Silver eye bath, Europe, 1701-1800

Made:
1701-1800 in Europe
Silver eye bath, with stem, possibly 18th century.  Full view, white perspex background.

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Silver eye bath, with stem, possibly 18th century. Full view, white perspex background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Silver eye bath, with stem, possibly 18th century

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.

Details

Category:
Ophthalmology
Collection:
Sir Henry Wellcome's Museum Collection
Object Number:
A606659
type:
eye bath
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle