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Ivory and horn model of an eye, Europe, 1601-1700

The model unscrews to show the different parts of the eye, including the cornea (part of the outer coating of the eyeball), the pupil, the iris (the coloured part of the eye), the jelly-like vitreous humour that fills most of the eyeball, and the optic nerve that transmits messages to the brain. The eye is complete with eye lids and this model was almost certainly used to help teach the anatomy and workings of the eye.

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Glossary: eye

The organ of sight or vision. In man, and vertebrates generally, it is properly the movable ball or globe in the orbit, but the term often includes the adjacent parts.

Glossary: vitreous humour

The transparent gelatinous substance that fills the eyeball between the crystalline lens (lens) and the retina.

Glossary: anatomical model

A model that demonstrates the structure of the human body through the separation of its parts. Often used for teaching purposes.

Glossary: anatomy

A branch of medical science concerned with the structure of living organisms.

Glossary: cornea

The transparent part of the eyeball that covers the iris and pupil. It refracts light entering the eye on to the lens, which is then focused on to the retina.