Is online information about dry eye disease harmful to patients?
Although the majority of websites available online with information about complementary and alternative therapies pose little risk to patients, product bias and lack of referencing are potential problems, according to a study.
Sandvik score was used to evaluate ownership, authorship, source, currency, interactivity, navigability, and balance of 8 websites describing complementary and alternative therapies for dry eye disease. A risk scoring system was used to assess the potential risk of the websites to patients.
More than half were scored as “satisfactory” and none as “poor,” with an overall mean risk score of 0.9. The authors reported that 1 website discouraged the use of conventional medicine, but no website advised not following clinicians’ advice.
Overall, 12 therapies were listed throughout the websites, and 32 therapies in the comment section of the websites. The most common therapies were acupuncture, vitamin supplements, homeopathic eye drops, castor oil, coconut oil, and chamomile eyewash.
Rapata MEJ, Meyer JJ. Evaluation of Online Information on Complementary and Alternative Treatments for Dry Eye Disease. Optom Vis Sci. 2021;98(4):355-361. doi: 10.1097/OPX.0000000000001675. PMID: 33852552.