For those who struggle with vision problems, a variety of newer types of lenses could help. This story reports on one such type of lens. Unfortunately this story does little to inform the reader of just what this lens can and can’t do.
The story falls short on describing the availability, harms, costs and evidence to support the new lenses. It does not adequately describe the treatment options or quantify the benefits. Although the story does quote two experts, they are not independent. Both are employees of the lens companies. The story should have quoted at least one independent expert who could comment on how the new lenses fit with current practice. This would have substantially strengthened the piece.
In the end, the story read like an ad – not an accurate, balaned and complete piece of journalism.
Although the story mentions the cost of the machines, this is not enough information on costs. More important to the consumer is how much more these types of lenses cost over traditional lenses and whether insurance will cover it. This is particularly important to many older people who may have this problem and be living on a fixed income.
The story does not quantify the benefits of the lenses; only personal anecdotes were provided.
The story does not mention any potential harms of the new lenses.
Other than describing one patient’s experience, the story does not comment on the strength of the available evidence to support the new lenses.
Although the story does not appear to exaggerate the seriousness or prevalence of vision problems, the story could have been more clear about the specific types of vision problems that the new lenses address.
Although the story does quote two experts, they are not independent. Both are employees of the lens companies. The story should have quoted at least one independent expert who could comment on how the new lenses fit with current practice. This would have substantially strengthened the piece.
The story does not mention the alternatives or how this new technology will fit with existing options.
Because the machines are new and expensive, it’s not clear whether the technology is widely available. It would have been helpful if the reporter could have provided basic facts about where the testing and lens development is available.
The story clearly states that the lenses are a new idea.
There is no way to know if the story relied on a press release as the sole source of information.