Before Eye Care Became a Professional Service

Painted By:Herbert Morton Stoops


In this “Mail-Order Specs” painting the artist has pictured a scene typical of mail-order spectacle selling about nineteen hundred and ten.Thousands bought glasses by mail.Bold claims were made, and bargain prices prevailed.


There was no eye examination.Age and ability to read a line of type constituted the “tests.”There was no fitting of glasses - people bent them to fit as best they could.Lenses were alike except for power to magnify.


Mail-order spectacle days, however, did serve a purpose.Those in isolated communities who had no other convenient means of correcting aging eyesight were able to read again through mail-order specs.The very crudity of mail-order spectacles forced improvement in methods and advancement toward present-day standards.


Progress has been consistently rapid.In less than fifty years, American methods of caring for eyes and eyesight have advanced from crude “fit yourself” and “buy a pair of specs” days to the ethical, professional eyesight services of today.


American vision is the best in the world, because the professional men who serve American eyes and those who have rendered true Ophthalmic services - Ophthalmologists and Ophthalmic Dispensers and Optometrists - have unceasingly carried on their vigilant study of eyes and eyesight and the scientific methods of improving them.


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