Letter: Blind eye

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The Independent Online
GLAUCOMA destroys sight by degrees. You do not know you have it until your sight is damaged. The Government's mean- mindedness has and will delay detection of the disease until major damage has been done to the eyesight of the nation, causing inefficiency at work, danger on our roads, increase in benefit payments and a reduction in the visual enjoyment of life for many.

The Government states that the figure for referrals to hospitals dropped after it began charging for eye-tests, so it must therefore plead guilty to damaging the sight of people who would have otherwise been referred before it was too late.

But to use referrals to eye hospitals as the control statistic will continue to damage the sight of hundreds of thousands of others because there is a lead and lag effect. Any statistician could predict that referrals are bound to increase until they reflect the incidence of the disease. The Conservatives use statistics for public relations. They should use them for government, and not just to retain power.

Chris Hartley

Beddgelert, Gwynedd

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