Improved Sight a Disturbing Influence 141
tions is perfect, the patient will be able to retain it when the mind is conscious of the impressions of sight at un favorable distances. Such cases are, however, very rare. Usually the degree of relaxation gained is markedly im perfect, and is, therefore, lost to a greater or less degree when the conditions are unfavorable, as when letters or objects are being regarded at unfavorable distances. So disturbing are the impressions of sight under these cir cumstances, that just as soon as details begin to come out at distances at which they have not previously been seen, the patient usually loses his relaxation, and with it the memory of the period. In fact, the strain to see may even return before he has had time to become conscious of the image on his retina, as the following case strik ingly illustrates:
A woman of fifty-five who had myopia of fifteen diopters, complicated with other conditions which made it impossible for her to see the big C at more than one foot, or to go about, either in her house or on the street, without an attendant, became able, when she looked at a green wall without trying to see it, to remember a perfectly black period and to see a small area of the wall-paper at the distance as well as she could at the near-point. When she had come close to the wall, she was asked to put her hand on the door-knob, which she did without hesitation. "But I don't see the knob," she hastened to explain. As a matter of fact she had seen it long enough to put her hand on it; but as soon as the idea of seeing it was suggested to her she lost the memory of the period, and with it her improved vision, and when she again tried to find the knob she could not do so.
When a period is remembered perfectly while a let-