Military Visual Standards 5
of persons over twenty-one living under civilized condi tions nine out of every ten have imperfect sight, and as the age increases the proportion increases, until at forty it is almost impossible to find a person free from visual defects. Voluminous statistics are available to prove these assertions, but the visual standards of the modern army 1 are all the evidence that is required.
In Germany, Austria, France and Italy the vision with glasses determines acceptance or rejection for military service, and in all these countries more than six diopters2 of myopia are allowed, although a person so handicapped cannot, without glasses, see anything clearly at more than six inches from his eyes. In the German Army a recruit for general service is required-or was required under the former government-to have a corrected vision of 6/12 in one eye. That is, he must be able to read with this eye at six metres the line normally read at twelve metres. In other words, he is considered fit for military service if the vision of one eye can be brought up to one-half normal with glasses. The vision in the other eye may be minimal, and in the Landsturm one eye may be blind. Incongruous as the eyeglass seems upon the soldier, military authorities upon the European continent have come to the conclusion that a man with 6/12 vision wearing glasses is more serviceable than a man with 6/24 vision (one-quarter normal) without them.
In Great Britain it was formerly uncorrected vision that determined acceptance or rejection for military ser vice. This was probably due to the fact that previous to the recent war the British Army was used chiefly for
1 Ford: Details of Military Medical Administration, published with the approval of the Surgeon General, U. S. Army, second revised edition, 1918, pp. 498-499.
a A diopter is the focussing power necessary to bring parallel rays to a focus at one metre.