Museum of Vision

Dedicated to preserving ophthalmic history

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Sectional Navigation

  1. Selections from the Sherman Collection
  2. History of Ophthalmology in the Asia Pacific
  3. Their Eyes to the Sky
  4. Great Insights and Great Thinkers in Ophthalmology
  5. Beyond Ophthalmology, Beyond the Clinic
  6. Extreme Vision: Science Fiction or Truth
  7. Contagion! Epidemics in Ophthalmic History
  8. The Eyes of War
  9. Spectacular Spectacles
  10. To Fool the Eye
  11. Windows to the Soul
  12. Picturing The Eye: Ophthalmic Film and Photography
  13. Collecting Ophthalmology: 30 Years at the Museum

Karl Koller, MD

Koller

Photographs Related to Advances in Medicine

Haab eye magnet

In the nineteenth century, anyone could call themselves a specialist as laws and licensing were lax. Photography was instrumental in documenting the advance of the specialty in the public eye. Images of new instruments and especially ophthalmic surgery were used to help convince the public of the expertise of the licensed professional and the safety of ‘modern eye surgery.’

Significant advances in ophthalmic practice were photographically documented. Among these is Credé prophylaxis (1883), the use of silver nitrate solution to prevent ophthalmia neonatorum, one of the common causes of blindness. Carl Koller’s 1884 discovery of the topical anesthetic, cocaine, directly led to local and regional anesthesia techniques used to this day. The development of another magical photographic process, the X-ray (1895), led almost immediately to diagnostic and therapeutic usage by ophthalmologists. Foreign body localization and treatment of facial cancers and infections relieved thousands of disfiguring and deadly disease.

Many of the images presented in this concise photographic history of ophthalmology are from the Burns Archive as published in "Ophthalmology: A Photographic History 1845-1945".



  1. Early Photographs
  2. Civil War Era Photographs
  3. Photographs Related to Advances in Medicine
  4. Internal Ocular Photographs
  5. Cameras
  6. Stereographs
  7. Ophthalmic Film
  8. Symposium

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Refractometer

Courtesy of the Burns Archive


Silver nitrate administration

Courtsey of the Burns Archive


American Academy of Ophthalmology