Enough sight to fight? The history of military visual system requirements.


Enough sight to fight? The history of military visual system requirements.


Hertle RW


Survey Of Ophthalmology




Medicine has a six-fold role to play in war; (1) Selection of suitable military personnel, (2) To protect against disease, (3) To give medical attention and treatment to those who are ill and injured, (4) To assist in the rehabilitation of the disabled, (5) Research to improve etiology and treatments of disease, and 6) The unit surgeon serves as a special staff officer to the military commander at all levels battalion and above, long with the attorney and chaplain, and supplies medical input into all plans whether it be training or combat operations. This paper focuses on the realization by soldiers, since antiquity, of the importance of the visual system in battle, how this was measured, and how modern military visual requirements have evolved along with the science of Ophthalmology. Necessity and natural selection were the driving forces for recruitment and assignment in ancient and medieval armies. Since the advent of mechanized warfare more soldiers can perform more tasks, more uniformly, radically changing the way soldiers are selected. Modern military duty eligibility requirements and assignments are now the result of special tests and documentation procedures resulting from a mixture of medical knowledge, science and potential legal consequences. Nowhere is this more evident in the stringent visual system requirements for military service. (Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.)


Military History; Ophthalmic History; Vision Testing Methods


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NEOMED College of Medicine

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Department of General Surgery

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September 2020 List

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Akron Children's Hospital


Hertle RW, “Enough sight to fight? The history of military visual system requirements.,” NEOMED Bibliography Database, accessed December 11, 2023, https://neomed.omeka.net/items/show/11285.