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Ophthalmoscope, Paris, France, 1845-1865

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Herman von Helmholtz (1821-1894) invented the ophthalmoscope in 1851. It became the key instrument for viewing the retina and other internal structures of the eye. This simple steel ophthalmoscope is a very early example. It was made by German instrument maker Hermann Wülfing Lüer, in Paris. Early ophthalmoscopes used reflected sunlight from mirrors to view the inner eye. Modern examples use a built-in light source such as a halogen bulb. They assess the inner eye and help diagnose complaints such as glaucoma. Glaucoma is increased pressure within the eyeball, leading to loss of sight.

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    Glossary: ophthalmology

    The branch of medicine dealing with the diseases and surgery of the visual pathways (usually the eyes or the brain).

    Glossary: ophthalmoscope

    An instrument for viewing the interior of the eye, particularly the retina. Light is shone into the eye via a mirror (usually concave) and then examined with or without the aid of a lens. Invented by by Hermann Von Helmholtz in 1850