[of-thal-muh-skohp, op-]
an instrument for viewing the interior of the eye or examining the retina.

1855–60; ophthalmo- + -scope

ophthalmoscopic [of-thal-muh-skop-ik, op-] , ophthalmoscopical, adjective
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World English Dictionary
ophthalmoscope (ɒfˈθælməˌskəʊp)
an instrument for examining the interior of the eye

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Word Origin & History

1857, from ophthalmo- (see ophthalmologist) + scope (1).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

ophthalmoscope oph·thal·mo·scope (ŏf-thāl'mə-skōp', ŏp-)
An instrument for examining the interior structures of the eye, especially the retina, consisting essentially of a mirror that reflects light into the eye and a central hole through which the eye is examined.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


instrument for inspecting the interior of the eye, invented in 1850 by the German physiologist Hermann von Helmholtz. The ophthalmoscope became a model for later forms of endoscopy. The device consists of a strong light that can be directed into the eye by a small mirror or prism. The light reflects off the retina and back through a small hole in the ophthalmoscope, through which the examiner sees a nonstereoscopic magnified image of the structures at the back of the eye, including the optic disk, retina, retinal blood vessels, macula, and choroid. The ophthalmoscope is particularly useful as a screening tool for various ocular diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The professor sat beside my desk and stared steadily at an ophthalmoscope on the wall above an exam table.
Your health care provider will check your vision, eye movements, and the back of the eye with an ophthalmoscope.
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