Bill Harvey: Born stubborn
Author: Bill Harvey
At last year’s AAO conference, I remember hearing about a soon-to-be-launched fields screener that used pupil response to light stimuli to detect whether targets had been seen and so achieve the holy grail of an objective field test. My initial worry about this was that older people with more risk of field loss would also have greatly compromised pupil responses.
A paper out last week, however, implies my scepticism to have been misplaced (DOI: 10.1002/ehf2.12933). It appears there is increasing evidence that the area of the pupil is strongly related to the health of the heart and ‘patients with small pupil area had significantly higher rates of cardiovascular death.’ Also, patients with known heart disease have better prognosis if their pupil area is larger. Accurate pupil measurements were possible even on older patients. I am revising my view of pupils.
Talking of revised attitudes, some of you may have read an excellent look back in last week’s Observer that republished a feature on driver’s attitudes to road safety from the early 1970s. I quote, ‘All the indications are that many drivers have serious defective eyesight. Nearly a third of a million motorists are driving with vision below even the primitive standard required by law; a further 900,000 can only reach this standard with one eye.’ Alarmingly, drivers who then thought seatbelts should be made compulsory were described as ‘likely to be someone stubborn and self-righteous and capable of aggravating an already-difficult road situation.’
Rest assured; this was written in 1973 when the UK was yet to have become a fully established member of the European Union. As Nobel laureate Sir Paul Nurse said at the weekend, ‘Europe remains one of the big three centres for science and research, along with the US and China/Far East.’ Leaving would be as mad as arguing against seat belts in some misplaced bid for self-governance.