Views & Reviews Medical Classics


BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 20 October 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c5680
  1. Ross Elledge, foundation year 1 doctor, Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Worcester
  1. rosselledge{at}

Blindness could serve as standalone testimony to why José Saramago was awarded the 1998 Nobel prize for literature. In the novel Saramago explores a public health nightmare as a society is faced with an epidemic of contagious blindness. A man goes blind at the traffic lights while sitting in his car; he is helped by a stranger who promptly goes blind himself.

Central to the book is an ophthalmologist who goes blind before he can finish reading the textbooks and stand a chance of solving this affliction. He remains a beacon of hope and solace throughout the book for his blind companions, a voice of reason in …

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