Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Christmas 2012: Yesterday’s World

Surgical thimbles

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 17 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8447

Re: Surgical thimbles

I was about to write that I had been informed that the 'thimble' shown in figure 9 of my paper was, in fact, a scleral depressor and not an instrument for assisting in lid eversion although that was what I had been told.

It was suggested that the Ophthalmology section should be corrected to: Figure 9 Thimble with an extension to facilitate scleral depression.

Ophthalmologists have used a thimble with an extension in conjunction with a head mounted indirect ophthalmoscope, and hand held lens, for examination of the peripheral retina at the root of the iris, where most retinal holes, leading to retinal detachment, occur. Instillation of local anaesthetic was necessary prior to performance of the procedure in conscious patients. The technique does not seem to have been very widely used and the special thimbles are very uncommon.

Dr Dunleavy beat me to it and I thank him for his correction. It is interesting that my other informant was trained in Yorkshire too!

Competing interests: No competing interests

26 December 2012
William Isbister
retired Professor of Surgery
Moosbach, Germany