Hypermetropia in School Children

Discussion in 'Optometry Archives' started by MS, May 15, 2010.

  1. MS

    MS Guest


    Better Eyesight
    A Monthly Magazine Devoted to the Prevention and Cure of Imperfect
    Sight Without Glasses
    Copyright, 1921, by the Central Fixation Publishing Company
    Editor, W. H. Bates, M. D.
    Publisher, Central Fixation Publishing Company
    Vol. VIII. - August, 1923 - No. 2

    Hypermetropia in School Children
    By W. H. Bates, M.D.

    Hypermetropia or far-sightedness is more frequent in school children
    than is myopia. The statistics average in the lower grades about ten
    percent myopia and eighty percent or more of hypermetropia. In higher
    grades the percentage of myopia is increased while that of
    hypermetropia is decreased.
    It has been generally believed for more than one hundred years
    that while myopia is usually acquired by school children,
    hypermetropia is always present at birth. Many physicians who study
    the eyes of school children have had more interest in hygienic methods
    of myopia prevention and have recommended better schools, prescribed
    the early use of glasses and other measures to lessen the number of
    children who become nearsighted after they were at school. The
    prevention of hypermetropia was ignored and I have never seen any
    article devoted to the prevention of hypermetropia in school
    children. In the first place it is very difficult to prove or
    disprove the amount of hypermetropia in young children with any degree
    of accuracy. I spent many weary hours many years ago when I
    prescribed glasses, trying to measure hypermetropia with the eye under
    the influence of eye drops. Twenty years ago I first introduced my
    method for the prevention of imperfect sight in children and kept
    records of the vision of the children from year to year, for eight
    years, in one school of about two thousand pupils. In New York City I
    have acquired a much larger experience. The symptoms of hypermetropia
    were more uncomfortable and interfered much more with the mental
    efficiency of the children than did myopia. Most children with myopia
    were able to read with comfort and their imperfect sight for distance
    is only inconvenient at certain times, but children with hypermetropia
    not only have difficulty in seeing near but they also have trouble in
    seeing objects at a distance. Some hypermetropes have just as poor
    sight as children who have only myopia. Hypermetropia not only
    impairs the vision more than does myopia but it is associated often
    with a great many more uncomfortable symptoms, pain, headache,
    fatigue. In short, hypermetropia interferes seriously with the school
    work much more than does myopia. A great many children leave school
    because they cannot stand the discomfort of their eyes suffering from
    hypermetropia and those who continue their school work suffer in many
    ways. They are unable to read without pain and fatigue and the memory
    is impaired, they fall behind in their classes and their school life
    is a burden. Surely it is more important to study the problems of
    hypermetropia than those of myopia.
    The condition of the eyes at birth has been a matter of discussion
    for many years. Some of the early statistics recorded considerable
    myopia, 90%, others found no myopia and the eyes were apparently
    normal. It is difficult to draw correct conclusions from most
    For some years I made it a habit to test the eyes of new born
    children a half hour after birth and to examine the eyes again at
    regular intervals. Some children's eyes were examined every hour with
    the aid of the retinoscope and the eyes under the influence of eye
    drops. The characteristic of them was the variability in the amount
    of hypermetropia. At certain hours the eyes would be apparently
    normal, a half hour later they would be hypermetropic in one or both
    eyes, at a later period, mixed astigmatism in one eye, and the other
    eye normal or hypermetropic. At a still later period both eyes
    normal. A week later both eyes might be normal or both eyes might
    have hypermetropia in the morning and be normal in the afternoon.
    Usually six months or a year later the eyes became more continuously
    normal. At four years of age, six years of age, just before they
    began school, the eyes of children were usually normal. After being
    in school for a year or more hypermetropia began to be manifest and
    increased with each succeeding year. Myopia did not appear to any
    great extent before the age of ten or twelve and increased while the
    hypermetropia appeared to diminish. I have seen some children ten
    years of age with normal eyes, at eleven years with hypermetropia, at
    twelve years of age myopia, at thirteen hypermetropia, at fourteen the
