Victorian eye concerns

Eye problems raise the alarm

  At the beginning of the nineteenth century, people in the Victorian era believed that it was precisely because of the emergence of mass printing that the number of eye diseases increased and people’s eyesight decreased seriously. At that time, the number of eye diseases was increasing day by day, so that some people said that if they were not paid enough attention, they would lead to blindness of all people.
  In 1884, the “Morning Post” pointed out in an article: “Only by attracting full attention and taking practical actions, fostering a culture of eye use, and actively enhancing vision function, can the trend of deteriorating eye health be curbed and the next generation’s blindness can be prevented. Explore the world blindly.”

  In the nineteenth century, ophthalmology became a field of concern. New diagnostic techniques such as eye charts have entered the clinic, and glasses have become a feasible solution for the treatment of several vision problems, and more and more eye problems have been effectively treated. However, the increase in the total amount of eye diseases has also raised the alarm in people’s hearts. It is foreseeable that measures must be taken to suppress this momentum.
  In 1889, the Illustrated London News questioned: “What will be waiting for us? Science shows that our ancestors used their eyes to be handy, but now, the eyes can no longer meet our needs. In the future, England may become an invisible country. . ”
  Then, the article accelerate the decline of the potential for vision-based, one conclusion – the natural evolution and familial perhaps part of the reason.
Myopia of urbanites

JD Browning gave reading suggestions in his book “Our Eyes and How to Protect Eyes” in 1887

The eye examination described by F. Phillips in the book “Ophthalmic Surgery and Treatment” published in 1869

  In addition to natural evolution and family inheritance, another part of the reason is blamed on “modern life” by critics. They claimed that the “man-made environment”-printing, compulsory education, and inventions represented by the steam engine-caused the so-called “deterioration of vision.” In 1892, an article in the “Nineteenth Century: Monthly Review” pointed out that in the Victorian era, changes in urban space and lighting conditions were “an immeasurable asset”, but they should also be placed on “the rapid decline in the vision of the whole people.” “Look at the background. At that time, there were many other newspapers and periodicals that reflected this phenomenon with the topic of “urban myopia”.
  In 1898, the “Scottish Review” published a special report “The Boasting of Modern Progress” to discuss the problem of urban myopia. The article pointed out that decreased vision is “a unique result of the current civilized living standards.” Material prosperity, industrial expansion, and the rise of commerce and trade activities, many of the achievements that fall under the category of “progress”, will damage the human nervous system and eye health.
  At that time, there was another concern, that is, being sedentary, which is also linked to the increase in eye diseases. Because of the more developed transportation and the emergence of some new entertainment activities that you can participate in without getting up, everyone will spend more time on reading. Work patterns have also changed. The lower-level jobs have got rid of manual labor, and written vocabulary has replaced spoken vocabulary. Just as we focus on “screen time” now, at the time, all journals and magazines emphasized the negative impact of the “reading age”.
“Man-made” technology comes back

  Reading materials, lighting conditions, desk and chair space, compulsory education, etc., all became the “culprits” of the increase in eye diseases at that time. Ophthalmologist Robert Carter wrote a research report “School Vision” led by the British government. In the report, Carter unbiasedly pointed out that educational conditions may have an impact, but to fully and objectively understand the current situation, it is necessary Collect more data. Although Carter does not want to be labeled as “unreasonable worry”, many magazines still use the term “evil of the education system” in their reports.
  It is believed that the problem with these new environments is that they are “man-made”. Doctors at the time often compared the weak eyesight of modern people with the excellent eyesight of primitive people, and they also studied the effects of captive breeding on the eyesight of animals. In this way, when evaluating the relationship between civilization and “progress”, there is a more negative interpretation. With this conclusion, critics can also say that visual degradation is a companion product of the urban environment and modern entertainment activities, a typical feature of the Western world.
  However, the people of the Victorian era did not retreat, but continued to advance modern progress, although in the eyes of critics, this progress led to eye diseases. People invented all kinds of protective glasses, anti-ash, anti-dust, anti-sunshine, anti-sunlight…and so on.
  Despite all the worries, Britain has not become a “blind country”, and not all British people are “hunched back and nearsighted nerds.” Today, reports on “screen time” and eye health rely more and more on rigorous investigations, but this only shows that the issue of “modernity” is a source of everlasting concerns.