Cataracts of the Eye Diagnoses Reliability

Cataracts of the Eye Diagnoses Reliability Discussion Instructions

Cataracts of the eye may be difficult to diagnose in the early stages. In a study to evaluate the reliability of their diagnoses, two physicians each examined the same 1,000 eyes, without knowing the other’s diagnoses. Each physician found 100 eyes with cataracts.

  • Does this mean that the diagnoses are reliable?
    • Explain your position.
  • How does reliability affect screening and treatment programs for a condition?
  • What are the socio-political ramifications of understanding reliability prior to implementing a screening program?

Sample Discussion

Introduction

Cataracts refers to eye disease where by clear lens of the eye becomes clouded impairing the eye vision. Cataract caused visual impairment can lower individual wellbeing and functional status to a level to those with serious medical condition. The acuity of visual decline is insidious and patient may fail to notice for a period of time. In most cases, patients report sudden visual acuity loss despite the likelihood of the condition deteriorating for years. In this regard early detection of cataracts is highly important to ensure early intervention before total and sudden blindness takes place.

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However, cataracts development is painless and may develop with recognition of its symptoms. It is therefore regarded to be hard to diagnose especially at early age1. This paper analysis a case study to determine whether the results disapproves the statement that cataracts of the eye is hard to diagnose at early stages of development. The study focused on assessing the reliability of cataracts diagnosis where by, two physicians were appointed to conduct 1000 eyes examination. Each physician examined same 1000 eyes without knowing of the diagnosis of the other physician. According to the study result, each of them identified 100 eyes with cataracts.

Does this mean that the diagnoses are reliable?

Although the each of the physician identified 100 eyes with cataract, this does not mean that the diagnosis is reliable. Reliability is measured with the consistency of the results. However, the provided results are quite general since it does not state that the eyes identified by one physician were the same eyes identified by the other physician. This is the only statement that can guarantee consistency.

Explain your position.

The results provided results are considerably general to be used to test the diagnosis reliability. Although each physician independently identified 100 eyes with cataract, the result does not say whether they both identified similar eyes. It could be, each physician identified 100 eyes not identified by the other, or some were identified by both while each physician had a number not identified by the other physician. The diagnosis could only be termed reliable if the eyes identified by one physician are identical to eyes identified by the second physician. However, if all or some of specific identified eyes are not the same, then the reliability of the diagnosis would be questionable.

How does reliability affect screening and treatment programs for a condition?

Reliability can be used to measure level of accuracy. This means a reliable screening will demonstrate high level of accuracy and hence it will effectively guide the treatment plan. However, where reliability is low, it can demonstrate wrong or incorrect diagnosis where the results show negative while in actual case are positive or a wrong diagnosis where a different condition is identified from the one a person is suffering from. It can also mean identification of a condition where it does not exist. In all these cases, the resulting medical plan will be wrong and harmful to the patient. Thus, reliability is very important in enhancing.

What are the socio-political ramifications of understanding reliability prior to implementing a screening program?

Understanding reliability makes it possible to understand accuracy of screening program before it is implemented. This will help in saving cost associated with inaccurate screening and negative social consequences associated with wrong diagnosis. Implementing unreliable screening is likely to cause harm to the population through false medical alarms and sometimes lack of early recognition of a condition resulting to future complications or death.  This can be quite destructive to the society, since it will affect the psychological and physical health of many in the society3. Unreliable screening is also likely to demonstrate political governance failure in ensuring public health and safety.  Understanding reliability before program implementation will save the population from negative effects of implementing unreliable screening program.

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