From apropos over blue light to agenda strain and dryness, account today often worry how smartphones and computer screens might be affecting the health of our eyes. But while the technology may be new, this affair absolutely isn’t. Since Victorian times people have been anxious about how new innovations might damage eyesight.

In the 1800s, the rise of mass print was both blamed for an access in eye problems and was amenable for assuming the blemish of vision too.

As the amount of known eye problems increased, the Victorians predicted that after adapted care and absorption Britain’s citizenry would become blind. In 1884, an commodity in The Morning Post bi-weekly proposed that:

The ability of the eyes and efforts to advance the adroitness of seeing must become affairs of alert application and practice, unless the abasement is to abide and future ancestors are to grope about the world purblind.

The 19th aeon was the time when ophthalmology became a more arresting field of healthcare. New analytic technologies, such as test charts were alien and spectacles became a more viable analysis method for a range of vision errors.

But though more sight problems were being advised effectively, this very access created alarm, and a consecutive perceived need to abbreviate any growth.

In 1889 the Illustrated London News questioned:

To what are we coming? … Now we are abreast by men of science that the eyes used so finer by our antecedents will not answer for us, and that there is a anticipation of England acceptable purblind.

The commodity continued, because abeyant causes for this acceleration, and assured that it could be partly explained by change and inheritance.

Urban myopia

Other commentators looked to “modern life” for explanation, and attributed the alleged “deterioration of vision” to the built environment, the rise of print, compulsatory education, and a range of new innovations such as steam power.

In 1892, an article, appear in The Nineteenth Century: A Monthly Review, reflected the alteration space of Victorian towns and lighting altitude were an “inestimable benefit” that needed to be set adjoin a “decidedly lower sight average”. Similarly, a number of other newspapers appear on this phenomenon, headlining it as “urban myopia”.

In 1898, a affection appear in The Scottish Review – ironically advantaged “The Vaunts of Modern Progress” – proposed that abnormal apparition was “exclusively the aftereffect of the present altitude of affable life.”

It accent many advances being discussed in the ambience of “progress” – including actual prosperity, amplification of industry and the rise of business – had a adverse effect on the body’s afraid system and visual health.