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Silver eye bath, Europe, 1701-1800

Eyebaths are a means of applying a liquid medicine or a simple wash to a notoriously sensitive part of the body. Once the ceramic bowl was filled with a liquid, the patient would place the bath over the eye, tilt their head back and open and close their eye repeatedly in the liquid. The bowl is curved to fit the socket of the eye and so avoid spillage. The eyebath may have been used to treat an infection or to remove an irritation. Most eyebaths were made from glass but this silver example indicates it was owned by someone who was wealthy.

Object number:

A606659

 

Glossary:

Glossary: ophthalmology

The branch of medicine dealing with the diseases and surgery of the visual pathways (usually the eyes or the brain).

Glossary: eye bath

A small glass or vessel for applying lotion to the eye. This is often necessary to sooth irritation.