(I'll give all of my good friends in public relations a moment to pick themselves up off the floor.) There. Better now? Don't worry, I'm only half kidding.
I hate to repeat myself. I must be somewhere near 100 of these Review editorials, and I believe this is the first time. But a couple of apparently unrelated things came together in my fevered consciousness, bound together and led me here.
One was a news release from the Vision Council of America that two of its public relations campaigns had been honored with awards from a health-information group. Congratulations. Nice to win an award.
The other was a USA Today article highlighting a recent Archives of Internal Medicine study that questioned the value of routine physicals, which, the article says, cost the
As the glacial march of evidence-based medicine proceeds, we will certainly be seeing more and more of these stories. Many of them will conclude that intuitive sense is not a way to health policy. As another source in the article concludes, "You don't need to go see your doctor every year just to go see your doctor."
Which brings us to the Vision Council. Now, the campaigns they were awarded for say essentially that if you're over 40, it's a good idea to have an eye exam. Great. Good idea. But these good ideas all come under the group's banner program, "Check Yearly, See Clearly." Which goes quite a ways beyond "it's a good idea to have an eye exam at some point" and well into the territory of "it's a good idea to see your eye doctor every year." And for most people, that's just bunk. No one questions the right of a group that largely represents makers of frames and optical lenses to promote their members' businesses. But if you're campaigning to consumers, then call yourselves something more transparent like the Eyewear Manufacturers Council. Or simply come up with a flagship banner and campaign that doesn't imply the need for and promote unnecessary eye exams. Heaven knows there are enough patients out there who truly are in need of ophthalmic and optical care, don't know enough about eye care to make informed decisions and can really use the education.