London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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West Ham 1948

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for West Ham]

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Most myopic children are seen at intervals of less than a year so this also helps
to increase the number of attendances at the Clinic. The number of myopic children seen
during the year was 462, and of these 382 were refracted and 369 received a prescription
for glasses. The total attendances of myopes was 560.
Treatments for external eye diseases were also carried out, 375 cases being seen
and making 900 attendances.
The above figures, with the exception of the 2 children included in the number
operated on for strabismus, apply only to school children, but children under school age,
referred mainly from the Maternity and Child Welfare Department, are also examined and
treated in this eye clinic. The number of children seen was 409 making 554 attendances,
and 87 received prescriptions for glasses. Some of these children also attended the
Orthoptic Department, 21 new cases being seen during the year and these, along with the
old cases, made 142 attendances.
DEFECTIVE COLOUR VISION. The test for this defect has only been carried out in
the case of children attending grammar and other higher schools, and for those children
who propose entering services where correct colour discrimination is necessary. Defective
colour vision is of fairly frequent occurrence in males, but is much less frequent among
girls* It is such a severe handicap in certain occupations that it is clearly in the child's
own interests that it should be discovered before his career is decided. By so doing, much
avoidable failure and frustration, not of the child's own making, can be prevented.

At the examination held at the Grammar and Technical Schools, the following results were obtaineds-

Number ExaminedNumber DefectivePercentage Defective
Boys1,0646l5.7
Girls1,45210.07
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At the request of the Royal College of Surgeons the Council decided to co-operate
in a survey of school children in their last year of attendance with a view to discovering
the incidence of visual defects other than the simple acuity of vision which is tested for
at school medical inspection. These comprise for instance Colour Blindness, Night Blindness,
Muscle Imbalance and Faulty Stereoscopic Vision. Some of these may be of considerable import.
ance in relation to the selection of a child's future occupation and require special apparatus,
skilled personnel and a dark room for their detection® Hitherto, no information has been
available about the proportion of the population who carry such defects and it was with the
object of endeavouring to ascertain whether they were so widely distributed as to require
special consideration in vocational guidance that the survey was undertaken. For the purpose
of the survey accommodation at the Canning Town Public Hall was temporarily converted into
a dark room. The arrangements worked smoothly and some preliminary results are expected
during the coming year.
EAR, NOSE AND THROAT DEFECTS: DEFECTIVE HEARING. The specialist Ear, Nose and Throat
clinics established during the previous year have proved a marked success and have kept the
surgeon in charge very fully occupied.
The total number of tonsil and adenoid operations performed during the year was 418
(as against 273 last year). In addition,, 123 children (as against 105 last year) were
treated non-operatively. Five hundred and sixty-Seven children (599 last year) were treated
50


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