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Opto vs. Ophtho RESEARCH

Discussion in 'Ophthalmology: Eye Physicians & Surgeons' started by modelcitizen, Apr 29, 2004.

  1. modelcitizen

    modelcitizen Membership Revoked
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    I didn't realize there was such a turf war between the ODs and OMDs, but now that I've seen all of the threads devoted to this, I have another question:

    Is there a difference between the research conducted at an ophtho vs. opto school? For example, does Iowa's ophtho program pretty much disregard the research performed at, for example, Berkeley? Here's why I ask. I was reading a review of Myopia awhile back and noticed that the authors (MDs) said something to the effect of "so & so drug/lens (can't remember exactly) has been reported as effective at treating myopia, but these reports were only in optometry journals." Or something like that. I can dig it up if it matters.

    I didn't really think much of it at the time, but after seeing all of these opto vs. ophtho threads I became curious.
     
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  3. avm03

    avm03 Junior Member

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    Research is often interpreted differently amongst members of a specialty, and unfortunately poorly designed studies are used to substantiate and advance an underlying agenda. For example, the effectiveness of a medication in a study funded by a pharmaceutical company represents an inherent conflict of interest, and must be interpreted with caution with the study design scrutinized. This certainly holds true in optometric research as well.

    A very important example of optometric research that unfortunately has been used to advance an agenda and is highly criticized in the ophthalmological circles is the Orinda study (1954-56) regarding vision screening in children.

    In the United States, shortly after basic science information regarding plasticity of the visual system became known, vision screening began in schools, and with it, came controversy between what actually constitutes adequate vision screening for school children, methodology, and criteria for referral. This led to the interdisciplinary Orinda study (1954-1956) conducted to establish the ?validity of a vision screening protocol?. The Orinda study produced the Modified Clinical Technique (MCT) the validation of which was assessed through application of this technique by 2 optometrists for screening on a population of school children that was 99% White and in above average socioeconomic households . This study proposed that the MCT outperformed other screening batteries with regards to detecting the greatest number of true positives, and least number of false positives.

    The Orinda study recommended that doctors of optometry be used to administer the tests to increase the accuracy of the screening program.

    BUT - there are several MUCH better designed studies that clearly demonstrate up to 97% of the visual defects were discovered by visual acuity testing alone, and that additional tests, although in theory more comprehensive, do not necessarily enhance the validity of the screening program. Moreover, it remains unclear from basic science research that correcting refractive errors too early in children may interfere with the normalization of refractive errors (emmetropization), that occurs in infants and young children.

    Clearly there is also an agenda in identifying refractive error in "ALL" school children, as a prescription is to be filled as a consequence...but this is not a justifiable methodology, nor is it substantiated by the ophthalmological basic science research.
     
  4. modelcitizen

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    Hey, thanks a lot for your reply! Forgive my newbieness to this field, but I'm not sure I completely understand. Are you saying that optometry schools tend to slant their research toward conclusions that leads to more work for them? Or that they *used* to do this back in the '50's?

    Also, just to play devil's advocate here, and with regard to my example above, I have a hard time believing that a school as well respected as Berkeley would care whether practicing optometrists receive more work as a result of their research. In fact, it looks like a lot of their faculty hold primary appointments in other departments (CS, MCB, etc.). Maybe this leads to a new question: Are some optometry schools good, some bad?

    Is there a better website that I can go to for more details?
     
  5. Visionary

    Visionary Medical Retinologist
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    I did vision research for 5 years prior to entering med school. I have to say that just as there are good and bad clinician ODs and OMDs, there are good and bad researcher ODs and OMDs. In my experience, the quality of one's research has nothing to do with whether he/she graduated an OD or OMD.
     
  6. MPS

    MPS Senior Member
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    The quality of research conducted by ophthalmologists and optometrists is equally mixed. I would suspect that if we tallied the citation indices for publications from the two professions, then ophthalmology would come out on top (mainly because their journals have higher impact factors). Berkeley's Optometry Department has been very strong indeed on the research front for a number of years; Colin Blakemore did his PhD there, and Horace Barlow was based there for some time. There is no question that it is world-class.
     

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