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June 6, 2012
A large number of the Impressionist painters were near-sighted, or “myopes”. Cézanne and Renoir both suffered from, and appeared to exploit, the blur induced by myopia in their work. Renoir was known to step back from the canvas so that it was out of focus. Cézanne, when offered spectacles raged, “take away those vulgar things!” The sharp focus produced by corrective lenses worked against the global abstract style that the Impressionists sought to achieve. In short, uncorrected myopia may have offered a shortcut to abstracting the general forms and colors of the scene being painted.
While that may have worked in pursuit of their art, we don’t advocate letting any vision problems go untreated. Myopia, or “nearsightedness”, is a disorder in which the refractive power of the eye’s optical media (i.e., the cornea and lens) is too strong relative to the length of the eyeball. Because of this, the image is focused in front of the retina rather than on it, resulting in a blurred image. There are two types of myopia:
1. Refractive myopia, which results when the optical media refract light too powerfully
2. Axial myopia wherein the eyeball is too long for eye’s high refractive power
Myopia affects a large percentage of the North American population (approximately 25%) and appears to be affected by both genetic and environmental variables. It runs in families; children with myopic parents tend to have elongated eyeballs, and identical twins are more similar than are fraternal twins. But it also occurs more frequently in groups of people who do a lot of reading or do other types of near work.
The National Institutes of Health says there is no known way of preventing myopia, and the use of glasses or contact lenses does not affect its progression. Recently, researchers at the University of Cambridge found that a lack of outdoor play could be linked to myopia.
Myopia is corrected through the use of diverging lenses (eyeglasses or contact lenses) to properly focus light on the retina or by refractive surgery. Several different procedures have been developed in recent years, including PRK and LASIK. Lens implants (IOLs) are now available offering an alternative to glasses or contact lenses for myopics for whom laser surgery is not an option. Consult an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist for treatment of any eye-related disorders.
The M&S Smart System Computerized Vision Testing system is the top choice for the forward-thinking eye care professional. Ask if your eye doctor carries our system and, if not, tell them about the Smart System from M&S!
Excerpted from Wikipedia and “Art, Vision, & the Disordered Eye ©” (Department of Psychology, University of Calgary)
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