Museum of Vision

Dedicated to preserving ophthalmic history

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  1. Extreme Vision: Science Fiction or Truth
  2. Contagion! Epidemics in Ophthalmic History
  3. Spectacular Spectacles
  4. The Eyes of War
  5. To Fool the Eye
  6. Windows to the Soul
  7. Picturing The Eye: Ophthalmic Film and Photography
  8. Collecting Ophthalmology: 30 Years at the Museum
  9. Beyond Ophthalmology, Beyond the Clinic


Current Exhibition

Extreme Vision: Science Fiction or Truth

Science fiction is deeply linked to the evolution of both science and technology. It adds invented scenarios to real world developments, creating settings and characters that are unreal and yet believable. The genre often employs space or time travel, advanced technology and alien life forms. It also, occasionally, touches on medical advances. In this exhibit, we explore ophthalmology in science fiction to find how its predictions measure up to real medicine.

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Upcoming Exhibitions

Beyond Ophthalmology, Beyond the Clinic
Postcard from visionary ophthalmologist L.L. Zamenhof, MD

Beyond Ophthalmology, Beyond the Clinic

Ophthalmologists have a passion for their specialty, but there are those who feel an equal desire to pursue a completely unrelated profession. In Beyond Ophthalmology, Beyond the Clinic the Museum of Vision will celebrate ophthalmologists who became famous in the fields of literature, the arts, sports and much more. Coming in November 2014 

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Past Exhibitions

Contagion! Epidemics in Ophthalmic History

Plague, pestilence and pandemic are words that have struck fear for centuries. Even in ancient times diseases were believed to be somehow contagious.  Before the development of modern germ theory in the late 1800s, the causes and cures of disease were largely a mystery.

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Fantasy spectacles in the shape of a butterfly, c1960
Fantasy eyeglasses, c1960

Spectacular Spectacles

The Museum of Vision explores the history of eyeglasses and related vision aids. Take a look at the obscure beginnings of eyewear 700 years ago to current fashion.

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Jack Levin
Jack Levin, c1945. Courtesy of Jay M. Galst, MD

The Eyes of War

In honor of the 60th Anniversary of VE Day, May 8, 1945, we explore the sacrifices of ophthalmologists as found in the museum's Academy Archives as well as wartime innovations in ophthalmology. 

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Trade card
Pettit's Eye Salve, 1885-1900

To Fool the Eye

Take a look at the outrageous health claims made by colorful charlatans of the 18th and 19th Centuries.  Their bogus remedies claimed to cure poor eyesight and anything else that might trouble you.

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Windows to the Soul

Eyes and vision are powerful symbols of deities and knowledge.  Explore ancient and modern legends from around the world.

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Fluorescein angiogram

Picturing The Eye: Ophthalmic Film and Photography

Since its invention in the late 1830s, photography has changed the world and ultimately ophthalmology. The camera has served a unique purpose for ophthalmologists who have traditionally used the parts and functions of the camera to explain the function of the eye. Following the camera's introduction, physicians were among its first proponents.

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Collecting Ophthalmology: 30 Years at the Museum

In 1980 the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Ophthalmology established a foundation and museum at the behest of its President, Frederick C. Blodi, MD.  Today the Museum of Vision is one of the world's leading collections of ophthalmic history.   

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American Academy of Ophthalmology