Surveying the Scene: Results of the OEPF Online COVID-Related Conditions Survey
Eric Hussey, OD • Spokane, Washington Randy Schulman, MS, OD • Trumbull, Connecticut
“Survey says?” So said the host of the television game show “Family Feud” when he needed surveyed answers for a show question to contestants. In the medical world, surveys have their limitations and certainly can be subject to manipulation. However, expert opinion is also considered valid in evaluating signs and symptoms. Expert opinions may be useful as long as we acknowledge that experts can flock together just as any crowd does. Respecting the words of Gustave Le Bon is appropriate: decisions made by a crowd, including people “of distinction, but specialists in different walks of life, are not sensibly superior to the decisions that would be adopted by a gathering of imbeciles.”
Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) are considered the gold standard for clinical medical research. However, even RCTs have their limitations. Expense and timeliness are two limitations.3 When looking at eye and vision issues associated with COVID-19, timeliness is a paramount consideration in any investigation. Expense is a fact of life, limiting what gets done and who does the inquiry; that is, those researchers who can find funding do the research. Objectivity is the goal. For a survey, the study relies on the respondents to provide their own individual objectivity. Just the choice of questions for the survey involves subjectivity and confirmation bias that needs acknowledgment. Perhaps by broadly casting a survey across country borders, the effect—or the bias—of the crowd might be limited. A survey asking for personal experiences from a variety of doctors across the globe might provide insight into what is seen in private clinic offices for symptoms of both the COVID virus and COVID vaccinations during this pandemic time.
Nutrition and Lifestyle Considerations During the COVID-19Pandemic
Randy Schulman, MS, OD • Trumbull, Connecticut
The ongoing pandemic challenges our sense of control and equanimity. Despite the current environment and unknowns associated with COVID-19, there are many things that can be done to boost the immune system and help protect against the virus. Good nutrition, supplementation, and healthy lifestyle habits can support the immune system, reduce inflammation, and prevent infection. Proper nutrients reduce susceptibility to infection and disease progression and reduce long-term complications from COVID-19. Several of the vitamins and nutrients that support immune function include vitamins A, C, E, D, B6, B12, folate, zinc, iron, selenium, magnesium, and copper, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to proper nutrition, other suggestions for optimizing health, supporting overall immune function, and resisting infection include regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and relaxation.