Learning to Dissect an Eye

Words by Joshua Ward

Going into my first-ever eye dissection with a professor of pathology having last studied biology at GCSE seems to sum up my role at the Thackray. I met Professor Phil Quirke so that I would be armed with enough knowledge and experience to lead our upcoming eye dissection events, running throughout Easter. I have been no stranger to blood and guts whilst working here (hearts and kidneys featuring in 2022) and the eyes were surprisingly the least gross of all! Phil soon asked me what my medical knowledge was and, chuckling to himself as I replied ‘GCSE’, he promptly gave me an overview of the eye and it’s associated pathology. Phil was quick to test me as I followed along, and I enjoyed the discussion we had. In particular I was interested to learn about what the condition of our eyes can tell us about our body, such as if we have suffered a concussion, or if we have diabetes.

After his quick lesson in eye anatomy was over, I felt like I was ready to dissect the eyes I had prepared and so we began the dissection. As this was the first time I had dissected an eye, I was surprised to handle what felt like a small squashed tomato and compared to the hearts and kidneys of last year, it did not hold the same bloody smell. Phil and I then dissected two eyes each, and we were able to confidently identify all the major parts that we will be looking for people to identify in their eye dissections over Easter. Confident in what I had learnt, Phil parted ways with me and I dissected another eye on my own, to practice again. After our meeting I felt a great deal at ease with my own ability and I was happy to have met a very knowledgeable but down-to-earth professor.

Join us this half term for our eye dissection workshops – find out more here.