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N.S. Paruk, S.I. Ahmad, P.P. Lee; Alternative Medicine, Glaucoma and the Internet . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2003;44(13):4371.
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Purpose: The prevalence of the use of alternative medical treatments for glaucoma has been recently investigated.1 The purpose of our study is to evaluate information concerning alternative medicine and glaucoma on the Internet. Methods: Using the key phrases "alternative medicine" and "glaucoma", we searched the Internet using six of the most popular search engines (AOL®, Ask Jeeves®, Google®, MSN®, Overture®, and Yahoo®). The top ten web sites generated by each search engine were analyzed for types of alternative medical treatments for glaucoma. Results: Our search revealed 21 unique websites. Of these sites, 71% (15/21) had information on alternative medical treatments for glaucoma. The most frequently cited treatment was herbal remedies which appeared on 87% of web sites. Other alternative treatments mentioned include megavitamin therapy (60%), Exercise (53%), Special Diets (53%), Meditation/Stress Management (40%), Trace Metals (33%) and Acupuncture (27%). The remainder of treatments (allergen, caffeine and smoking avoidance, chiropractic medicine, shark cartilage, and sunglasses) appeared on just one or two sites. There were only two web sites by the Glaucoma Research Foundation and National Library of Medicine that had information cautioning patients about potentially harmful side effects and largely unproven benefit of alternative medical treatments. Conclusions: There is a significant amount of information about alternative medicine and glaucoma on the Internet. However, most sites failed to inform the public of potential side effects of these non-conventional treatments. Efforts should be made to educate the general public on the potential hazards of seeking alternative medical treatments without the advice of health care providers. In addition, more scientific web sites with improved search engine strategies about alternative medicine and glaucoma need to be developed. 1Rhee et al, Comp. and Alternative Medicine for Glaucoma, Surv. of Ophthalmology 46:1, 43-55.
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