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April 1986

The Physician With Visual Impairment or Blindness: A Reappraisal

Author Affiliations

New York; St Louis

Arch Ophthalmol. 1986;104(4):498-502. doi:10.1001/archopht.1986.01050160054011

In 1950, Arthur and Virginia Keeney published an article entitled "Blindness Among Practicing Physicians,"1 in which they reviewed the careers of 19 blind physicians and concluded that, while visual loss imposed considerable difficulties for the affected physician, it was not incompatible with continued medical practice.

Much has changed for ophthalmology and its patients in the ensuing 35 years. New treatment techniques have brought hope to previously hopeless clinical situations. Modern technology has produced devices such as the optical-tactile converters, reading machines with voice synthesizers and electronic mobility aids (Optacon), the Kurzweil reading machine, and the laser cane, which have revolutionized the rehabilitation of patients with low vision or legal blindness. The passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 USC § 701, which expressed the civil rights of the disabled for the first time, has given impetus to the Independent Living Movement2 and a wave of political activism

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