Media and Medicine: How did Mary Ingalls lose her eyesight?

Devoted fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s successful Little House on the Prairie books and subsequent television  program know that Mary Ingalls’ blindness was the result of Scarlet Fever.

Recent research suggests that may not be the case. A fan and physician, Dr. Beth Tarini, has reviewed Ingalls family papers and contemporary reports and found that Mary had scarlet fever long before the onset of her blindness.

What could have caused Mary’s loss of sight? Tarini and colleagues speculate in an issue of Pediatrics.

[Lynne M. Fox, Education Librarian]

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