Thursday 12th March sees the second ever International Glaucoma Day, co-sponsored by the World Glaucoma Association (formerly the Association of International Glaucoma Societies) and the American-based World Glaucoma Patient Association. The WGA comprises several bodies including the UK-based International Glaucoma Association (founded in 1974) and World Glaucoma Day is supported by a wide number of eyesight organisations including the College of Optometrists. So here we present one of the instruments used in the detection of glaucoma back in the 1950s. It's a tonometer for measuring the intraocular pressure and was supplied by the Takata Ophthalmic Instrument Company of Tokyo. As an electronic hand-held contact tonometer it is fair to say that this was instrument was far from common, particularly within an optometric practice as opposed, say, to a hospital eye clinic. It does however represent an interesting if expensive attempt to eliminate friction from the tonometry process. We may note the handwritten card detailing pressure values secured to the unit with sellotape. No matter how well they're designed the owners of instruments always find useful modifications to make to them when in use. The battery life of this device was three hours but given its frequency of use that was more than ample. This specimen was donated to the BOA Museum in memory of the late Alan Coulson FCOptom D.Orth.
For more on the history of the Glaucomatous Eye, Glaucoma Diagnosis and Testing see here
And for more on the history of tonometers in particular see here