Mustard Gas use in World War 1

mustard Anniversary of World War 1

On the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War it is worth recalling the devastating psychological and physical effects of chemical warfare. Mustard gas was widely used causing temporary and sometimes permanent incapacity from corneal exposure.

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The 1920 Consulting Room


1920 Consulting Room exhibition features diagnostic and therapeautic artifacts from the period, including prominent ophthalmologists and diseases prevalent at the time.

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Claude Monet's Cataracts


Jonathon Goh discusses the life of Monet and the affect his cataract development and treatment had on his painting.

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The history of the Castroviejo twin knife


A display of ophthalmic knives from Graefe to Castroviejo and prototype diamond blades.

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Sterilization of Ophthalmic Instruments: A display at 2012 RANZCO Melbourne of sterilization methods.

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Evolution of retinal surgery


Prominant surgeons of the 20th century and their contribution to retinal surgery, from Gonin to Machemer. Delivered by Emil Kurniawan and David Kaufman of the Department of Ophthalmology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, this exhibition detailed the origins of retinal detachment surgery from procedures dating pre-1920s to the current day.

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Eye Baths


Eye baths for soothing and healing eyes have been in existence since Roman times. This collection shows fine examples of glass and porcelain baths.

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Antique Spectacles

specs for web

Unique antique spectactacles John Gregory Roberts has kindly allowed us to exhibit

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John Bruce Hamilton


A remarkable Tasmanian Ophthalmologist

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The discovery of phenylketonuria recorded in museum paintings of patients fundi


Hui Lin Yim- Royal Melbourne Hospital
The museum is fortunate to have a collection of the retinal paintings by Ilene Hill. These include fundi of children from the Kew Mental Asylum affected by Phenylketonuria PKU The discovery of the disease and history of the asylum and paintings was presented at RANZCO 2011.
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Dame Ida Mann


Dame Ida Mann, a leader in many fields of ophthalmology, is honoured at the RANZCO Head Office in Sydney with a poster presentation of her life and work as well as her original slit lamp in the Ida Mann conference room at the RANZCO office.

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Eye Surgeons and Surgery in New Zealand


 'Eye Surgery and Surgeons in New Zealand' is an account of those who have practised ophthalmology in New Zealand from colonial times to recent times. Some early surgeons were  colourful itinerants, who operated in hotel rooms and patients’ homes, and advertised like snake-oil salesmen. Others, such as Sir Lindo Ferguson in the early 1900s, were at the top of the  specialty, and were huge contributors to medical education in New Zealand and Australia. All those who practised ophthalmology in the past are mentioned, together with the contributions  that were made by many. As well as biographies of many characters, the book details the organization of ophthalmology in New Zealand, the remarkable ascent of academic ophthalmology  since the late 1990s driven largely by the academic department in Auckland, the evolving relationship with Australian ophthalmology culminating in a joint College, and also some  controversies fuelled by the news media, which have not always been kind to the specialty.

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Kevin O’Day Histology slides


Dr. Kevin O'Day, an ophthalmologist in Victoria in the early and middle part of the last century, accumulated an eclectic mix of animal eyes which he had processed for histology. Whilst a few of these descriptions (platypus, albatross) contributed to knowledge of comparative ophthalmology by being published at the time most were not reported in any form. The collection of slides was hidden away for many years but recently was recovered in the basement of the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital and upon request was loaned to Prof McMenamin in Anatomy and Development Biology for “rebirthing”. RANZCO museum had a desire to make some form of electronic resource of the collection available to members. Hence, we carefully selected the best 70 slides  from 57 species from several thousand slides that we considered were well enough preserved and provided valuable morphological data. Slides were cleaned and then digitally scanned and this data will be available to college members as an online resource. Amongst the many slides are specimens of fish, amphibians, reptiles, monotremes, marsupials, and placental mammals, many of which would be difficult to source in the modern era.  Many have likely never been carefully studied hence the digital resource will be a wealth of untapped scientific data as well being a legacy to this visionary ophthalmologist and possibly frustrated zoologist.

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Link to Monash University for large format images

Uveitis 1940


Prior to introduction of steroids, uveitis was treated by physical therapies with limited results. 

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Cataract couching


Shirley Ma describes the history of cataract couching, one of the oldest surgical procedures.

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Corneal Transplantation and Eye Banking in Australia

graft 1

Prof Doug Coster AO describes the history of corneal transplantation in Australia

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Sutherland instruments


This exhibition highlights the microsurgical instruments developed by Geoffrey Sutherland and the pivotal role they play in vitrectomy and congenital cataract surgery.

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Jules Gonin and his cautery


Dr Jim Martin describes the huge contribution of Jules Gonin in the treatment of retinal detachment.

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The history of amblyopia treatment


This presentation describes the early understanding of amblyopia and its early Orthoptic treatments

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History of Prosthetic Eyes

eyeballs for web

Keith Pine PhD, Brian Sloan FRANZCO, Robert Jacobs PhD. New Zealand National Eye Centre University of Auckland

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Blood letting and the use of leeches


Bleeding of patients as a method of treatment for disease, occurring in any part of the body, was practised from the time of the early Egyptians approximately 1000 B.C.E.

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Medical Artist - Ilene Hill


Prior to anterior segment and retinal photography, medical artists performed the tasks of documenting pathology. The College Archives in Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital Library contain fine examples of these works.
With the development of the ophthalmoscope and slit lamp in the 19th century, ophthalmologists led by Vogt described in meticulous detail eye pathology laying the foundations of modern ophthalmology.
Ilene Hill graduated at the Art Gallery of Victoria in company with many other well-known artists.
The ophthalmologist Rupert Naylor who practiced in Collins Street, Melbourne taught her to use an ophthalmoscope and from there she had a fruitful career serving hospital Eye Departments and private practices in Melbourne over twenty years from 1940.
Retinal paintings were charged at 4 guineas for two paintings. There are instances where a patient has been serially documented over the course of an illness. The collection of these paintings and drafts of her work are in the RANZCO Museum.

Posterior Segment Paintings    Anterior Segment Paintings   

The molecular biography of John Dalton

John Dalton

The molecular biography of John Dalton whose observations on colour vision has been verified 200 years after his death by examining DNA extracted from his preserved eye. The poster by Enis Kocak won the 2016 Jim Martin prize.

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iPad use and Apps


Kyla Garft's presentation at RANZCO 2014, Senior Fellows lounge on the use of iPads

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If you know of other curiosities please send them to


The Evil Eye
You may require the help of a charm to ward off the malefic gaze of the evil eye This collection shows fine examples of glass and porcelain baths.

Apotropiac charms against the evil eye



Jealousy Glasses
A 17th century invention to allow the voyeur to discretely observe to the side of where they would otherwise appear to be watching

College of Optometrists - Knowledge centre



The Lovers Eye
To cement the liaison, a gift of a lovers eye...




Ophthalmic Anachronisms
Did Christ really wear spectacles as a child ?

Antique Spectacles