College of Optometrists / The British Optical Association Museum

Founded in 1901, it is the oldest museum of ophthalmic optics (optometry) in the world. Our remarkable collection comprises over twenty eight thousand outstanding items, including historic vision aids, spectacle frames and lenses, as well as diagnostic and sight-testing equipment, protective shades and goggles and gruesome models of ocular disease. We like to say that it’s the only museum where the exhibits look at you! 

We illustrate the story of eye care and eyewear through regularly refreshed displays of objects, rare books, prints, photographs, historic trade literature, advertisements and works of art. It is simultaneously a museum of the history of science, medicine, design and fashion, with much to tell on the representation of sensory impairment and professional responses to visual disability. We are an accredited museum, open to the public in our beautiful historic premises in the very centre of London. Anyone may visit but to come and see us you need to book a guided tour in advance.