    eyes apparently normal. The variability of the eyes of young children
    is a matter that should be considered very seriously. Those children
    who practiced with the Snellen Test Card every day with the help of
    teachers, improved. The myopia disappeared, the astigmatism
    disappeared, the hypermetropia disappeared and the eyes became
    normal. Coincident with the improvement in the sight, teachers
    informed me that there was a wonderful gain in the efficiency of the
    children. There are teachers in the city of New York still using my
    method for the prevention of imperfect sight in children who have
    obtained so much benefit from its use that they are continuing to
    practice it although they were ordered by the Board of Education more
    than ten years ago to stop using my method.
    It is a great temptation to put glasses on children for the
    correction of hypermetropia. The glasses for the correction of
    hypermetropia are magnifying glasses and their effect is to enlarge
    the fine print of school books to such a degree as to make it much
    easier for the children to read. Children who are under a strain and
    have imperfect sight find their vision or their ability to read
    improved very much by glasses, much more so than the children who wear
    glasses for nearsightedness. There have been many plausible theories
    which have encouraged eye physicians to prescribe glasses for many
    children who do not manifest a very high degree of hypermetropia. It
    is possible to put glasses on children who have normal sight and by
    compelling them to wear the glasses continuously they develop
    hypermetropia and become able to see with the glasses. In fact there
    are very few people with normal sight but who can,—by wearing glasses
    continuously, become able to see at the distance with glasses for
    correction of hypermetropia, when they do not have it. Just as there
    are children who can wear nearsighted glasses and see with them
    although their vision may be perfectly good without the glasses.
    If a child has headaches and many children do have headaches from
    nervousness, from stomach trouble, conditions which often disappear by
    simple treatment and rest, I believe it is much better to have the
    children rest their eyes when they are in this condition, for a few
    days or a week or two because many recover without the need of
    glasses. Very few eye specialists realize the facts, and, without
    even considering the possibilities that the headaches might come from
    something else than the eyes, have prescribed glasses whether the
    children needed them or not. I do not believe that any children with
    normal eyes, under twelve years of age, ever recover or are benefited
    to any great extent by their use. It seems to me very much like a
    crime to compel children to wear glasses when their sight for distance
    and for near is perfectly good without them. The oculists will tell
    you all about latent hypermetropia, which means in the mind of the
    physician, that the child is really in need of glasses although the
    sight is normal. They believe that the child really has hypermetropia
    which is concealed or corrected by a strain of a muscle inside the
    eyeball and that it is the strain of this muscle to correct the
    hypermetropia which causes the headaches, or the nervousness, or the
    stomach troubles or any other disease of the body generally. Some
    have gone to an extreme and claim that epilepsy, St. Vitus Dance,
    deafness, diseases of the chest, diseases of the liver and many other
    diseases are caused by a strain of a muscle inside of the eyeball.
    This theory is wrong and the published evidence is conclusive that no
    muscle inside the eyeball is a factor in the focussing power of the
    Low degrees of farsightedness are readily curable, but in a great
    many cases which have 4, 7, or more degrees of error, the cure is for
    most people, or to most eye-specialists, very incredible. One of my
    patients had 7 D.S. She could hardly see the large letter on the
    Snellen Test Card without her glasses. To read was impossible. After
    a few treatments her vision became normal at 20 feet, and she read
    diamond type perfectly at less than 10 inches. She wrote me a letter
    recently as follows: "My eyes are behaving wonderfully well. At one
    time it was impossible to read even with my glasses in a moving
    train. To-day I read three columns of the newspaper without any
    trouble." Her letters are very legible and written without glasses.
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    MS, May 15, 2010
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  2. MS

    Neil Brooks Guest

    You're an idiot.
    Neil Brooks, May 15, 2010
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