Jane Austen’s poor sight ’caused by arsenic’

Author Jane Austen was virtually blind at the end of her life possibly as a result of arsenic poisoning, experts have revealed.

Tests on three pairs of glasses held at the British Library showed the author’s sight deteriorated considerably.

At the time, heavy metals like arsenic were used in medicines that Austen, who had rheumatism, may have taken.

Library experts have suggested such poisoning may also have contributed to her early death at the age of 41.

The novelist, who lived in Steventon, Hampshire, died on 18 July 1817 and the cause of her death has been the subject of much speculation.


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