Catalogue Number: 3243
Ryland schematic eye
Sub-Category: Equipment, teaching
Designer/inventor: RYLAND Herbert S, CHALMERS S D.
Year Of Publication/Manufacture: 1906
Time Period: 1900 to 1939
Description Of Item: Schematic eye for the practice of ophthalmoscopy and retinoscopy designed by Herbert S Ryland and S D Chalmers and patented in 1906, contained in a maroon Morocco case, 130 mm W x 102 mm D x 38 mm H, lined with purple velvet, hinged lid with push button clip. The instrument is a black enamel metal cylinder, 30 mm L x 22 mm dia, with an adjustable variable iris diaphragm at one end and a screw-off cap at the other. The cylinder is marked 'RYLAND / Schematic Eye / Patent no. 4386'. It has a 47 mm long stem that can be screwed into a circular metal base 38 mm dia. There is a two lens holder in front that can be removed or the vertex distance from the 'eye' can be varied. Four glass 'lenses' are provided that simulate the optics of the eye from the cornea to the posterior vitreous of an emmetropic, myopic, hypermetropic eye and corneal astigmatism. Between the lens and the screw cap is a removable representation of the retina. It is accompanied by a promotional leaflet which ascribes the schematic eye to H. S. Ryland and S D Chalmers of the Northampton Polytechnic Institute.
Historical Significance: This instrument was designed and probably also made in the Northampton Polytechnic Institute in London, which was founded in 1896. It established a Department of Technical Optics in 1903 to which Mr S. D, Chalmers MA (1877-1919) was appointed head. He was born in Australia. The Northampton Polytechnic Institute started one of the earliest optometry courses in the UK in a government chartered institution. It taught visual optics from 1898 and sight testing from 1903. Mr Herbert S Ryland was a teacher of visual and physiological optics at the Northampton Polytechnic Institute at this time, certainly in 1907. The patent on this instrument was 'Chalmers, S. D. and Ryland, H. S. British Patent No, 4386 (1906), An artificial or model eye for demonstration and practice purposes.' See Cat Nos. 1138 and 3518 for other examples of the Ryland Schematic eye. There is no manufacturer cited on the promotional leaflet. It may have been made in the Northampton Polytechnic Institute since the Institute taught technical optics including lens grinding. The leaflet says it can be obtained from all opticians and surgical instrument houses for 25 shillings (about $2.50). The leaflet is in the Pamphlet and Ephermera Filing Cabinet Drawer 7.
How Acquired: Donated by Alan Isaacs, honorary life member of the College
Date Acquired: Feb 2017
Location: Archive room. West wall. Unit 6 Drawer 4