Blind Spot

A leading optical journal recently said there were more myopes per square inch in college than anywhere else in the country. This University is certainly no exception. Continually battered by reading and note-taking, the eyes of almost one out of every four students here need the help of glasses. With such a potential clientele it is odd that the Hygiene Department had not added an eye clinic to its dental and medical facilities.

When the blackboard blurs and the neon lights become globs in the distance, today's student has three alternatives. If he brings his complaints to the Hygiene Building, he is steered toward a list of Boston optholmologists. These men have M.D. degrees, and may be of help of those with eye disease, but most students just need a power increase in their present lenses--so optholmologists are an expensive luxury. He might instead patronize the handful of opticians around the Square. Here, however, the student is helpless before the log-rolling collusion of examiner and lens grinder. This combination rarely fails to produce bills of less than twenty dollars.

Rather than incur these costs, students often neglect the examination and squint their way through to summer vacation where costs may be transferred to the family rather than college budget. While hesitancy may show financial acumen, it can wreak havoc with the eyes.

It was this kind of financial runabout and procrastination that induced the Hygiene Department to set up an eye clinic in the Hygiene Building in the thirties. Charging moderate fees, scaled according to each student's resources, the clinic was drawing almost 900 patrons annually by 1941. Faculty members and University employees also used the Clinic. The 1941 Hygiene Report said "the rapid growth of the eye clinic is an indication that it is needed and appreciated."

But when eagle-eyed Navy men moved into the University during the war, the clinic died from lack of use. And after the war, nobody took the trouble to restore it.


Yet the need is certainly as great now as in the thirties. The pre-war clinic paid for itself and a new one should be able to do the same. If the Hygiene Department renewed its eye clinic soon, it would win the appreciation of those with weak eyes and moderate pocketbooks throughout the University.