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The ocular lens is the lens you look through when using a microscope. It is also known as the eyepiece. The ocular lens is typically made of glass and is the last lens in the microscope’s optical path before your eye. Therefore, it magnifies the image that is being focused on by the objective lenses.
Most ocular lenses have a magnification of 10x, but some microscopes have ocular lenses with a lower or higher magnification. In this article, we explain the function, types, and benefits of the ocular lens in detail.
The ocular lens on a microscope works by bending the light that enters it. That’s because the lens is curved, and when light hits a curved surface, it bends.
The amount the light bends depends on how curved the surface is. The ocular lens is usually convex, which means that it curves outward. Here’s the mechanism of action of a microscope’s ocular lens:
All microscopes have at least one ocular lens, and some have two. You can adjust the magnification amount by changing the objective lens’s power. The ocular lens just magnifies the image already magnified by the objective lens.
There are a few different types of ocular lenses used in various microscopes. The common ones are as follows.
A wide-field lens on a microscope provides a large field of view, allowing the user to quickly take in a great deal of information. Such a lens is especially useful for scanning an area for potential targets or abnormalities.
A super-field lens is used in stereoscopic microscopes, providing a large field of view to observe fast-moving objects.
The lenses are composed of two glass plates with a liquid filling in between, and the distance between the plates can be adjusted to change the magnification.
Super-field lenses are used in various applications, including medical research, industrial inspection, and security surveillance.
A compensation lens is an ocular lens that helps correct the objective lens’s aberration. For example, in the case of a spherocylindrical lens, it is used to bring back the image in focus by canceling out the spherical aberration.
A Periplan lens in a microscope can correct chromatic aberration while providing high magnification.
It is a compound lens consisting of a convex lens made of glass with a refractive index lower than the surrounding medium and a concave lens made of a material with a refractive index higher than that of the surrounding medium.
Chromatic aberration is a type of distortion that occurs when light waves of different wavelengths are focused at various points on the lens. It is common in simple lenses, such as those found in microscopes.
Thus, a Periplan lens is helpful in applications where the viewer cannot afford chromatic aberration to distort the image.
A Huygen lens has two plano-convex lenses, with their convex sides facing each other. It forms a Huygenian eyepiece.
The Huygen lens forms a real image, which is the same size as the object. Therefore, the Huygen lens has a short focal length and a long back focal length.
The distinct characteristic of the Ramsden lens is that it has a field stop on the outer side of the lens tube. The field stop allows the user to see a small 2mm central circle of the field of view and completely cuts off the outer ring of light.
It results in an increased perception of sharpness and brightness in the central area of the field of view.
An ocular lens is one of the essential parts of a microscope since it is responsible for gathering light and forming the image the user sees. It is the lens closest to the eye and is usually made of a material with a high refractive index, such as glass. The ocular lens is placed at a distance from the specimen equal to its focal length. It ensures optimal magnification of the image the user is viewing.
An ocular or eyepiece lens on a microscope has several internal and external parts. Here’s a breakdown of the lens’s anatomy.
The ocular lenses, or eyepieces, of a microscope, have numbers inscribed on them that indicate the power of the lens. These numbers are usually in the range of 4X to 100X.
The number on the right ocular lens is always 10X greater than the number on the left ocular lens. So, for example, if the left ocular lens is inscribed with the number “40,” the right lens will be inscribed with the number “100.”
Apart from the numbers, you’ll also see letters inscribed on the eyepiece. These include UW, WF, SW, HE, CF, and UWF. Here’s what they mean:
|CF||Corrected for astigmatism|
Some microscopes have two ocular lenses (eyepieces) that can be used interchangeably. You’ll find the magnification power inscribed on both the ocular lenses in such microscopes.
Compensation microscopes have inscriptions, such as K, comp, or C. You’ll also see the magnification next to these letters.
It’s best to buy an objective lens and then get an eyepiece lens that will fit it. For example, if you’re using a compound microscope, you’ll need to determine the magnification of your objective lenses and purchase an eyepiece lens that will work with those objective lenses.
