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Read Original Story

FDA OKs Implantable Telescope to Aid Vision

Rating

3 Star

FDA OKs Implantable Telescope to Aid Vision

Our Review Summary

This story called the technology a "breakthrough."  In contrast, the AP story quoted the same researcher emphasizing "We’re not giving people back 20-year-old eyes."  Tone and framing are important in health care stories.  This one relied a bit too much on the enthusiasm that came from a company news release. 

 

Why This Matters

Since the story was posted a day later than AP’s, we don’t understand why it had to rely on quotes from a company news release.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

There was no discussion of cost as there was in the competing AP story.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

The story adequately quantified the benefits seen in the study that led to FDA approval.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Satisfactory

The story did quantify the harms:  "the IMT is large enough to pose a threat to the cornea of the eye, leading to extensive loss of cells essential for maintaining the clarity of the cornea. In the study, 10 eyes had unresolved corneal edema, or swelling, caused by trapped fluid. Five such cases resulted in corneal transplants. The FDA says the five-year risk for unresolved corneal edema, corneal decompensation, and corneal transplant are 9.2%, 6.8%, and 4.1%, respectively."

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Satisfactory

The story did an adequate job explaining the study that led to FDA approval.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Not Satisfactory

There was a form of disease-mongering in that the story gave the big picture of 8 million Americans with macular degeneration, 2 million of whom have had significant loss of vision.  But the story didn’t give an estimate of the number of people who might benefit from this approach – which is less than 8 million or less than 2 million.  As the competing AP story explained, "But it’s only for a subset of the nearly 2 million Americans with advanced macular degeneration… Those 75 and older, with a certain degree of vision loss, who also need a cataract removed." So the 8 million figure is almost irrelevant in this discussion.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Not Satisfactory

No independent experts were quoted – only quotes from a company news release.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Satisfactory

The story explained that "Despite advancements in therapies for macular degeneration, ‘retina specialists still did not have a treatment for the many wet and dry AMD patients who progressed to end-stage disease.’ "

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

The focus of the story was on FDA approval of the device.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

The novelty of this approach and the void it would fill in treatment is explained.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Not Satisfactory

At least the story acknowledged that much of its information came from news releases, but we don’t understand why it was necessary to rely on news releases.  The story was posted a day later than AP’s.  Why no independent interviewing?

Total Score: 6 of 10 Satisfactory

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