The art of ophthalmology

December 1, 2013

This article highlights a photo competition from countries across the globe.

Photographs are usually taken in ophthalmology to verify diagnosis, detect diseases or to document the progression over time. Researchers interested in the network and anatomical structures of the eye use histological and sophisticated imaging techniques to elucidate the complex interactions of the cells involved.

However, in addition to the clinical and scientific benefit of these pictures, they are also aesthetic treasures. The beauty of these pictures often blurs the border between documenting science and art. We know pieces of art with ophthalmological motives such as famous paintings including 'The Parable of the Blind' by Pieter Bruegel (1568), 'The blind sister' by Paula Modersohn-Becher (1903) and 'The Blind' by Egon Schiele (1913) just to mention a few.

Fascinated by photography

Overwhelming response

Taking a closer look at the winning photos (Figures 1–5) it is obvious that three categories are evident: The 'investigation' category is the result of seeking what is imagined but not yet shown. The 'clinical' category is the encounter between pathology and an attentive photographer. Lastly, in the 'artistic' category, there is a search of beauty in the teaching of ophthalmology.

The cooperation with Heidelberg Engineering is a rare stroke of luck for the European Vision Institute to enable the implementation of an activity, which demonstrates the inherent beauty of the work by colleagues of the worldwide ophthalmological community. Our particular thanks also go to the numerous photographers around the world, who permit us to enjoy the beauty and fascination of ophthalmology.