Every month Optometry and Vision Science (OVS) publishes interesting articles that report advances in our field. Among them are articles that have considerable interest for the general public. But it is relatively unusual for optometric research to be featured by the public news media.
Beginning in June 2011, our publishers agreed to take one of our articles each month and have their LWW medical writers craft a message from a research article selected by your Editor-in-Chief. It is written for the general public to be included in their news releases to international media news wires. It is distributed via LWW's press office and put on Newswise's MedWire and distributed to more than 5,000 vetted journalists at more than 500 global media outlets (print, broadcast, online, and syndicate). It is an impressive media list around the world including Australia/New Zealand (ABC), United Kingdom (BBC), Canada, France, major U.S. News and TV outlets (NPR, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NY Times, Reuters Health, Wall Street Journal, Discovery Health channel, FDA News, and Gannett Healthcare Group News Syndicate), and Health magazines (e.g., Harvard Health Letter), China, Spain (El Mundo), Germany, Japan, major journals that carry science news (e.g., Lancet, Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, and Science), popular magazines (e.g., Oprah Magazine, Parenting, Child Magazine, Pediatric News, and WebMed), Poland, and Sweden (SBC).
In June, the OVS Feature article by our Glenn A. Fry Awardee, Nathan Efron, was released as “Eye examination may provide clues to diabetic nerve damage.” It leads with the paragraph “Could a simple eye scan detect early signs of diabetes-related nerve damage? Recent research toward developing such a test is the topic of a special article in Optometry and Vision Science, official journal of the American Academy of Optometry. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.”
In July, the OVS Press Release featured font size and smartphones based on the OVS July article by Mark Rosenfield and colleagues at SUNY. It has already been picked up by dozens of media outlets around the world and a Google search (Rosenfield smartphones) shows entries on the first 55 pages of the Google search results! The article was typically reported by the media as “Smartphones may be taxing your eyes” with the opening paragraph “People reading text messages or browsing the Internet on their smartphones tend to hold the devices closer than they would a book or newspaper, forcing their eyes to work harder than usual, new research shows.”
In August, there was a news release emphasizing the importance of rub and rinse in the care of contact lenses, leading with the statement: “‘Rub and rinse,' in conjunction with soaking of the lens, is the most effective regimen to recommend with all the multipurpose lens care solutions used with any type of contact lenses, according to the new study, led by Hua Zhu, PhD, of the Brien Holden Vision Institute, Sydney, Australia.”
And this month (September), there is a press release based on our lead article by Earl Smith publishing his Prentice Lecture on optical strategies for preventing and treating myopia progress. Smith notes that the overall pattern of research results suggests that optical treatment strategies for myopia control that take into account the effects of peripheral vision are likely to be more successful than strategies that effectively manipulate only central vision.
The following month (October), the focus will turn to severe vision loss as the medical news item from OVS. It will be based on the October Feature article by Ava Bittner and colleagues at Johns Hopkins University Wilmer Eye Institute who report on new computer-based strategies for allowing reliable recording of vision measures for those who are severely visually impaired. In November, the press release will move to research from Alex Black and colleagues in Australia who show that visual field loss is quite predictive of falls in older patients with glaucoma.
Readers of OVS, and particularly practicing clinicians who may be asked about these eye and vision issues they hear about in the public media, can follow the news releases each month at the OVS web site. At that site, the link to the Press Release has been added to the published article and is open to the public under “In the News.”
I encourage you to check this out on the OVS web site at (www.optvissci.com).
Anthony J. Adams