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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Qahatika Child: c. 1907

Qahatika Child: c. 1907

A Qahatika Native-American child. Photograph by Edward S. Curtis, c. 1907. View full size.

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A diagnosis

Showed this to my husband, a pediatric ophthalmologist. He thinks the child has aniridia, or congenitally absent or vestigial irises. There are different degrees of how much iris is lacking; it is often but not always associated with congenital glaucoma -- hard to tell with this child if that present or not. I asked for the bottom line: how well could this kid see? Answer: some of them actually have fairly normal vision (if no glaucoma), but imagine not being able to shut down your pupils in bright light. Probably no sunglasses available, either.


The mydriasis gives this kid a chilling, scary stare. He looks so unreal.

Is there a Dr. in the house?

No kidding. This looks like major mydriasis (dilated pupils). Most commonly drug-induced, but could also be a disease process. Looks like you might be able to see Edward S. Curtis in there as well.

Or I could be hallucinating...

[Right you are. Here is a close up of his eye. - Ken]

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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