Yeah, I know. Uber creepy. Apparently it's not enough to be able to blind someone by damaging their retinas, you have to use psychological and developmental methods to screw their eyesight up from infancy if you really want to make it as an evil scientist.
I think what they were trying to determine was whether eyesight is an instinctual or learned skill, and they got their answer. One kitten's eyesight developed normally while the other seemed blind, even though there was nothing wrong with it's eyes.
But seriously, if you're going to do a bunch of weird and highly questionable experiments, why on earth would you choose to do them on kittens! No matter what results you came up with, people were always going to be appalled by what you did. If you do them on rats you have a 50/50 chance that someone will be horrified, but everyone loves kittens!
You might be wondering why I'm even bringing it up. It was fifty years ago, after all. People did weird things back in the 60's, like building nuclear bomb shelters and wearing flares. What's a little kitten experimentation compared to that? But the fact is that kittens are still used for similar experiments, like the ones who had their eyes sewn shut not that long ago to study crossed and lazy eyes [link].
Now THAT disturbs me.
I'm not exactly anti animal experimentation, provided there is no other way that research can be done. I love animals, but I love human beings more, so I'm always going to be on the side of helping people. But still...
Kittens! They're just widdle baby kittens all fluffy and mewling and adorable! How on earth were those scientists able to do it! I'd be eating my heart out if it was me.
But I suppose those evil scientist types are made of sterner stuff.