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July 22, 1911

THE OPTOMETRY QUESTION AND THE LARGER ISSUE BEHIND IT

JAMA. 1911;LVII(4):265-270. doi:10.1001/jama.1911.04260070269002
Abstract

Before they were appreciated as an agency for the prevention and cure of disease, glasses had been used for five hundred years. The optical properties of lenses and of the eye had been worked out by physicists, Galileo, Keppler, Gauss, Brewster and others. Skilled opticians had met every demand made on them to correct the optical deficiencies of the organ of vision. Yet only a small minority of elderly people put back the limitations of age by wearing spectacles for reading. Perhaps one myope in fifty had extended his range of vision by concave lenses. The royal astronomer at Cambridge, England, and a philosophic clergyman in New York, with the help of a Philadelphia optician, had worked out corrections for their own astigmatism.

Meanwhile Milton, Eulenberg and many other scholars went blind from eye-strain. Pepys, at the age of 37, laid aside his inimitable diary, giving up a hopeless struggle

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