Many thanks to those who spotted the misleading and scare-mongering article from the Daily Mail this week.
Working with the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, we today succeeded in getting the headline: "Girl, 5, to have her eye REMOVED and put back in place by surgeons to fix squint" changed to a less sensational one: "Girl, 5, to have her eye muscles shortened by surgeons to fix her squint."
We have also asked them to publish this jointly agreed statement:
Professor Carrie MacEwen, president of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, said, “Surgery to correct squints is extremely common. There are possible complications or risk of infection with every surgery, but squint surgery is a low risk procedure and carried out under general anaesthetic.”
She told Mailonline, “It involves adjusting the small muscles on the coat of the eye (the sclera) to help change the position of the eyes and straighten them. The eye is never removed from the socket to carry out this procedure.” Professor MacEwen added the surgery is the most common eye operation carried out on children. However, it is less common now as first-line treatments include glasses and eye patches. www.rcophth.ac.uk
Anita Mccallum, a spokesperson for the British & Irish Orthoptic Society said, “The health professionals involved in referring, diagnosing, treating and correcting squints are Orthoptists (who will diagnose and manage) and Ophthalmologists who perform the surgery. Optometrists who practise in the community can also diagnose squint and advise on treatment. Often the discovery of the condition starts with a referral from health visitors and GPs who will advise parents on the need to see a specialist.”
Ms Mccallum added, “If squints are not corrected with surgery they can lead to permanent eye problems such as loss of binocular (two eyed) vision and can hamper social interactions and self-esteem, so it is important that people come forward for prompt attention. Treatment includes glasses for lazy vision (amblyopia) before surgery is performed.” www.orthoptics.org.uk
Thanks again for everyone's vigilance - together we can change misinformation and misleading messages in the media.