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About the Cover
April 2004

Special Issue: Blindness

Arch Ophthalmol. 2004;122(4):444. doi:10.1001/archopht.122.4.444

In the early 1820s, Louis Braille developed and published a system ofdots to represent letters, numbers, mathematical symbols, and musical notes.Braille himself was blind from trauma and subsequent sympathetic ophthalmiaat age 3. When he was a child at the school for the blind in Paris, France,Braille learned a phonetic system of raised dots and dashes that had beendeveloped by a French army captain for soldiers to compose and read messagesat night. As a teenager, Braille refined this technique of tactile writinginto a succinct 6-dot system of the alphabet. Each letter of the alphabetis represented as a combination of dots and spaces in a rectangle of 6 cellscontaining 2 columns and 3 rows. Our cover provides representational examples,modified for print, of Braille's method and also serves as a visual portalfor this issue's special theme: blindness.