Clinical microscopes are used in many different fields such as hospitals, clinics, doctor's offices, veterinarians and genetic research laboratories. Within the hospital environment the clinical microscope is used in many different departments such as laboratory, cytology, pathology, gynecology, microbiology and immunology.
A clinical microscope usually is referred to as a compound microscope. This means there are many different components within the design. A clinical microscope components include, but is not limited to, eyepieces, body, stand, stage, base, objectives and electrical system. Total magnification ranges from 4X to 1000X using standard objectives of 4-10-40-100X oil. Most models are called upright clinical microscopes meaning the user looks into the eyepieces that focus downward at a slide on the stage. These are the microscopes most people remember using in school.
Some clinical microscopes are inverted. This means the optics are reversed or up-side down so the user may examine a sample suspended in a fluid in a Petri dish. The user still looks down into the eyepieces but the lens system is inverted and looks up at the sample from below the stage.
There are also accessories that can be added to the clinical microscope to enable the user to look at different types of samples. Accessories can include fluorescent lamp illuminators, polarizing filters, dark field adapters and phase contrast optics. Each one of these accessories provide a different appearance to the sample being examined, and are designed to provide the best lighting in which to examine that particular sample. The accessory to use on a clinical microscope depends on the user's requirements.
Many users need to take pictures of their samples for documenting their research or saving information for individual patient records. By adding on a camera system such as 35 mm, digital and video cameras you can now photograph your sample. Usually the clinical microscope requires that you have an extra third port on the top of the body to attach these cameras, referred to as a trinocular port. Many camera systems include software and adapters to link the images to your computer. This is a great teaching and sharing tool.
In summary the clinical microscope is a very versatile tool when used as a diagnostic or research tool with in the clinical or research environment.