Sunday, November 19, 2017

Vintage Magnetic Therapy for Ocular Foreign Bodies

I just love gadgets and gizmos from the days of old school healthcare. Now this handy dandy device is something that I could have put to use this past summer. I'm a self-taught, self maiming, lumberjack of sorts and as I was happily sharpening one of my dull chains, a fragment of metal was hurled into my eyeball by the grinder. I dimwittedly  thought my eyeglasses would provide ample protection, but that shiny shard found an indirect  path to my eye. Metal shavings have tiny little barbs on them that can make removal difficult. I tried to irrigate that little devil, but it would not budge.

After a $600+ emergency room visit,  the metal shaving was successfully removed. I tossed the antibiotic prescription into the circular file along with an opthamology consult and lived happily ever after.

Now if I had  access to that device pictured above, the ER visit would have been unnecessary. When the American industrial age was in full swing it was commonplace for workers to experience problems with metal shavings impacting their eyes.  An enterprising opthamologist devised the above piece of medical equipment. The foreign body victim positioned their eyeball over the cone shaped proboscis like business end of this machine and the doc activated the electromagnet. PRESTO.. the metal shaving was liberated from the eyeball. I don't even want to think about the end result if the metal shaving was retro-ocular. Would the entire eyeball be pulled out? Hmm..I guess discretion is the better part of valor when using devices like this.

I've been attempting to figure out if the illustration on the right is just for demonstration or is this the outcome of treating a platoon of steelworkers after a blast furnace mishap?


  1. One of the nice things about being older, is you remember the good old days of disease and medicine - like my Mom yelling at me to come in out of the rain or I'd get polio. Your blog post reminded me of the shoe-fitting X-ray machines that some shoe stores had back in the 50s. If you've never heard of them, here's a link:
    I believe this is one reason I glow in the dark.

  2. Yes siree, Officer Cynical, I too recall those shoe store x-rays. Remember when annual and preop chest X-rays were required. The respiratory disease association in the Chicago area even had giant van like vehicles equipped with chest X-ray machines to screen the general populace for TB.

    Thanks so much for your loyal readership of my foolishness.

  3. I remember my polio vaccination came in the painless form of a sugar cube.

  4. Jono, I remember the same thing. My parents took me to the cafeteria of a local elementary school one day, where trays of the sugar cubes were passed around. I still remember the pinkish stain of the vaccine on the white sugar cube.