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JAMA 100 Years Ago
July 1, 2009


JAMA. 2009;302(1):98. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.950


While Man has always instinctively protected his eyes from the harmful influences of light, no reliable historical data are available to demonstrate the evolution of the use of colored glasses. Like many other customs originally based on empiricism, the subject is inextricably blended with the mists of antiquity. Ever since ophthalmology has become an integral part of medical science, ophthalmic surgeons have been confronted with the problem as to what color is best incorporated with glasses for the purpose of protecting the eyes against the various harmful influences attributed to light, quantitatively as well as qualitatively. Up to a comparatively recent time the injurious effects were supposed to be due to excessive luminosity, but we know that the ultraviolet rays are chiefly responsible. The problem is not only of importance from a scientific standpoint, but is assuming economic proportions of no small degree, when we consider the number of cases and the virulence of the symptoms that go hand in hand with the increasing employment of artificial sources of illumination.