Catalogue Number: 2586
Spirit Lamp for tonometer sterilisation
Sub-Category: Equipment, other clinical
Year Of Publication/Manufacture: 1960's
Time Period: 1940 to 1999
Description Of Item: Glass spirit lamp used for disinfection of Schiotz tonometers. Round glass base (reservoir for methylated spirits) and glass domed cover, cotton fibre wick in metal mount. Label on base printed: 'GENERY'S SCIENTIFIC EQUIPMENT SUPPLY/ MELBOURNE Tel 63 2160'. Price handwritten in ink '1.65'. Size:76mm W x 76mm D x 92mm H.
Historical Significance: Schiotz tonometry was undertaken by optometrists in Australia from about 1960 until applanation tonometers, especially the hand held applanation tonometers such as the Perkins, were adopted. Optometrists in Australia did not do tonometry prior to the mid 1950s because a (then) legal prohibition in the Opticians Act on the use of drugs for the measurement of the powers of the eye and because corneal anaesthetics were controlled drugs that required a medical prescription. Optometrists were also fearful of the posibility of corneal damage from tonometry. In the mid 1950s several optometrists began to do tonometry. They were zealous in disinfection of tonometers because of the fear of corneal infection and used a flame to sterilise their Schiotz tonometers. This spirit burner was used to sterilise Schiotz tonometers.
How Acquired: Donated by Dawn Odgers
Date Acquired: April 2015
Location: Archive room. East wall Unit 3 Cupboard