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January 2001

Radiation CataractsWhat Have We Learned?

Arch Ophthalmol. 2001;119(1):119. doi:10-1001/pubs.Ophthalmol.-ISSN-0003-9950-119-1-eed00026

IN AN IDEAL STATE, the experiences of the past should serve as a prescription for the future. The acquisition of medical knowledge follows a logical sequence. It is founded in clinical observations; analysis to understand the relationships underlying the experience; scientific examination of the elements identified as comprising the experience; evaluation and synthesis of the evidence to explain the observations; and finally, after this process has been completed, appropriate treatment options can be formulated. Gittinger's article, "Radiation and Cataracts: Cause or Cure?"1 presents an account of the early experience of applying a new technology to treat ocular conditions. From a historical perspective, the article presents a message that has clinical relevance even today. It is an example of the haphazard, uncritical application of a therapeutic modality.

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