American Academy of Ophthalmology Web Site: www.aao.org
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June 2012

 
Letters
 
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“Premium” Medicine?

The phrase “premium IOL” is a marketing term, and it is distressing to see its use in an official Academy publication like EyeNet (“About Preop Tests for Premium IOL Surgery,” News in Review, March). Amid increasing corporate entanglement in health care, physicians must use caution to preserve their independent role. We must focus on patient health and strive to make decisions based on science, free from commercial interest.

The term “premium” reflects poorly upon our specialty. When we ask a patient to consider “standard” versus “premium” lenses, can there be any doubt that the nomenclature alone influences the patient’s medical decision? Is there any doubt that the use of “premium” lenses enriches the ophthalmologist? Imagine a cardiologist advising patients about a “premium” stent or a nephrologist who promises “premium” hemodialysis. This is not the language of science, and it should not be the language of ophthalmology.

If our goal is to describe IOL function, then the terms unifocal, multifocal, and toric accomplish this goal more precisely—while avoiding the taint of commercialism. There are many considerations in selecting an IOL, but salesmanship must not be one of them. 

David Diaz, MD
Burlington, Vt.

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SmartSight: An Excellent Resource

In the March EyeNet, Academy Notebook announced AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month and provided a link to www.geteyesmart.org, where readers can find an interactive simulator that demonstrates how AMD affects vision. This is an excellent educational tool for individuals who don’t have AMD.

Those individuals who do have AMD, however, already know how it affects their vision; and, like those with visual loss from other causes, they need different information.

The Academy’s SmartSight program provides this with a wealth of explanations, insights, and resources to empower individuals to keep living fully in spite of vision loss at any level and from any cause. It’s free; the physician needs only print it from www.aao.org/smartsight and hand it to his or her patient.

Just doing this would help so many people. I urge you not to overlook this excellent Academy resource when considering your low vision patients.

Lylas G. Mogk, MD
Grosse Pointe, Mich.

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