The Ophthalmoscope:

Textbook: Volume 1 by Alfred Schett

Atlas:        Volume 2 by Charles R Keeler

This fine history of the ophthalmoscope was published in two-volume book form in Belgium in 1996-97. It has now become available on CD ROM and the College has recently added a copy in ROM form to the J Lloyd Hewett collection.

Schett's text consists of 428 pages detailing the developments since the time of Helmholtz's invention in 1851 until the end of the 19th century. There are short biographies of many of the international pioneer workers and hundreds of drawings and photographs of their instruments.

Keeler's atlas covers the same period and extends into the early decades of the 20th century. There are 228 pages mostly of photographs of instruments from his own collection. The Acrobat (R) Software installed in the CD ROM functions as a very adequate index to the two volumes. Even as a quite illiterate computer-user I was able to pick up a wealth of useful and fascinating information.

It has been said that the introduction of the ophthalmoscope was the single most important development in eye-care and accordingly this history serves once again to remind us of its prime importance in optometry.

Michael J Aitken

Honorary Archivist, VCO


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