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January 1943


Arch Ophthalmol. 1943;29(1):109-115. doi:10.1001/archopht.1943.00880130129009

Before the middle of the nineteenth century, there was a vague understanding of some of the refractive states of the eye. Myopia, with its obvious symptom of poor distant vision, had been recognized since ancient times and was accurately defined by Kepler in 1611. Presbyopia, with the inability to see near objects in old age, had long been noted but was confused with hypermetropia. What is now known to be hypermetropia was suggested by Kästner in 1755 but was not well understood until about a century later. The accepted conception of accommodation was presented by Thomas Young in 1801, and, to complete the dioptric faults, the presence of astigmatism was demonstrated by George Airy in 1827.

The conditions present to constitute a normal refractive state received but scant attention by the older writers, owing to a lack of knowledge of the exact ocular structure and manner of functioning. Progress was