The evolution of the different types of ophthalmic equipment
found in a doctor’s office begins around 1850; when a German inventor constructed the first ophthalmoscope for use in the office. Crude needles, an iris forceps and a needle/gouger hybrid done in ivory handles are displayed in London at a museum as the first ophthalmic set in existence, around the same time period as the ophthalmoscope.
In 1900 many advances had been made in shrinking the needles so that they were not so cumbersome to doctor’s hands. The ophthalmoscope had gone through over 200 revisions since its beginning, becoming the most popular piece of equipment to have. A portable version had been created around that time to be worn around the ophthalmologists head and him holding up a high powered magnifying glass to facilitate the exam.
By 1950, the old techniques of examination had given way to new eye charts, the slit lamp which was an adaptation of the ophthalmoscope and the field vision test. Of course the standard needles and the portable ophthalmoscope were available, but the traditional style of this icon was starting to be seen less in doctors’ offices.
In today’s ophthalmologist’s offices, a wide variety of instruments are available. Slit lamps are outfitted with YAG lasers, traditional eye charts are replaced with digital ones that the patient looks through a machine resembling a toy projector and more high-powered magnifiers to get a better look in the back of the eye. Traditional implements are still available but more forceps, needles and retractors are available to aide in eye surgery than ever before.
The future of eye examinations and surgeries looks promising with new technology coming out every day; however one thing never changes and that is the doctor’s willingness to put patient first and research next.