I don't know what the equipment you are referring to is called either, but if anyone has seen "A Clockwork Orange" they know what it is.
When our youngest son was just born I was holding him above us in bed and Steve asked what was wrong with his right eye. Of course, being the "Queen of Denial" that I am I snatched him back down and said, "Nothing"!
At his next check up however I mentioned it to the pediatrician and he was able to get a good look and thought Jeremy had PPM, persistant pupillary membrane. When the eye is developing the pupil is covered with a membrane that slowly dissolves. Sometimes it doesn't completely dissolve and you are left with cobwebby looking strands in the middle of the pupil. Jeremy was sent to a specialist at the very young age of 3 months.
They didn't notice this earlier because that child could shut his eyelids so tight when he was mad, most times he was at the pediatrician's, you couldn't pry them open with a crowbar (not that we tried ).
To make a long story short, the pediatric opthomologist used that "instrument of torture" you are referring to to be able to examine Jer's eye. (I kept hearing Beethoven in the background).
He's 27 now and technology has improved to the point that he is looking into corrective surgeries for this, at the time it was thought laser surgery could very likely make it worse.