Jewish Physician Invents Telescopic Lens to Aid Blind
Menu JTA Search

Jewish Physician Invents Telescopic Lens to Aid Blind

Download PDF for this date

The perfection of a new type of telescopic lens that will bring vision to people with as little as two per cent sight, was announced here at the eleventh annual convention of the American Academy of Optometry.

Dr. William Feinbloom of New York whose seven years of experiment resulted in the new type lens, revealed the discovery in a paper read before the assembled optometrists.

According to Dr. Feinbloom, who is chief of the optometric staff of the West Side Hospital, New York, the improvement will bring sight to almost-dimmed eyes, and will enable thousands of greatly handicapped people to perform the same tasks as those with perfect vision.

The discovery was received with enthusiasm among members of the Academy and Dr. Thomas McBurnie of Brooklyn, N. Y., president of the American Optometric Association, said:

“Its importance can only be realized when we recall the state of those who are almost blind. This invention which is given freely to the world of science, and can be used by every optometrist to help his patients, will do much to make thousands of people now dependent on public charity, independent. A new world is in store for those partially blind who will be helped by this discovery.”

Dr. Feinbloom showed what a distinct improvement the new type lenses were over the old type in use for the past sixty years by comparing the latter with the ordinary opera or field glasses.

“The introduction of the cylindrical lenses into the telescopic spectacles will now enable persons to see as well as with the old type lenses, but they will enjoy the added comfort of seeing things just where they really are,” Dr. Feinbloom added.

“In looking through the new type of telescopic spectacles, the object viewed is magnified horizontally”, the specialist related. “The ordinary man will seem more corpulent and the objects will seem wider, but this is corrected by a psychological reaction within the person himself.”

From statistics taken from his personal study, Dr. Feinbloom is of the opinion that forty per cent of persons now classed as blind, but who are suffering from subnormal vision only, will be aided in returning to the ordinary pursuits of life.

The new lenses are of the cylindrical type and are placed in a heavy, yet compact frame similar to the goggles used by industrial workers. A series of three cylindrical lenses are set in each aperture of the frame and worn exactly as a pair of glasses with single lenses. The spectacles are not defacing, Dr. Feinbloom said.

He was enthusiastic over the possibility of the aid that it will afford to those persons now doomed to a life of non-occupation.

Comments from leading members of the profession indicate the revolution that this invention will make in the field of optometry. Dr. J. I. Kurtz of Minneapolis, Minn., editor of the American Journal of Optometry, stated that the new discovery will open a new world to thousands now partly blind and who are kept in public institutions at public expense.

Dr. R. E. Littlefield, eye specialist of Kansas City, Mo., commended Dr. Feinbloom not only for the success in the great discovery, but also for the unselfish way in which he is making it available to every partially blind person through the optometrists of the country without thought of financial reward.

Similar sentiments were voiced by Dr. W. S. Farmer of Oklahoma City, Okla., Dr. D. R. Paine of Topeka, Kansas, Dr. F. Fred Andreae of Baltimore, Md., Dr. Ernst H. Kiekenapp of Fairbault, Minn., Dr. J. C. Neill of Philadelphia, Pa., Dr. H. Riley Spitler of Eaton, O., and Dr. E. H. Silver of Washington, D. C.

Dr. Feinbloom is a research fellow of Columbia University and is a consultant in the Bronx Optometric Clinic and the Newark Optometric Clinic.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund