Many optometrists are sentimentally attached to their first ophthalmoscope and ret. Those vital bits of kit have lived in a battered black box, supporting you through your professional career for 20, 30, 40 years. Perhaps your parents bought it as a present when you went to uni or for your 21st birthday? Or did you treat yourself to one when the grant arrived? What adventures has it been through since then?

Earlier this month Keeler celebrated 100 years of ophthalmic instrument manufacture in the UK and Optician is seeking stories from professionals on their oldest and most loved pieces of kit. Below Optician clinical editor Bill Harvey tells the tale of his first Keeler, tell us about your first Keeler and, if it is published, Keeler will send you a sparkling new ophthalmoscope.

"After a couple of years at medical school and then a further year travelling, I started the optometry course at Aston in 1986 with a debt that any student today might be familiar with. When the time came for me to invest in my first ophthalmoscope and retinoscope (pictured below), I went cap in hand to my mum who accompanied me to Birmingham Optical Group in Moseley to buy the instruments. She was worried I might spend the money on less clinical matters.

Bill Harvey with a patient

"The Specialist ophthalmoscope has served me well and, once I realised you had to glue your face to the patient’s to get a good field of view, has detected many a disease over the years. On one of the first occasions I used the Specialist, a patient remarked ‘whenever an optician does this I can tell they are thinking about their next skiing holiday’.

"I preferred the spot retinoscope for its ability to look at cataracts and floaters, and had no issue with cylinder accuracy. I still use it to this day, but the ophthalmoscope less so outside domiciliary visits. Keeler recently replaced the original battery handle with a rechargeable one and this not only saves money (and the planet), but seems to maintain brightness longer too. When I started teaching clinics at City in the 90s, I acquired a headset ophthalmoscope, the Keeler Vantage Plus, thinking that I had better master anything I was expected to teach. I still enjoy using this to this day and have not long ago upgraded to a digital version."

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