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

Personal Stories

Byron Smith, MD
General George Patton and Byron Smith, MD, c1944. Courtesy of Richard Lisman, MD

World War II lasted 6 years and involved over 25 countries.  It has been noted that it "spread death and devastation throughout most of the world to an extent never before experienced."  Indeed by one estimate, the war cost the lives of over 19 million people.
However, the consequences of World War II can not be fully grasped by looking at statistics.  It is only in the details of the lives of those who lived it, that we can truly grapple with the effects of a global war.

Presented here are the experiences of individuals whose lives were changed forever by service or circumstance.  Included are the lives of young men just starting out as well as the stories of ophthalmologists in combat.  All eventually became involved with the American Academy of Ophthalmology and thus their stories are preserved by the Academy Archives.

You are encouraged to explore their stories in order to experience the war literally through the eyes of those who were there.

Col. Forrest Hull, MD: an Eye M.D. who earned the Bronze Star

Col. Thomas J. Tredici, MD: an Army pilot inspired to become a surgeon 

Charles Schepens, MD: an Eye M.D. who aided the Belgian resistance 

George Kambara, MD: an Eye M.D. who finished his training in an internment camp 

Rudolf Bock, MD: an Eye M.D. who struggled to obtain training in exile 

Sir Harold Ridley, MD: an Eye M.D. whose observations with the Royal Air Force led to the IOL



  1. Ophthalmology on the Home Front
  2. The Academy During Wartime
  3. Personal Stories
  4. Holocaust Memorial

User Submitted Comments

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From Antonio, 11/17/2011 4:41:00 PM
Wow, these stories are very inspirational. What a wonderful collection of courage and perseverance.

American Academy of Ophthalmology