Dr. Smith is a charter member of the Refractive Surgery Alliance (RSA), who has a written a formal letter to the CDC calling for a retraction of the recent article about the “burden of keratitis”. The RSA’s primary mission is education about refractive surgery, and contact lenses are an important immediate step for many who are waiting for their eyes to reach ocular maturity. Contact lenses should be used carefully, and the public needs accurate information to do so.
Unfortunately, the recent CDC report on keratitis was written in a way that caused the media and the public to overestimate the risks of contact lenses, and to attribute all keratitis to contact lens misuse. This was not what the data said – only 25% of the “clinical visits” reported in the billing data used the code that related the visit to contact lenses (ICD 9 code 371.82). The report’s careful parsing of words, disproportionate discussion on contact lens risks, questionable statistical analysis and selective use of references (dating back to 1991) created an alarming impression about contact lens risks that was not supported by the data.
The impact of the CDC report has been significant. Literally dozens of major media outlets ran with the story with headlines such as Contact Lenses to Blame for a Million Eye Infections Each Year.
Watch this short video to hear more about Dr. Smith’s concerns:
The letter and recent press release can be viewed on the In-the-News section of the RSA website.