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Surv Ophthalmol. 2009 Jan-Feb;54(1):142-9. doi: 10.1016/j.survophthal.2008.10.006.

Biography of louis braille and invention of the braille alphabet.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Hospital General Yagüe, Burgos, Spain.


Louis Braille (1809-1852) was born in France. At the age of three, he wounded his right eye with a cobbler's tool while playing in his father's workshop. No medical knowledge could save his eyesight at that time. Louis's left eye became inflamed, apparently due to subsequent sympathetic ophthalmia, and he eventually lost the sight in that eye. At the age of five, Louis Braille was completely blind. He is considered to be the inventor of a writing system by touch that bears his name, the Braille system. This revolutionary system has allowed blind people to access written culture, and it can therefore be considered a major advance in the quality of life for the blind. The immediate precursor of the invention of the Braille system was the alphabet created by Charles Barbier de la Serre (1767-1841) who created a language by touch designed for military and secret use. Louis Braille modified this alphabet into the Braille alphabet, which is practically the same one that is currently used. It required time to be recognized and to be implemented as a reading and writing method for blind people throughout the world. In 1950, UNESCO effectively universalized the Braille alphabet, and in 2005 it recognized Braille system as a "vital language of communication, as legitimate as all other languages in the world."

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