Frenzel goggles -- Do it yourself (DIY)

See also: video frenzels

Timothy C. Hain, MD•Page last modified: May 1, 2022

It is possible to make your own Frenzel Goggles. The cost of the video goggles compares favorably with the commercial versions which generally all cost $1000 or more. Of course, in return you have to spend much more of your time, and the quality may not be as good as the commercial goggles. As is the case for Frenzel goggles in general, there are two methods -- optical and video.

Optical Frenzel Goggles -- DIY

For optical goggles, the basic components include a pair of +20 lenses, a method of illuminating the eye (we would recommend white high-intensity LED's for safety -- they can't produce any glass fragments), and safety or Scuba type goggles. Using LEDs also avoids the problem of powering the goggles as batteries will work just fine. We think this is a better idea than plugging them in to a wall outlet, as it avoids the (small) shock hazard risk.

A large +20 glass lens can be heavy (as exemplified by the Nagashima design). A more rational design involves use of plastic "Fresnel" lenses, which are much lighter. We would think that one could 3D print a suitable insert for safety goggles or Scuba goggles. The "SCUBAPRO" line of goggles are customizable. This is somewhat similar to the design of the ICS goggles. Edmund Scientific is a good source for optical components.

There are also some modified glasses, that are certainly not "goggles", consisting of strong + lenses in a spectacle frame (e.g. Dhonde and Khadilkar, 2020). We think these are better than nothing, but not enough better to substitute for an enclosed variant.

Our thought is that the time involved in building one's own optical goggles is not reasonable, and one should just buy one of the commercial optical goggles.

Video DIY Frenzel goggles:

We would like to see a very high resolution USB camera (e.g. 4K = 3840x2160) -- positioned far enough away that it can be "focus free" or with a zoom, illumination with infrared LEDs, as well as cropping (e.g. digital zoom) to a 500x500 image before it gets into the PC. Finding a camera that will "see" IR might be a challenge. This set of suggestions seems to have been partially adopted by the Vestibular-First goggles above. The security cam industry needs to see IR and also has some devices with motorized zoom lenses.

We know of two " builds" for video IY goggles.

Guevarra and Chiong:

The oldest one is from a paper published in 2004 (Guevarra and Chiong, 2004).

Do it yourself video Frenzel goggles

Low cost Frenzel goggles

FIgure 3

Guevarra and Chiong (2004) provides one design, published in the Philippine Journal of Otology. The components include safety glasses, a web-camera, and various parts. The details used to be available here:, but this link has gone dead. The paper should still be available however through interlibrary loan.

From their paper (in 2004), they comment that the web camera brand was "Genius", with a USB interface. The resolution of their system was 352x268. There was no focus or angle adjustment of the camera. This was not an IR camera, but visible light (illumination with 3 12 volt bulbs). They comment that the cost of the system was roughly 1/1000'th of the common commercial system then. All of these features (of this very old design) would not make it one that should be replicated. However, it was an early start.

Interestingly, this paper provides the specifications of a commercial system (RealEyes). They comment that the "VG-2" lens is 8mm, f2.0, and VG-3 lens is 16 mm, f2.0. They state that the illumination is 940 NM.


More recently, there is a build of Michael Duchaj.

Follow this link to see his design and instructions. This is an IR design, which is an improvement on the Guevarra/Chiong design which was visible light.


If you have made some yourself, let us know and we will host your build as well.