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Eye’s lament: How dry I am


2 Star

Eye’s lament: How dry I am

Our Review Summary

The story describes the condition of dry eyes, including what it is, how it may affect people, who is affected, and what treatments might be tried (although the information on available treatments is cursory). The story misses an opportunity to develop treatment information. Story limitations include no clinical trial data on specific treatments, including whether any of the treatments mentioned are effective (other than they “help”) and whether one is any better than another. Info is also lacking on what exactly is in the prescription eye-drops, other than to say an “anti-inflammatory” medication. Readers are told how often one drug must be taken “for maximum effect,” but we’re not told what that maximum effect may be. Is it complete relief? Partial? Readers should also be aware that long-term safety of the prescription eye drops may be unknown if the duration of studies used for FDA approval were of short duration (a few months). Other limitations include lack of information about side effects, including short- or long-term side effects, and treatment costs. Last, the prescription eye drop treatment strategy is endorsed by a physician with ties to the manufacturer without attempt to obtain more objective input. If asked, many geriatricians would likely acknowledge that dry eyes is a common and bothersome symptom that can be easily managed and controlled with over-the-counter moisturizing drops. Yet, this story has elements of disease-mongering, telling readers about almost 5-million Americans over age 50 with symptoms ranging “from annoying to life-altering.” How many have simply annoying symptoms and may need nothing more than over-the-counter drops? No mention is made of the costs of any of the named approaches.


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

Not Satisfactory

No evidence, including quantifiable benefits. The story does not

state what any of the treatments actually do or how they help.

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

Not Satisfactory

No discussion of benefits or harms.

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

Not Satisfactory

There simply is no evidence provided.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Not Satisfactory

This story has elements of disease-mongering because the condition is not serious, although it may be

troublesome to those who have it. We have no idea whether taking prescription eye drops helps any more than any other


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


When talking about

treatment, the article quotes a physician who recommends treatment with prescription eye drops and discloses that she is also

funded by the maker of prescription eye drops. Two other sources are interviewed.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

The story lists existing treatments for dry eyes, but no mention is made of possible advantages or disadvantages

of options.

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


Story states treatments are available over-the-counter or as


Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Satisfactory

No mention of whether any of

the multiple treatments listed at the end of the story are new.

Total Score: 3 of 10 Satisfactory


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