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Notes From Our Ophthalmic Heritage
June 2007

X-rays and the Blind

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2007 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2007

Arch Ophthalmol. 2007;125(6):749. doi:10.1001/archopht.125.6.749

The false hopes that were based on certain newspaper statements that the x-rays would allow people with blindness to see have caused a sad disappointment to many with loss of sight.

Drs H. L. Hilgartner and E. F. Northrup say, in the Journal of Eye, Ear, and Throat Diseases, that even now physicists do not know what these rays are. It has been found that when the mechanism of the retina has been destroyed, leaving the optic nerve in a useless or atrophic condition, no x-rays are perceived; when the mechanism of the eye is intact and the optic nerve is damaged, some visual conception may be obtained by these rays.