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Rubinstein cryosurgical apparatus, Kent, England, 1960-1965

Cryosurgery involves the use of extreme cold to destroy tumours and other abnormal and unwanted tissues and has been practised since the late 1800s. Used for delicate eye surgery under general and local anaesthetic, this cryosurgical unit was introduced in 1964. The metal probe is cooled with liquid nitrogen and then used to extract the lens from the eye. The probe could also repair damage to the retina. Named after its inventor, Kazimierz Rubinstein, an ophthalmologist and surgeon, the apparatus was replaced by improved machines which did not use liquid nitrogen. Liquid nitrogen is dangerous when used in poorly ventilated areas and can cause breathing difficulties. The equipment was made by Spembly Technical Products Ltd.

Object number:

1980-1088

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Glossary:

Glossary: ophthalmology

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

Glossary: cryosurgical equipment

equipment used in cryosurgery

Glossary: retinal detachment

disorder of the eye in which the retina peels away from its underlying layer of support tissue. Initial detachment may be localized, but without rapid treatment the entire retina may detach, leading to vision loss and blindness.

Glossary: tumour

A swelling caused by an abnormal growth of cells.

Glossary: cataract

Cloudiness on the lens of the eye impairing vision or causing blindness.