The North American Review/Volume 1/Uncommon instance of short sight

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TO THE EDITOR.

Sir,

There is now living in Gardiner, on Kennebeck River, a gentleman about 81 years old, whose vision exhibits the following curious phenomena.—Until he had passed his 79th year, his eyes had gradually undergone the change common to persons of an advanced age,—requiring the objects of vision to be carried more and more distant as life progressed. About two years since, his sight grew obscure, in respect to objects at a distance, and required them to be brought nearer his eyes, until at the present time, he can read but with difficulty, and only with the letters within 3 or 4 inches of them. At the distance of 15 or 20 feet, he is unable to distinguish his most intimate acquaintances. Yet at the distance of 50 or 60 rods, he sees with tolerable accuracy, so as to tell a man from a woman, or a horse from an ox, as correctly as most persons.

I have not been able to discover, that there was any intervention of more distinct vision, between that which was too remote and that which approached too near the eye. A severe attack of fever, which happened a year ago, appeared to hasten the change very considerably.

His other faculties, except a slight deafness of long standing, are more than usually perfect, for his time of life. His muscular strength and activity are such as to enable him to walk 4 or 5 miles from home, and return the same day.

E. H.