The Question of Eyesight

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

The Question of Eyesight is a collection of 8 letters including one written by Arthur Conan Doyle published in The Daily Telegraph on 15 january 1907.

Below is reproduced the Conan Doyle letter only.

The Question of Eyesight

The Daily Telegraph (15 january 1907, p. 9)

Sir, — I regard the optical part of my argument as so important that, with your permission, I will at once answer the remarks of Mr. Aitchison.

I fear that I expressed myself clumsily in the paragraph in which I showed how the normal eye might be reduced to the condition in which Mr. Edalji's eyes always are. Every minus sign in the prescription would, of course, become a plus. My own sight is normal, and I can answer for the feeling of helplessness which such a glass produces. I tried it upon a Press man, and defied him to reach the lawn-tennis ground in front of the house. He failed. Mr. Aitchison underrates the degree of myopia, though it is quoted in full in my paper. On one axis it becomes — 10.50, which surely is a very high degree, and the more serious when combined with astigmatism.

The effects of correction are beside the question, as Mr. Edalji did not wear glasses. I have a police admission to that effect.

To my mind it was as physically impossible for Mr. Edalji to have committed the crime as it would have been if his legs, instead of his eyes, were crippled. I have asked the editors of three of the leading medical papers to put the question of possibility before those of their readers who practise eye work. When the replies have come in we shall see what the opinion of the oculists of Great Britain is upon the subject.

Yours faithfully,

Undershaw, Hindhead, Surrey, Jan. 14