We Don't Take Sides
BY JOSEPH T. BARR, OD, MS, FAAO, EDITOR
We routinely publish company-sponsored editorial supplements. Some contain only general information articles; others only product-specific articles that describe the clinical performance of a product by brand. Sometimes these products are compared to others. In a supplement, the perception of comparative information may be different because it's packaged separately and is single-sponsored. We have a strict philosophy on supplements: For an article to appear in a sponsored editorial supplement, it must meet the "would this article meet the standards of publication in a regular monthly issue of Contact Lens Spectrum" criteria.
Readers say they want objective, scientific studies on how one widely used lens or solution compares to another. These are expensive to do properly, and we're unlikely to receive landmark clinical study manuscripts from major research centers. The peer reviewed publications get them first. Often, studies are industry-sponsored.
Contact Lens Spectrum is an editor-reviewed journal: We rely on author honesty, as well as editor, and sometimes other expert, review. However, we often publish reports that summarize previously peer-reviewed work. We provide the good news and bad news as objectively as as we can. When there are competitive data, the company who comes out on the short end has been known to be critical of us. We understand this. We're the messenger. But publishing the message doesn't in any way suggest that we endorse the findings or that we have chosen sides.
In a supplement to the July issue of Contact Lens Spectrum, highly regarded clinicians and researchers wrote about corneal staining associated with some lenses and some solutions. In that supplement I wrote an editorial about the generic topic of lens and solution interactions from a historical perspective, discussing unintended undesirable lens and solution reactions over the past decades. The editorial wasn't intended to take a position on the content of the rest of the supplement.
My actions may be perceived as taking sides and even making an issue larger than it is. Indeed, I believe most practitioners care so little about corneal staining that they typically don't stain soft contact lens wearing eyes; this isn't to say it's not important at all.
I don't take sides in this magazine, its supplements or in Contact Lenses Today. Contact Lens Spectrum is a means for people in the contact lens and related fields to tell their stories. Sometimes that story may seem critical. We're not saying that one side is more valid than another. A supplement is exclusively related to a topic and any editorial, no matter how generic, may be perceived as taking a slant relative to the other articles in the supplement. That's why I'm taking the time today to emphasize our philosophy here at Contact Lens Spectrum: We don't endorse products and we don't take sides.
Contact Lens Spectrum, Issue: September 2004