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December 1951

Genetics in Ophthalmology

AMA Arch Ophthalmol. 1951;46(6):712. doi:10.1001/archopht.1951.01700020726014

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The author points out that over the last hundred years the causes of blindness in the world have changed considerably. At the beginning of the last century smallpox was the dominant cause, and during the last 50 yr. various infectious diseases, headed by ophthalmia neonatorum, have played a significant role. With the prevention and cure of the infectious diseases by antibiotics, the congenital, hereditary, and developmental defects have increased in importance, and today if one assesses the blind in terms of years of blindness, rather than in number of blind persons, these defects become enormously important to us. The diseases which depend upon the person's constitution are coming well to the front, and medical genetics is an aspect of the study of constitution.

The author's approach to the subject is best exemplified by quoting a paragraph from the preface:

Contrary to the widespread belief, medical genetics is not concerned with

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