THE PREVENTION AND CURE OF MYOPIA AND
OTHER ERRORS OF REFRACTION IN SCHOOLS:
A METHOD THAT SUCCEEDED
Y OU cannot see anything with perfect sight unless you have seen it before. When the eye looks at an unfamiliar object it always strains more or less to see that object, and an error of refraction is always produced. When children look at unfamiliar writing or figures on the blackboard, distant maps, diagrams, or pictures, the retinoscope always shows that they are myopic, though their vision may be under other circum stances absolutely normal. The same thing happens when adults look at unfamiliar distant objects. When the eye regards a familiar object, however, the effect is quite otherwise. Not only can it be regarded without strain, but the strain of looking later at unfamiliar ob jects is lessened.
This fact furnishes us with a means of overcoming the mental strain to which children are subjected by the modern educational system. It is impossible to see any thing perfectly when the mind is under a strain, and if children become able to relax when looking at familiar objects, they become able, sometimes in an incredibly brief space of time, to maintain their relaxation when looking at unfamiliar objects.
I discovered this fact while examining the eyes of 1,500 school children at Grand Forks, N. D., in 1903.1 In
1 Bates: The Prevention of Myopia in School Children, N. Y. Med. Jour.. July 29, 1911.