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There is a very general Vulgar Error, that Short-sighted persons who use Concaves, as they get older, become less Short-sighted: on the contrary, every Optician and Short-sighted person that I have consulted on this subject, have assured me, that as their Eyes become impaired by Age, to see distant objects sharp and distinct, they require rather deeper than shallower Concaves; and at a very advanced Age, sometimes complain that they cannot see to read so well as formerly, and require Converes of 36 or 30 inches focus.
Mr. PIERCE informs me, that Dr. PARKER, the late Rector of St. James's, Piccadilly, had from his youth a short-sight, and when almost four score years of age, complained to him that he could not read so distinctly as he wished: with the help of Convexes of 36 inches focus, he was enabled to read and write with comfort to himself for several Years after. — See Appendix.
That a Short-sight is stronger and better, and more lasting than a Common-sight — I have always set down among the most absurd of Vulgar Errors unless, to be half blind all their Life, as the Short-sighted are, is better
than to be so only during about one-third of it, and that during the latter part of Life, as common Eyes are.
This prejudice is as foolish as the silly notion some people have—that a severe fit of Gout, is a thing to give a man Joy of — which our philosophical poet, Pope, admirably illustrated when he said:
"So when small humours gather to a Gout,
If the observations of Lord Chesterfield and Dr. Reid are true, a Short-sighted Person without Spectacles, is under a sad disadvantage in the common business of Life. — The following is the advice this keen observer of Human Nature gave to his Son:
"Mind not only What people say, but How they say it :- if you have any sagacity, you may discover more truth by your Eyes than by your Ears. People can Say what they will, but they cannot Look just as they will; and their Looks frequently discover what their Words are calculated to conceal.” See Letter 77.
Dr. THOS. REID's observation on the Eye is" Of the faculties called the Five Senses," Sight is, without doubt, the noblest: by means thereof we can perceive the tempers and dispositions, the passions and affections of our fellow-creatures, even when most they want to conceal them: and when the Tongue is taught most artfully to lie and dissemble, the Hypocrisy appears in the countenance to a discerning Eye! and we can perceive what is straight and what is crooked in the Mind, as well as in the Body."— Inquiry into the Human Mind, 8vo. 1818, p. 140.
However, it is some consolation to the Shortsighted, to consider, that if the natural infirmity of their Eyes prevents their enjoying this advantage, the use of Spectacles not only enables them to see what is passing in the Eyes of others, but that they form a veil over their own, which, in a great degree, prevents any such Scrutiny; and thus - their Weakness becomes their Strength,
I prefer a well-hammered SILVER FRAME with DOUBLE JOINTS, the Second joint of which may be turned on its pin over the First, so that they may be occasionally used with the Single joint only—they sit close and steady on the Head, and are convenient to wear under a Hat - do not press either on the Nose or on the Temples-but their pressure is general and equal, and as it may be varied, may be rendered more agreeable than any other Frame. Spectacles with only a Single Joint, must press hard somewhere.
TORTOISE-SHELL SPECTACLES have a gloomy heavy appearance, are no lighter than Silver ones, and are very easily and very often broken :- however, if you will have a Shell frame, let the front be all Black - variegated Shell is bad for the Eye.
The BLUED STEEL FRAMES are good looking enough when new, but soon lose their
Azure lustre, and then look very shabby: there is a prejudice in favour of a Steel frame as being very light, and, from its elasticity, that its pressure on the Head is less than that
of a Silver frame. It may be for the first fortnight; but in the course of that time, such is the ductile nature of a Silver frame, which soon adapts itself exactly and comfortably to the Head, and becomes infinitely easier and pleasanter than the springy Steel; and the truth of the old saying, "as easy as an Old Shoe," is remarkably felt in " an Old Silver Spectacle Frame."
That the Frame should be Light, is the only point which either the Makers or the Wearers of it seem to pay any attention to - and to Lightness, every other property of it is willingly, but ridiculously sacrificed.
The actual difference in Weight between a Silver Front of that proper degree of strength which I have recommended, and one of the silly flimsy fronts which are commonly so much admired, does not exceed Four Pennyweights.
Let the Frame be large enough not to press