Medicine: A Sharper Image

An estimated 150,000 people in the U.S. who are not truly blind have to be treated as if they were, because they have so little useful vision that ordinary spectacles yield them only a faint, blurred image. This week, Columbia University's inventive optometrist, Dr. William Feinbloom, announced that he had found a way to restore workaday vision to about half these patients so that they can read newspapers, watch TV or even do precision work in factories.

Conventional spectacles, Dr. Feinbloom explained, are simply magnifying glasses with lenses shaped like part of a sphere. No matter how much they magnify, they do...

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