Born in Germany in 1870, George Mayerle immigrated to San Francisco in the 1890s to begin practicing optometry. The field was riddled with quackery at the time, so in an effort to professionalize optometry as a science, the American Optometric Association was formed. Mayerle, while a charter member at its founding in 1898, still dabbled in a few profitable schemes himself, selling tonics and remedies such as “Mayerle’s Diamond Crystal Eye Glasses” and “Mayerle’s Eyewater”. His real claim to professional fame came when he delivered a lecture on “The Progress of Optical Science” at a national conference. Here, he revealed his international Eye Test Chart, an exam tool he developed to cater to the rapidly diversifying cosmopolitan population of San Francisco.
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