Some factors you’ll need to consider when choosing an ocular lens include:
It is the diameter of the area that you can see through the microscope. A larger field of view allows you to see more area at once, while a smaller field of view means you’ll need to scan back and forth to take in the entire area you’re observing.
The magnification is the number printed on the side of the eyepiece lens and tells you how much larger the image will appear when using that lens.
For example, a 10x eyepiece lens will make the image appear 10 times larger than it would without the lens. Select the magnification based on the applications you need the microscope for.
The distance from the center of the lens to the point where the image is in focus is the lens’s focal length. A shorter focal length keeps the image in focus at a closer distance, while a longer focal length is best for viewing objects further away.
Most eyepiece lenses have a diopter adjustment, which is a way to fine-tune the focus for your eyesight. Again, you should consider your needs when selecting a suitable adjustment range.
Besides these factors, you might have to consider your budget, brand, warranty, and other factors. If you already have an objective lens, the key is only to buy the eyepiece the objective lens’s manufacturers recommend using with their lenses.
An ocular lens on a microscope has many advantages. Some of them are:
An ocular lens also has some disadvantages. Some of them are:
Since the ocular lens is the lens you look through when using a microscope, it is crucial to keep it clean. The following tips will help you care for your ocular lens and ensure that it stays in perfect condition for a long time.
Clean the ocular lens regularly with a soft, dry cloth. If there is any dirt or debris on the lens, use a slightly dampened cloth to wipe it away gently.
Be careful not to get any water on the lens, as this can damage it. Also, when moving the microscope from one place to another, keep the ocular lens covered so that it doesn’t come into contact with anything that could potentially scratch or damage it.
It is essential to avoid touching the ocular lens with your fingers, as the oils from your skin can transfer to the lens and cause streaks. If you must touch the lens, do so with a clean, dry cloth.
When not in use, store the microscope in a clean, dry place. If possible, keep it in a dust-free environment. If you have no other choice but to keep the microscope in a dusty cabinet, cover the ocular lens with a clean cloth to protect it.
Since the eyepiece lens is interchangeable, you can replace it with a new one if it becomes scratched or damaged. Get the correct size lens for your microscope, as using an incorrect size lens can damage the microscope.
You should consult the microscope’s manufacturers or a qualified technician to find out what size lens you need.
Yes, the ocular lens is another name for the eyepiece. The ocular lens is the lens you look through when using a microscope.
Most ocular lenses have a magnification of 10x. It means that the image you see through the lens will be ten times larger than it would be with the naked eye.
Using a higher-powered ocular lens on a lower-powered microscope is not recommended. The image will not be in focus and will be difficult to see.
The eyepiece lens magnifies the image that is produced by the objective lenses. Thus, if you are using a 10x eyepiece lens, the image will be magnified ten times after an objective lens has magnified it.
The ocular lens has a field stop mechanism that limits the amount of light that enters the eye. As a result, it allows you to see a clear image by blocking the surrounding light. For instance, if you are looking at a white object, the field stop will help you see it more clearly by blocking the background light.
Firstly, you need to make sure that the ocular lens is clean. If it is dirty, it will affect the quality of the image. Next, adjust the microscope so that the image is in focus. You can do this by moving the stage up and down. Finally, look through the ocular lens and focus on the image.
The ocular lens on a microscope is the lens you look through to see the specimen. It is usually one of the two lenses on a compound microscope. The other lens, below the ocular lens, is the objective lens. The ocular lens is also called the eyepiece.
The ocular lens on a microscope works by bending (refracting) light rays that pass through it. As a result, it causes the specimen to appear magnified. The amount of magnification depends on the power (focal length) of the ocular lens.
Featured Image Credit: Piqsels
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Jeff is a tech professional by day, writer, and amateur photographer by night. He's had the privilege of leading software teams for startups to the Fortune 100 over the past two decades. He currently works in the data privacy space. Jeff's amateur photography interests started in 2008 when he got his first DSLR camera, the Canon Rebel. Since then, he's taken tens of thousands of photos. His favorite handheld camera these days is his Google Pixel 6 XL. He loves taking photos of nature and his kids. In 2016, he bought his first drone, the Mavic Pro. Taking photos from the air is an amazing perspective, and he loves to take his drone while traveling.
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