|Year : 1955 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 45-46
Refraction and body-growth
G S Pendse
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Pendse G S. Refraction and body-growth. Indian J Ophthalmol 1955;3:45-6
Indian Medical Research Memoirs, Memoir No. 38. By G. S. Pendse. Published Under the Authority and for The Indian Council of Medical Research, (New Delhi) Pg. 94.
An inquiry on the subject of the relation of the refractive condition of the eye to body-growth was started under the auspices of the Indian Council of Medical Research, and the author has put all the collected data in the form of a monograph.
Average Indian ophthalmologists are not acquainted with the "Statistical Method", for recording statistical observations. Dr. Pendse is at pains to explain in no less than 28 pages out of a 100 the "Statistical Method" partly because without it the significance of the data would be lost.
Although such a long plea for the "Statistical Method" seems unjustified for a small work, it makes a good lecture on "What is required of a proper research worker", and is a good summary of a few books on Statistical research and how to do it. There is no doubt that he has practised what he has preached. It seems that the author has attempted to write a rather longish explanation of the Statistical Method in the pious hope that it will be followed by his uninitiated colleagues in future work on similar lines. The attempt though laudable is superfluous for those who may know the statistical method it is unnecessary; for those who do not know anything about it, it lacks clarity and sufficient examplification to be of instructional value. Still those who wish to collect significant statistical data would act wise by going through this book, so that they may realise what is expected of them.
The subject that he has chosen is clearly important because it throws some light on the burning question of visual standards and myopia. He divides his myopia into (1) physiological (or variational) upto 6D, (2) extra-variational, or over 6D without ophthalmoscopic changes, (3) degenerative myopia. He gradually builds up a strong case that the trend towards myopia is influenced by bodygrowth in height which in turn is due to several factors, the main one being the influence of puberty, which is interesting and perhaps therapeutically important. In his arguments he has approached this problem by studying the development of myopia in endogamous groups of advanced and backward communities, in both the sexes, between the ages of 11 and 18, and has compared the same with the height and weight factor in each case.
The probable effects of age, sex, education, body-growth and puberty on the development and progress of myopic changes are dealt with in separate chapters.
The statistical approach is accurate, and his conclusions scientific and sober, but there are definite loop-holes in this study. In the first place there are simple mistakes in additions and subtractions e.g. Table 27 where there are no less than 4 mistakes, and in table 25 where the author gives the percentages of refraction below 0, he takes into calculation the large number that has reached 0 i.e. emmetropia. Although these do not appreciably alter the conclusions arrived at by the author, it is a pity that such mistakes reduce the confidence in the painstaking work that has been done.
Secondly, although in certain instances the data collected is too little to draw certain conclusions, a fact to which the author himself is alive. These conclusions guide the way and leave the door open for further investigations over a prolonged period.
Thirdly personal bias in the conduct of this inquiry could have been minimised had the age-recording, and the community to which the subject belongs been unknown to the refractionist.
Then again the inclusion of cases of astigmatism (the higher degrees) and anisometropia is questionable, for we know astigmatism is a curvature error and anisometropia often a pathological condition.
Fifthly it is not clear whether the vision in all the subjects (except in degenerative myopes) was normal or not, as the cases will be comparable only with normal vision.
Sixthly it is not clear whether proper corrective glasses were worn or not by patients who have been observed over a longer period. Since the myopic trend was found to be more in backward classes, as claimed by the author. Such a clarification is essential as such a class of patients are generally reluctant to wear corrective glasses, partly because of the cost.
A word may be said about the poor proof-reading. Little mistakes like that unnecessarily react against the author. As regards the style of writing it is good though not quite simple at times and sometimes it becomes difficult to comprehend some hard-to-understand facts. There are avoidable repetetions and the subject could have been rendered much more effective by shortening the matter at several places. However the arrangement of matter and the gradual flow from one convincing fact to another sustains the interest.
In conclusion the author must be heartily congratulated in the choice of his subject, the laborious way in which lie has set about the task, the application of the "Statistical Method" for analysis, and the conclusions of far-reaching importance and interest which he has reached and which he wisely confesses should be confirmed and followed up by a more prolonged study.
It is not a book for the reader who has a casual interest in the subject of refraction, but it is definitely a book for the teacher, the research-worker and one who is interested in visual standards. Even they will have to become first conversant with the "Statistical Method".