A Feast for the Eyes

This exhibition ran from 27 April 2009 until 07 September 2011. It offered a tasteful display aligning with the College PR campaign on eye nutrition...

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Exhibition banner for A Feast for the Eyes

‘A Feast For The Eyes’ was a colourful display in the College Reception area which complemented a recent College PR campaign on eye nutrition.

Exhibit in nutrition exhibition

Visitors would have seen that the Curator had literally 'laid the table' in preparation for their arrival. With exhibits as diverse as food tokens, wrappers, menu cards, the latest vitamin supplements and replica fruit and vegetables, this was the first of our museum exhibitions in modern times also to feature items drawn from the rare and historical book collection. This allowed the visitor to compare the comments on various foodstuffs made by sixteenth and seventeenth century authors and modern nutritionists. The disagreement is as instructive as it is entertaining. Certain ingredients were recommended to help the consumer stave off the need to wear spectacles….as long ago as the 1580s, but would you take dietary advice from the 9th century Persian whose eyesight is said to have deteriorated when he ate too many beans? Just think what it must have done for his bowels as well!

Elsewhere the exhibition asked whether you can you eat your way to healthier eyes, whether carrots help you see in the dark and which foodstuffs will help prevent ocular disease. The importance of a balanced diet was presented alongside the evidence that dietary supplements may be appropriate for certain patients. This exhibition ended by presenting the latest research findings of the College of Optometrists, including a recommended menu of six dishes (including soup, snacks and a smoothie drink) to help you ‘Eat Right for Your Eye Sight’. We invited you to the College to ‘tuck in’.

On bragget ale with ginger: besides that it doth preserve and cleere the sight, (this) will also helpe digestion, clense and cut phlegme and breake winde (Walter Bayley, 1586)
In 2011 a version of this exhibition transferred to the public foyer of the School of Optometry, Maindy Road, Cardiff where it remained until early 2012. The museum would be interested in hearing from any venues who might wish to mount a further updated version. The feast goes on!