76 Variability of the Refraction of the Eye
few people who could maintain perfect sight for more than a few minutes at a time, even under the most favor able conditions; and often I have seen the refraction change half a dozen times or more in a second, the varia tions ranging all the way from twenty diopters of myopia to normal.
Similarly I have found no eyes with continuous or unchanging errors of refraction, all persons with errors of refraction having, at frequent intervals during the day and night, moments of normal vision, when their myopia, hypermetropia, or astigmatism, wholly disappears. The form of the error also changes, myopia even changing into hypermetropia, and one form of astigmatism into another.
Of twenty thousand school children examined in one year, more than half had normal eyes, with sight which was perfect at times; but not one of them had perfect sight in each eye at all times of the day. Their sight might be good in the morning and imperfect in the afternoon, or imperfect in the morning and perfect in the afternoon. Many children could read one Snellen test card with perfect sight, while unable to see a differ ent one perfectly. Many could also read some letters of the alphabet perfectly, while unable to distinguish other letters of the same size under similar conditions. The degree of this imperfect sight varied within wide limits, from one-third to one-tenth, or less. Its duration was also variable. Under some conditions it might continue for only a few minutes, or less; under others it might prevent the subject from seeing the blackboard for days, weeks, or even longer. Frequently all the pupils in a classroom were affected to this extent.
Among babies a similar condition was noted. Most