Letter: Newsworthy or not?
Author: Name and address withheld
I read with interest the ‘Optometrist helps save patient with brain tumour’ article in the 7 Days section of the August 4, 2017 issue. I also thought back a couple of weeks to a story on the Optometry Today site that an optometrist found a patient had narrow angles with Van Herick and referred her for peripheral iridotomies. These sort of stories seem to crop up in our press reasonably frequently.
While I am pleased for the patients that these conditions were spotted, and occasional stories in the non-professional press that increase public awareness of what we do as a profession are obviously a good thing, it is a little frustrating to read stories about optometrists doing things they should be doing routinely (namely ophthalmoscopy and slit lamp) and discovering conditions that are part of our basic training.
I cannot help but wonder how we can hope to be taken seriously as a healthcare profession if we are promoting these as significant news stories in our professional press.
Looking at other professionals’ equivalent publications they tend to invite case studies on interesting and unusual cases, and I know Optician does publish studies on interesting cases, so I am interested to know why not in this instance.
It feels like publicity for the practice rather than an interesting or educational story for other professions to reflect on. It would be great to read Ms Lim’s case report on this case of neurocytoma rather than the practice’s press release on the story.
Response from the editor
Optician is interested in, and does, publish the kind of case studies you refer to. I think your letter may help prompt some more.
There are quite a few of these ‘Optician saved my life’ type stories in circulation at any one time and we do not publish them all.
Optician strives to find the balance and always welcomes case studies suited to our professional audience. As Abraham Lincoln said: ‘You can please some of the people some of the time…’