Bill Harvey: Bent twig of darkness
Author: Bill Harvey
Ours is a profession where the clinical and the commercial both play a role. In some ways, this may serve as a model of how any modern health service needs to operate. There are, however, occasions where commercial interests may colour the messages that might be inferred from research.
The current interest in myopia and myopia therapy is a good example of where it is important to remain focused on the actual evidence base. Though I have heard some colleagues suggest that the health implications for myopia have been somewhat over-dramatised, the fact that high myopia has a strong correlation with eye disease (for example, the risk of maculopathy is up to 40 times greater) does in my view make any successful attempt to reduce progression worthwhile.
That said, too ‘heavy’ a message may have the opposite effect and encourage scepticism. I recently came across a marketing campaign from China suggesting a direct link between revision and myopia under the tag line ‘Get high scores in the college entrance examination instead of high myopia.’ The ad goes on (sic) ‘Students have paid too much to achieve high scores in the college entrance examination. But high myopia should not become a “twin brothers” with high scores. We hope students can achieve high scores and choose their favourite university. We don’t want them to be declared “high myopia” by doctors after the college entrance examination!’ The message then goes on to promote an orthokeratology lens. I hope such sensationalism does not take off over here.
And finally, as we are in the run up to what should serve as an interim sub-referendum on Europe, I noticed last week a report saying how the current provision for blind people at voting booths breached their legal right to a secret ballot. Surely in this day of electronic aids, privacy for those with a visual impairment wishing to vote is not easy to sort out?