Hermann von Helmholtz: The Ophthalmoscope and Some of His Other Contributions to Ophthalmology
Nguyen, Chu Luan
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Hermann von Helmholtz was a German, and one of the most important individuals in the history of physics and medicine. He made important findings in muscle and nerve physiology, physiological acoustics, and thermodynamics. In addition, his contributions to ophthalmology were enormous. He invented the ophthalmoscope in 1850, developed the ophthalmometer in 1853, and his major publication, ‘Handbook of physiological optics’ in 1856 explained the mechanism of accommodation and produced the first accurate model eye among numerous other things. The invention of the ophthalmoscope can be considered as the single most important advancement in the history of ophthalmology. Prior to the ophthalmoscope, examining the posterior pole of the eye in a living human was not possible. The ophthalmoscope allowed for diseases that were previously unknown to be recognised, making the invention of the ophthalmoscope one of the greatest triumphs in ophthalmology. This report provides a brief biographical account of Helmholtz’s life, and reviews his major contributions to ophthalmology, in particular the ophthalmoscope and it’s impact on ophthalmology.
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