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a combining form meaning “eye,” used in the formation of compound words: ophthalmology.
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Also especially before a vowel, ophthalm-.

Origin of ophthalmo-

<Greek, combining form of ophthalmós
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does ophthalmo- mean?

Ophthalmo- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “eye.” It is often used in medical terms, especially in anatomy and pathology.

Ophthalmo- comes from the Greek ophthalmós, meaning “eye.” Related to ophthalmós is ṓps, Greek for “eye” or “face,” and source of such combining forms as -opia, -opsia, and opto-. The Latin word for “eye” is oculus, source of the combining form oculo-.

What are variants of ophthalmo-?

When combined with words or word elements that begin with a vowel, ophthalmo- becomes ophthalm-, as in ophthalmalgia.

Examples of ophthalmo-

An example of a word you may have encountered that features ophthalmo- is ophthalmology, “the branch of medical science dealing with the anatomy, functions, and diseases of the eye.”

We know ophthalmo- means “eye.” What about the -logy portion of the word? That’s right, -logy is used to name domains of science or bodies of knowledge. Ophthalmology literally translates to “the study of the eye.”

What are some words that use the combining form ophthalmo-?

What are some other forms that ophthalmo- may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

The combining form -scope means “an instrument for viewing.” With this in mind, what, generally speaking, is an ophthalmoscope used for?

British Dictionary definitions for ophthalmo-


before a vowel ophthalm-

combining form
indicating the eye or the eyeballophthalmoscope

Word Origin for ophthalmo-

from Greek ophthalmos eye 1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medical definitions for ophthalmo-


Eye; eyeball:ophthalmoscope.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.