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Liebreich ophthalmoscope, England, 1855-1865

An ophthalmoscope is used to view the retina of the eye. It was invented in 1851 by Herman von Helmholtz (1821-94). This simple ophthalmoscope was adapted by pioneering German ophthalmologist Richard Liebreich (1830-1917). It was made by J. Weiss and Son of London. It is seen here with two pairs of spectacles. These correct long or short sightedness in the observer, two conditions that could affect the physician’s ability to diagnose by 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