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Beale type self-illuminating ophthalmoscope, London, England, 1870

An ophthalmoscope illuminates the interior of the eye. This allows examination through the pupil of the retina and other internal structures. This self-illuminating example was devised by Lionel Beale in 1969. The ophthalmoscope was mounted on a wooden stand or held in the hand. It could be used in full daylight or in a well-lit room. Before Beale’s invention, eye inspections were done in darkened rooms to concentrate the light source into the eye. This example was made by Hawksley of London.

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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