Museum Entrance

Ophthalmic Museum Entrance

Egyptian Artefacts

An Eye Study


Very wittily referred to as the MusEYEum. The British Optical Association (BOA), founded in 1895, ran the first professional examinations in optics in 1896 and provided the Secretariat for a number of other optical bodies including what would eventually become the Association of Optometrists and the World Council of Optometry. In 1980, the BOA joined forces with the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers and the Scottish Association of Opticians (now disbanded) to found the British College of Ophthalmic Opticians (Optometrists). Founded by Mr J. H. Sutcliffe of the British Optical Association in 1901, this is a remarkable museum collection comprising over twenty thousand outstanding objects and archival items relating to the history of ophthalmic optics (optometry), the human eye and visual aids, as well as the representation of these subjects in art. Many of the objects in the museum are rare or unique. They're certainly eye-catching! Now in its second century, it continues to be recognised as the oldest and one of the best optical museum collections in the world.


In addition to the permanent exhibits, the museum offers regular temporary exhibitions. Members of the public are welcome to visit, take the tour or conduct research including accessing the rich archives. You can access the museum in three ways. You may visit our formal display, study our reserve collections or arrange a tour of the College Meeting Rooms (also known as a 'Building Tour'). The museum is housed on one floor which is accessible by stairs or lift. NOTE: there are two steps at the fron entrance, staff will assist those who need it. The text of temporary exhibitions is available in large print format on request.They offer touch tours for the visually impaired. The side of Charing Cross Railway Station is literally adjacent to the building. The building is identified by a brass plaque naming the College of Optometrists.


Location : 41-42 Craven St, London WC2N 5NG.

Transport: Charing Cross (Bakerloo). Charing Cross (Northern). London Buses routes 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 77a, 91, 176 all stop on the Strand nearby.

Opening Times: Monday to Friday 09:30 to 17:00

By appointment only. Last Visit 17:00

Building Tours last appointment 16:30

Tickets : Free. Building Tours £5.00 (No concessions)

Tel: 020 7766 4353.