Eye Need to Know: Why Is Ophthalmology Commonly Misspelled?

This manuscript, dated circa 1200CE, is kept at the Cairo National Library. Image of copy is by Zereshk. The eye according to Hunain ibn Ishaq. (Public Domain)

Words using the root, “ophthalm” are commonly misspelled.  An example is “ophthalmology” with is commonly misspelled as “opthalmology” due to the way that most people pronounce the word.

By knowing the proper pronunciation of “ophthalm” you will not have a problem spelling it.  The “ph” at the front of the word is pronounced the same as the “ph” in the word, “phone”.

The correct pronunciation for ophthalmology is AHF-thal-MOL-oh-gee.   Once you learn to say it correctly, spelling it is not a problem.

Something you need to know?  Ask Rebecca

Submitted by guest blogger, Rebecca Johnson, Founder of EyeTrain4You, an ophthalmic staff training and development company.  Contact her at Rebecca@EyeTrain4You.com

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  1. I could be wrong but I believe there is a grammar error in a story about grammar…”An example is “ophthalmology” WITH!!is commonly misspelled as “opthalmology” due…” Shouldn’t that “with” be “which.” It would read “An example is “ophthalmology” WHICH is commonly misspelled as “opthalmology” due…”

  2. Aww…Hugh, you got me!
    I would love to say that I purposely put the error there to see if anyone would catch it, but that would be not be true. 🙂
    I will ask the wonderful webmaster to correct my mistake. Thanks!

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