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SL-3D slit lamp, Japan, 1980

The first slit lamp was devised by Alvar Gullstrand (1862-1930) in 1911. Slit lamps are used to examine the fluid between the iris and the cornea at the front of the eye. Examining this part of the eye may help diagnose problems such as glaucoma. Glaucoma is a condition where the optic nerve becomes damaged leading to loss of sight. An artificial eye is shown here in approximately the position above the chin rest which the patient’s eye was examined. The bright, slit-shaped beam of light produced by the machine is focused on the eye. There is a joystick control for the horizontal movements of the instruments. A powerful microscope was used for the examination. This was made by Japanese company Topcon. Slit lamps are now standard equipment in hospital eye departments.

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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: slit lamp

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