The Cure of Imperfect Sight by Treatment
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The Original Bates Method, for correcting vision defects

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Myopia and the Educational Process 253
sight. When the condition developed in adults, the ex planations had to be modified to fit the case, and the fact that a considerable number of cases were observed among peasants and others who did not use their eyes for near work led some authorities to divide the anomaly into two classes, one caused by near work and one un related to it, the latter being conveniently attributed to hereditary tendencies.
As it was impossible to abandon the educational sys tem, attempts were made to minimize the supposed evil effects of the reading, writing and other near work which it demanded. Careful and detailed rules were laid down by various authorities as to the sizes of type to be used in schoolbooks, the length of the lines, their distance apart, the distance at which the book should be held, the amount and arrangement of the light, the construction of the desks, the length of time the eyes might be used without a change of focus, etc. Face-rests were even devised to hold the eyes at the prescribed distance from the desk and to prevent stooping, which was supposed to cause congestion of the eyeball and thus to encourage elongation. The Germans, with characteristic thorough ness, actually used these instruments of torture, Cohn never allowing his own children to write without one, "even when sitting at the best possible desk."1
The results of these preventive measures were disap pointing. Some observers reported a slight decrease in the percentage of myopia in schools in which the pre scribed reforms had been made, but on the whole, as Risley has observed in his discussion of the subject in Norris and Oliver's "System of Diseases of the Eye," "the injurious results of the educational process were not notably arrested."
1 The Hygiene of the Eye in Schools, p. 127.