Museum of Vision

Dedicated to preserving ophthalmic history

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Sectional Navigation

  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

Stereoscope, 1900

Stereoscope

Stereographs

First introduced in 1838, stereographs consist of a pair of nearly identical images (photographs or drawings) mounted on cardboard.  The cards are placed into a viewer or stereoscope which helps the eyes to view them as one, creating the illusion of depth or 3-D. 

The first stereocamera came on the market in 1853.  It has been estimated that over the next 70 years 10,000 photographers were all over the world taking stereo photographs for home entertainment.  Boxed sets of cards and scopes were sold widely; the most popular subjects were travel destinations, natural wonders, World’s Fairs, wars and disasters.

Fundus stereographs were first produced in 1909.  1930 saw the manufacture of the Zeiss Nordenson reflex free stereo fundus camera, increasing their quality and availability.  Stereoscopic photographic atlases were the vogue as teaching tools, and they continue to be popular today in various media formats as the realistic three-dimensional effect enhances learning and remembrance.

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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Stereograph, 1906

San Francisco stereogram

Stereograph, 1912

Stereogram

American Academy of Ophthalmology