War Surgery and Medicine
Appendix I — VISUAL GRADING IN NEW ZEALAND
VISUAL GRADING IN NEW ZEALAND
A statistical survey of visual gradings and eye conditions was made by the Institute of Opticians in August 1941, and it covered 2579 recruits from the group of single men aged 21 to 40 years who were examined at six North Island centres. The visual grading were found to be: Grade I, 2324 (90.11 per cent); Grade II, 161 (6.24 per cent); Grade III, 81; page 444 Grade IV, 1, and referred cases, 12; a total of 94 (3.65 per cent) lower than Grade II.
Of those in Grade I 220, or 9.47 per cent, were referred for further examination in camp for the possible supply of glasses. It was estimated that 6–7 per cent of this Grade I group would require glasses to be visually efficient. In Grade II 119, or 73.9 per cent, required glasses, having high visual and refractive errors.
The reasons for Grade III grouping were: Myopia (—2.50 to —16.00 dioptres), 66 cases; high hyperopia, astigmatism, amblyopia, 9 cases; myopia with strabismus, 2; cataract, 2; recent eye operation, 1; optic atrophy, 1. The Grade IV case had congenital subluxation of the crystalline lenses. The referred cases had suspected active pathology.
Colour vision statistics were: Normal, 2366 (91.74 per cent); defective but safe, 91 (3.53 per cent); defective unsafe, 122 (4.73 per cent).
The opticians observed that relatively few more men would be obtained by lowering the standard of Grade I men. They pointed out that no attention was given to the loss of vision being in the right eye. They also stressed the danger of accepting as Grade III one-eyed men or high myopes because of the possibility of complete or serious loss of vision in these cases. They recommended only slight modification in the standards with regard especially to the elimination of the one-eye cases and high myopes. They suggested the subdivision into three categories.
It is noted that 66 of 81 cases graded III were myopes with a range of —2.50 to —16.00 dioptres. In the opinion of some ophthalmologists the majority of these cases are fit to serve overseas. Brigadier Sir William Duke-Elder, British Army Consultant, stated that myopes up to 6 and 7 dioptres were accepted by the British Army for service overseas. Lieutenant-Colonel Hope-Robertson, ophthalmic consultant to the forces in New Zealand, considered that a large number of physically fit myopes were unnecessarily debarred from overseas service.