The object of this paper is to call the attention of the Society to the need of legislation for the prevention of blindness. The necessity for adopting such a measure can only then be advocated when sufficient data have been collected, indicating the cause and increase of blindness, and then demonstrating that legal restrictions would decrease to a large percentage this awful calamity. A thorough elucidation of these facts would tend towards elaboration. I will content myself, therefore, by bringing to your attention in a concise form, the main features only. If we consult the United States census from the year 1850 to date, we learn that the number of blind enumerated during the various decades is as follows: 1850, 9,794; 1860, 12,658; 1870, 20,320; 1880, 48,928; 1890, 50,411.
If compared with the population, which increased from 23,191,876 in 1850 to 62,622,250 in 1890, we obtain the following ratios:
BETTMAN B. LEGISLATION FOR THE PREVENTION OF BLINDNESS.Read before the Chicago Medical Society, April 15, 1894.. JAMA. 1894;XXII(20):739-741. doi:10.1001/jama.1894.02420990013002b