How Abnormal Eyesight Affects The Personality
( Originally Published 1936 )
How the near-sighted child may become an introvert, and how the far-sighted child may develop into an extrovert, are explained by Dr. Arthur P. Wilkinson of Detroit, Mich., in the current issue of The Sight-Saving Review, a quarterly journal published by the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness. Writing on "Eye-sight in Mental and Physical Development," Dr. Wilkinson says:
"The near-sighted child cannot cope with his playmates on the playground. He is never wanted on a ball team, for he cannot see the ball until it is within a few feet of him, whether it is at the bat or in the field. At basketball the hoop is indistinct.
"Early in life he finds that he gets more pleasure from reading than from playing games. At school he remains indoors and talks with the teacher, while the others are out playing, and he is often the teacher's pet. It is quite easy for him to read, as the near-sighted eye needs to accommodate less than the normal eye. So the moderately myopic, or near-sighted, boy becomes a bookworm and, in time, an unbalanced individual, and does not develop the qualities that are needed for leadership in later life.
"He does not care to take walks, nor does he appreciate a beautiful sunset. The trees appear to be large green blotches. No individual leaves are differentiated and the horizon is only a haze.
"What are the characteristics of the far-sighted child? His teachers say he is lazy, a mischief maker, inattentive, or motor-minded.
He plays truant and wants to leave school. The boy is a jolly good fellow; the girl is a tomboy. Some people might find a far-sighted boy stupid; others will observe how well he can do some things. He hunts well and is an excellent shot. He is often a leader in athletics.
"The far-sighted child, as is the case with any child, may or may not have good mentality; but he is consciously handicapped so far as near vision is concerned, and may seem stupid in those very activities in which the near-sighted excel. Although the far-sighted child sees much better at a distance than at close range, he is always under more or less eyestrain.
The difference between the normal eye, the far-sighted eye and the near-sighted eye, is a difference in the length of the eyeball. In the normal eye the lens is able to focus the rays of light directly on the retina. In the near-sighted eye, if relaxed, the rays are focused at about the center of the eyeball, while in the far-sighted eye they are focused clear behind the back of the eyeball.
To correct the far-sighted eye we use a converging lens; to correct the near-sighted eye, a diverging lens.