Jan Purkinje (1787-1869), in 1823, described the principle of ophthalmoscopy. Using a concave spherical lens and candle he examined the interior of the human eye and dog eye. Realizing the significance of the technique he had developed, he urged practitioners to make use of this method of examination. These efforts, which preceded Helmholtz's classic description of the ophthalmoscope by 27 years, have gone largely unnoticed. Following Purkinje's instructions for ophthalmoscopic examination, we saw the fundus oculi with extreme ease and clarity. Extensive English translations of Purkinje's works on the examination of the eye are now available, and pertinent excerpts are cited.
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