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October 1939


Arch Ophthalmol. 1939;22(4):653-666. doi:10.1001/archopht.1939.00860100137011

This study of transillumination of the eye is for a twofold purpose : first, to review the literature and, second, to improve, if possible, on the methods, equipment and application of transillumination.

Before starting a review of the literature, I should like to define the terms used, namely, transillumination and diaphanoscopy. Funk and Wagnall's unabridged dictionary gives the most all-inclusive definition. Transillumination is described as "a shining through," with a specific medical definition of "the lighting up of an organ or part of the body by causing light to pass through it so as to perceive its contents or condition." The same dictionary defines diaphanoscopy as "examination of body cavities by the introduction into them of the incandescent electric light." It is obvious that the two terms are not exactly synonymous ; however, they are often used interchangeably.

A review of the literature on transillumination brings forth the remarkable period of medical

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