Bill Harvey: Rainbow rising
Author: Bill Harvey
Mahatma Gandhi is credited with saying, ‘the true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.’
I was shocked to see a report published last week that shows England to have the highest death rates of frail and older hospitalised patients in the western world. The study, carried out by a collaboration between Harvard University, the London School of Economics and the think tank Health Foundation, compared thousands of patient records in 10 different countries across Europe and the US and found England to be wanting in aspects of health care for the elderly and vulnerable. Indeed, England was found to have the second lowest spending in primary and secondary care of these patients, with only the Netherlands having lower overall spending. As primary eye care professionals, we are involved in health care of the elderly and these findings are worth us making some fuss about.
On a more positive note, I am still using the free CVSimulator app to demonstrate the impact of colour vision defects to worried parents of children failing the Ishihara test. I have always found colour vision, either normal or defective, an interesting topic. I remember, as a student at Aston, walking through Cannon Hill Park in the spring and noticing how bright the daffodils appeared on sunny days. As evening came on, they faded into the background while the previously inobtrusive bluebells suddenly took over. This Purkinje shift in the peak wavelength seen in different ambient light levels was one of the very many things memorably explained to us by the great Professor Bernard Gilmartin. If you are similarly interested, you might enjoy an excellent radio broadcast currently on the BBC Sounds app; The Secret Lives of Colour by Kassia St Clair. One nugget I gathered from it was how ancient peoples used eyeliner that contained lead chloride now known to reduce lid inflammation.