Museum of Vision

Dedicated to preserving ophthalmic history

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Exhibitions

Past Exhibitions

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. 

World War II spanned 6 years and involved over 25 countries.  Within this complex history is the story of ophthalmology.  Like so many professions, the war shaped ophthalmology by creating the need for innovations in industry, altering the course of institutions and interrupting the lives of individuals.

It is still difficult to definitively capture the number of deaths and casualties, or to quantify the destruction of property from the war.  However, it is estimated that 2.5% of all battle casualties suffered eye injuries and 15,000 soldiers were blinded.  During battles, it took an average of 36-48 hours for an injured soldier to be seen by an ophthalmologist.  This led to the advocacy of having ophthalmologists on the front lines, in forward hospitals or, at the least, to improving support services to evacuate soldiers faster.



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

Sectional Navigation

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

American Academy of Ophthalmology