Preserving Our Rich Ophthalmic Heritage
Academy staff and professors at San Francisco State University worked together to translate this 17th-century Chinese manuscript for the AAO 2016 exhibit, History of Ophthalmology in the Asia Pacific. The book describes acupuncture techniques and curing eye diseases by balancing the five elements: metal, wood, water, earth and fire.
The Academy’s Museum of Vision is the largest publicly accessible collection of ophthalmic history in the United States.
With the support of the Academy Foundation, the museum’s collection of 38,000 artifacts helps to inspire an appreciation of vision science, the profession and important contributions made toward preventing vision loss. In 2016 alone, more than 110,000 people visited the museum’s website.
The museum’s newest exhibit, History of Ophthalmology in the Asia Pacific, explores and celebrates the roots of ophthalmology found in the Asia Pacific—a heritage largely unknown in the West. The exhibit traces historical evidence from ancient times through the 18th century to highlight ophthalmology in four countries linked by the famous Silk Road: India, China, Japan and Sri Lanka.
The 2016 history symposium, “Giants in Asia-Pacific Ophthalmology,” featured speakers from China, Japan, South Korea and Australia. The AAO 2016 session covered ancient practitioners, early modern legends, great discoveries and innovations.
The Museum of Vision also published a new online exhibit, “Their Eyes to the Sky,” which looks at the history of flight and ophthalmology; a one-of-a-kind oral history of Milo Herbert Fritz, MD; and a new quiz for kids, “Discover Your Eye Q!”
Additionally, the museum received two notable donations in 2016:
- A SVS Apex excimer laser, manufactured by Summit Technology in 1995. This instrument received the first FDA approval for performing laser-assisted eye surgery.
- A Kelman phacoemulsifier-aspirator, manufactured by Cavitron between 1971 and 1974. Charles D. Kelman, MD, developed this machine, which George M. Haik Sr., MD, later purchased. In pristine condition, this piece joins the museum just in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the phaco procedure.