An immersive experience with virtual reality headsets and interactive screens is planned for a new Museum of Vision at the American Academy of Ophthalmology headquarters in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, the academy announced Oct. 29.

The world’s first public museum dedicated to vision and eye health will allow visitors to explore the history of ophthalmology, technological advances and medical breakthroughs, according to the academy.

A $4 million donation from ophthalmologist Dr. Stanley Truhlsen to launch the museum was announced at the academy’s recent annual meeting in Chicago. The donation is one-third of a goal of $12 million to create a permanent endowment to operate the museum and ensure free access to the public.

The 3,500-square-foot museum is expected to open in 2020, and the academy anticipates more than 30,000 people will visit the facility in the first year.

“Most people don’t know what ophthalmology is or how ophthalmologists protect sight,” said David W. Parke II, chief executive officer of the academy. “The new Museum of Vision will be the first of its kind where the public can go to learn about sight, to see it, to touch it.”

The Museum of Vision will provide a venue for the academy to showcase its collection of more than 38,000 artifacts, books and instruments.

The items have been collected for more than three decades, but opportunities to view them have been limited to the academy’s annual conference. Some can also be viewed by appointment at the academy’s headquarters in San Francisco.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons.

Story originally published by Bay City News.