Welcome to the British Optical Association Museum at the College of Optometrists, the museum of the eyecare professions, occupying beautiful historic premises in the very centre of London. Founded in 1901, we are recognised as the oldest optical museum in the world and our remarkable collection comprises over twenty eight thousand outstanding items. We are an accredited museum, open to the public, although to visit us you need to make an appointment in advance.

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The museum collects 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. We are not just a museum of science, technology and medicine but of fine and decorative art and the social history of a profession serving people with visual impairment.

The collections are a nationally important resource for studying the development of the various sight-related occupations, from Medieval spectacle makers to today's highly skilled clinical practitioners in optometry and dispensing optics, as well as for the history of design, fashion and sensory disability. We have probably the world's most significant collection relating to the history of contact lenses as well as one of the finest publicly accessible collections of spectacle frames, artificial eyes and eyebaths. Many of the objects in the museum are rare or unique. They're certainly eye-catching...and we like to say we're the only museum where the exhibits look at you!

We invite you to take a look as you may be surprised by what you will see.

MusEYEum Online Catalogue

Much of our collection can be viewed in our online catalogue






UK Museum Accreditation Scheme logo

UK Accredited Museum
No 2069

The Museum Accreditation Scheme is the UK industry standard for museums and galleries

Member of the LMoHM

Arts Council funding logo
Recipient of PRISM funding
administered by
Arts Council England