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“Empowering eyes”: the Thorner Optometer
  1. Richard Keeler,
  2. Arun D Singh,
  3. Harminder S Dua

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This issue of the BJO carries a picture of an instrument called an optometer, also known as an eye refractometer, which measures the dioptric power of the eye. This instrument was designed by Professor Walter Thorner (figure 1) in the 1920s. It was made by the Emil Busch Company of Rathenow, Germany. The company was founded in 1801 and eventually merged with the Carl Zeiss Foundation in 1931, today one of the leaders in the manufacture of precision optical instruments.

Figure 1

Professor Walter Thorner.

While studying as a medical student in Berlin, Thorner expressed annoyance at the …

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