Monday, March 1, 2001 at 8:06 AM ET | Written by: L. E. Leguire Ph.D., MBA | Ohio Lions Eye Research Foundation
You know what really makes me made?
Well, first I have to digress and tell you what I do for a living.
I’m a special kind of doctor who works at Columbus Children’s Hospital. I’m an Eye Researcher, AKA Scientist, and I also run a diagnostic lab for blinding eye disease and neurological problems. I’m also the Visual-Scientific Advisor for the Ohio LIONS Eye Research Foundation.
The current topic was brought-up when I saw a child who happened to have a serious, blinding eye disease. The mother and I were talking about something, I’m not really sure what, but she raised the idea that there was actually a cure for her child’s eye disease but that drug companies and scientists were withholding the cure because “they” would end-up losing money if the cure was made available! I wish I could say that this was the first time that I’ve heard such a thing but, in reality, I hear it too often. And this is what makes me mad.
Imagine dedicating your whole life to searching for treatments and cures and to increase knowledge about eye disease. Late nights and weekends blur into one as you and your dedicated staff of students, doctors, technicians and patients work through research for a cure. Because you’re on a salary, you don’t make more by staying late. You don’t make a penny more by working weekends. It actually costs you money to work long hours and to work weekends. Now imagine a person saying to you that all you’re doing is a big, fat lie…and you do it all for the money!
Imagine that you’re an Ophthalmologist or Optometrist and you have to break the news to parents that their child has an eye disease that leads to blindness. You answer questions and more questions from the unset parents and then they ask about treatment? There is no treatment, the eye doctor explains. There is no cure. There is nothing we can do. How long does “Sara” have before she goes blind, the parents ask? And the questions continue … and no one likes the answers. Crying is a big part of breaking bad news, so there are plenty of tissues in the eye doctor’s office to go around. Sometimes the eye doctor and nurses need tissues, too.
If there was a cure for any of the nontreatable and blinding eye disease that I see every day, I would shout it from the highest mountain. I would type it into cyber space and be on the internet until my fingers were callused and numb. And, if I ever had the honor and distinction of finding a cure for a blinding eye disease…I would cry with delite.
But one thing is certain: Nothing in this whole wide World could ever prevent me, or any of the thousands of other dedicated scientists and eye doctors, from telling the truth about the cure.
That’s why it makes me so mad and sad.
There are no conspiracies. There are no lies or secret cures. No one is holding back a cure so us scientists and the drug companies can make lots of money. It just doesn’t work that way.
There are, however, many very difficult problems. We know so little about so much. This is why research is so important. Cures don’t just happen! It takes hard work and long hours to make microscopic progress. We can’t do it alone. We need your help and the help of every lions member and LIONS club. Get involved and get informed!
Remember the motto of the Ohio LIONS Eye Research Foundation – Research Today. Vision Tomorrow.