• Previous Programs

  • Watch the museum's previous public programs on our YouTube channel.

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    Meet Your Eye Microbiome

    You may be familiar with the idea that your gut and skin are home to a collection of microbes — fungi, bacteria and viruses — all vital for keeping you healthy. But did you know that your eyes also host a unique menagerie of microbes? In this two-part series, we are doing a deep dive to better understand the microbiome of the eye.

    First up, Anthony St. Leger, PhD, a professor and researcher at University of Pittsburg’s Ocular Microbiome and Immunity Laboratory, will help us understand the role microbes play in keeping our eyes healthy or diseased. We will be joined by Robert M. Q. Shanks, PhD, from Campbell Eye Microbiology Laboratory, which houses one of the most extensive collections of human ocular bacteria in the country. He will introduce us to a few common eye microbes found on our eyes as well as in their collection. Join us to find out more about your eye microbiome and the usefulness of maintaining such a collection for innovative research.

    Image: Immune system cells interacting with bacteria on the ocular surface. (Scanning electron micrograph – pseudocolored), Charles T Campbell Microbiology Laboratory at UPMC.

    The Gut and the Eye

    Recent research is looking into the link between the gut microbiome and ocular disease. How complex is the gut microbiome? An estimated 1,000 species of bacteria alone live in the human digestive system, but only a few of these microbes are understood. It’s as if, in a vast orchestra, only a handful of instruments can be heard. But these early notes may lead to new therapeutic paradigms in which ­the gut microbiome plays a role in treating eye disease. Join us for this second program in our two-part series exploring the microbiome of the eye.

    Behind the Scenes: Eyecups and Quack Medicine

    Watch on Youtube (recording coming soon)

    This Behind the Scenes episode discuses the museum’s collection of eyecups and the quack medicine boom of the 19th and 20th centuries. Eyecups are receptacles used to wash the eye. They were often sold with eye water and marketed as part of regular hygiene or to cure disease.  Museum Director Jenny Benjamin unveils the museum’s eyecup collection and the people who profited from their sale.   

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    Behind the Scenes: Trachoma

    If you’re interested in medical oddities, you’ll want to join Museum Director Jenny Benjamin for the launch of Behind the Scenes. In this new series, we’ll examine curious medical objects in the museum’s storage cabinets. The first episode will feature a rare set of glass propaganda teaching slides prepared by the National Trachoma Service. Trachoma is a bacterial infection that attacks the eyes and has been documented for thousands of years. Learn about the trachoma epidemic in the United States between 1912 and 1924, and its parallels to our current health crisis – the COVID-19 pandemic.

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    Can You Believe Your Eyes?

    Explore how the eye-brain connection plays an important role in what you see, but can sometimes be tricked into seeing things that aren’t there. The Museum of the Eye is holding this virtual event in collaboration with vision scientists from the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute and as part of the 2020 virtual Bay Area Science Festival. Can you always believe what you see? Register and join us to find out.