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An historical ophthalmic study of Jane Austen
  1. Graham A Wilson
  1. Eye Department, Gisborne Hospital, Gisborne, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Dr Graham A Wilson, Eye Department, Gisborne Hospital, 421 Ormond Road, Gisborne 4010, New Zealand; graham.wilson{at}


Today, no other classic novelist has the popularity or power of Jane Austen, and in 2013 the world will celebrate 200 years of her comic masterpiece Pride and Prejudice. Her millions of fans have an abiding fascination with all aspects of her life, including her health and the cause of her death. This historical ophthalmic study of Jane Austen, based on very incomplete medical bibliographic data, finds that she had a mild ocular surface disorder from age 23. This disorder did not significantly impact on her visual performance for writing. There are many references to eyes in her novels, but Jane's eyes and those of her characters cannot contribute further to the debate around the cause of her death at age 41.

  • Medical Education

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