Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/86

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76
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

successive examinations of "a particular category of men" has been sought to be realized by one examination of several classes of students in the various stages of advancement in study.

In the thirty-three schools of Breslau, including its university, Dr. Cohn examined 10,060 pupils of all grades, and found that 1,004 of the number, distributed among all the schools, were near-sighted; and that only twenty-eight of these had near-sighted parents. Of the children who were yet in their first half-year of school-life, only 0.4 per cent, were near-sighted. Thence, upward, through seven biennial grades, the percentage increased till it reached 63.6 per cent, of those who had been fourteen years at school. The disease was found also to be progressive in degree.

Results bearing a striking correspondence with these have since been reported by various eminent European oculists, chiefly the following: Of 4,358 examinations by Dr. Erismann, of St. Petersburg, in 1871; of 1,058 by Dr. Reusse, of Vienna, in 1872, '73, '75; of 3,036 by Dr. Conrad, of Königsberg, in 1874-'75; and of 1,846 by Dr. Pflüger, of Lucerne, in 1876.

The interest excited by these reports was not confined to European circles. But the conditions of school-life in this country were believed to be so much more favorable than in Europe, that these deplorable statistics, it was thought, could have no parallel here. Nevertheless, the examinations which have been made, as we shall show, furnish occasion for the deepest solicitude.

In New York the examinations were made by Dr. W. Cheatham; in Brooklyn, by Drs. Prout and Matthewson; and in Cincinnati, by Drs. Ayers and E. Williams. They had been furnished by Dr. Agnew with elaborate tables or forms, arranged like Cohn's, which they returned to him filled for summing up and comparison. In this he was assisted by Dr. Webster. The results are as follows:

New York College, 549 students: introductory class—near-sighted, twenty-nine per cent.; freshman class, forty per cent.; sophomore class, thirty-five per cent.; junior, fifty-three per cent.; senior, thirty-seven per cent.

Brooklyn Polytechnic, 300 students: Academic Department, ten per cent.; collegiate, twenty-eight per cent.

Cincinnati, 630 students: district schools, ten per cent.; intermediate, four-teen per cent.; normal high, sixteen per cent.

This report was read by Dr. Webster before the Social Science Congress at Detroit in 1875, and again by Dr. Agnew at the Medical Congress in Philadelphia, September, 1876. In the report of the proceedings of the latter body, for the Medical Record, October 14th, it is stated that "the section unanimously recommended to the Congress that the paper be published, with the statistical tables in full." Nevertheless, the paper has not yet been printed; but some of its conclusions may be found in the Medical Record, January 20th.

In February last, Dr. Lucien Howe was appointed, by the Buffalo