262 Prevention of Myopia
light poor. But teachers with well-lighted classrooms had the same experience, and after the Snellen test card was introduced into both the well-lighted and the poorly lighted rooms, and the children read it every day, the de terioration of their eyesight not only ceased, but the vi sion of all improved. Vision which had been below normal improved, in most cases, to normal, while children who already had normal sight, usually reckoned at 20/20, became able to read 20/15, or 20/10. And not only was myopia cured, but the vision for near objects was im proved.
At the request of the superintendent of the schools of Grand Forks, Mr. J. Nelson Kelly, the system was intro duced into all the schools of the city and was used con tinuously for eight years, during which time it reduced myopia among the children, which I found at the begin ning to be about six per cent, to less than one per cent.
In 1911 and 1912 the same system was introduced into some of the schools of New York City,1 with an attend ance of about ten thousand children. Many of the teach ers neglected to use the cards, being unable to believe that such a simple method, and one so entirely at vari ance with previous teaching on the subject, could ac complish the desired results. Others kept the cards in a closet except when they were needed for the daily eye drill, lest the children should memorize them. Thus they not only put an unnecessary burden upon themselves, but did what they could to defeat the purpose of the system, which is to give the children daily exercise in distant vi sion with a familiar object as the point of fixation. A considerable number, however, used the system intel ligently and persistently, and in less than a year were
1 Bates: Myopia Prevention by Teachers, N. Y. Med. Jour., Aug. 30, 1913.