Were these real? How did doctors use them?
(Credit: Wikipedia user Welleschik)
These are the stereotypical headgear worn by doctors in the past. A band goes around the head, and a circular mirror is attached to it.
When it’s worn like this, it’s actually being stored, not used.
To use it, the doctor would position it over one of their eyes. The mirror had a small hole in the middle that they would look through, so their eye was in the middle of the mirror.
Then a light was positioned next to the patient’s head. The mirror would reflect light in the same direction as the doctor’s eye, illuminating the area they wanted to view – eyes, ears, throat, etc.
They existed largely because lights were very big. Now we have smaller, directional lights, so these mirrors are no longer required – most doctors carry a penlight in their pockets.
Head mirrors basically only exist in Halloween costumes now.
Why I Looked It Up
I saw a character dressed up as a doctor in a sitcom. They had a head mirror, and I got to wondering why we associated those with doctors when I had literally never seen one used.