AAO 2023: Ophthalmologists must see the Museum of the Eye in San Francisco


The collection at the Truhlsen-Marmor Museum of the Eye includes more than 38,000 objects, including rare books, instruments and immersive educational materials.

Tens of thousands of ophthalmologists are expected to descend upon San Francisco, California in the coming weeks as the American Academy of Ophthalmology hosts its 2023 annual meeting November 3-6, 2023. This year's event will be held at the the George R. Moscone Convention Center in the City by the Bay.

The locale also offers attendees the perfect opportunity to visit the Truhlsen-Marmor Museum of the Eye, billed as the world’s only free, public museum dedicated to the science of sight. The museum’s collection includes more than 38,000 objects, including rare books, instruments and immersive educational materials. Visitors can stroll through four galleries that offer hands-on exhibits, virtual reality headsets, models and try-it-yourself displays.1

Earlier this year, the museum announced the opening of Decoding the Eye: Signs and Symbols, a new exhibit exploring how the eye appears as a symbol throughout time. The exhibit will run through April 2024.1

“The eye is often used to suggest higher power, one that sees all, knows all, and wishes people good or evil,” Jenny Benjamin, director of the Truhlsen-Marmor Museum of the Eye, said when the exhibit was announced earlier this year. “This exhibit is for history buffs and pop culture lovers alike. Viewers will gain an understanding of how ancient and modern eye-related objects from around the world represent enlightenment, healing and protection to different cultures.”

The exhibit includes a range of artifacts, including the ancient Egyptian Eye of Horus, pendants protecting against the evil eye, patron saints of eyes in the Catholic canon and more. While touring the museum, viewers can listen to a Spotify playlist of songs with eye-themed or eye-related lyrics.

The Museum of the Eye is located on the ground floor of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood, at 645 Beech St. It is open from 11 am to 4:30 pm Wednesday through Sunday. A car ride to the museum will take about 15 minutes.


1. New Museum of the Eye Exhibit Explores the Eye as a Cultural Symbol, From Ancient to Modern Times. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Published May 10, 2023. Accessed October 18, 2023. https://www.aao.org/newsroom/news-releases/detail/new-museum-exhibit-explores-eye-as-cultural-symbol

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