"The dilemma," according to Dr. Jonathan Javitt, Senior Fellow of the Potomac Institute, Professor of Ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins University, and one of the working chairs of the conference, "is how do you prove something [i.e., that untreated glaucoma causes blindness] that everyone knows, that is obvious from animal experiments, and that can never be tested in a clinical trial because of the obvious ethical impossibility. Therefore, the conference focused on new evidence that even the earliest signs of glaucoma damage, which were observed in some clinical trials, are associated with meaningful effects on patient quality of life."
A series of policymakers including a senior medical officer of the Medicare program, a representative of the Veterans Health Administration, and Adm. Donald Arthur, M.D., former Surgeon General of the U.S. Navy, all characterized the USPSTF findings as inconsistent with independent reviews of the scientific record undertaken by their own organizations. Medicare, for instance, examined the science around glaucoma screening and supported the congressional action that instituted glaucoma screening as one of Medicare's first funded prevention programs. The Veterans Administration and the Military both include active screening for glaucoma in their health care systems. Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota called forcefully for the USPSTF to reevaluate its findings. Senator Coleman remarked,
"Not only does needless blindness devastate people and their families, as
Dr. Javitt's work has shown, it has huge adverse cost implications for
federal healthcare programs. Unless we get smart about the use of
targeted prevention programs that keep people healthy, people will
continue to needlessly suffer, and healthcare costs in the United States
will continue to skyrocket."
"Glaucoma costs [the healthcare system] billions of dollars more if it
is not treated effectively, not to ment
|SOURCE The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies|
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