Most people experience some type of vision problem some time in their life. Even if you are not experiencing noticeable blurriness, frequent headaches or eyestrain could indicate a vision problem. A comprehensive eye exam is the only way to determine if you have vision trouble. One of the key tools used in the exam is the ophthalmoscope, which consists of a lighted monocular eyepiece. With this instrument, Dr. Huynh is able to look into the interior of the eye to check for normal and abnormal eye functions.


Originally developed in the mid 1800’s, the first devices were large and bulky. In 1915, the first hand held ophthalmoscope was invented, revolutionizing its use. Over the years, the ophthalmoscope was perfected until reaching the one in wide use today.

This instrument is arguably the most used medical diagnostic tool and can be found in virtually any doctor’s office.


There are two types of ophthalmoscope in use today:

  • Direct ophthalmoscope – This is approximately the size of a small flashlight and has a series of lenses to help look at different depths and magnifications. This is the type most commonly found in your doctor’s office. The direct scope is useful for looking at the central retina.
  • Indirect ophthalmoscope – The indirect ophthalmoscope utilizes a light attached to a headband and a hand held magnifying lens. It provides a much wider view of the retina than the direct scope.


Examining the eyes is not only important to vision problems; physicians of all specialties find the ophthalmoscope invaluable for diagnosing trauma and diseases, such as:

  • Stroke
  • Brain injury
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure

Ophthalmologists use the ophthalmoscope to determine the overall health of the vitreous humor and retina. The also use it to help diagnose eye problems including:

  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic retinopathy

In some cases, Dr. Huynh will prepare your eyes using a solution to dilate your eyes so your pupils remain open during the examination. While instructing you to look at a point in the distance, he will shine the light at the back of your retina to look for a variety of problems. The process is painless, but very instructive to the trained physician. After the exam, you are usually provided with disposable shades to protect from bright lights.

While most physicians use an ophthalmoscope to help them diagnose a variety of issues, an ophthalmologist is specially trained to diagnose and treat vision problems. If you suffer from frequent headaches, eyestrain, or other possible vision related issues, you should see an ophthalmologist. Please contact Advanced Eye & Laser Center of California, Inc. to schedule an appointment.