albrecht von Graefe's Archiv für Ophthalmologie (n = 9). These articles originated from 14 countries, with the United States publishing the majority (n = 58). Most of the citation classics are clinical studies on topics such as rubella cataract, retinopathy of prematurity, keratoconjunctivitis sicca, sympathetic ophthalmia, and the first report of eponymous diseases (eg, Leber hereditary optic neuropathy, Duane retraction syndrome, and Stargardt disease). A considerable number of these articles were ignored initially and for several decades after publication, but, like the classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty, they have been rediscovered. Our study provides a historical perspective on the classic papers in the literature that are still influential in ophthalmology.