There is a tremendous amount of web information about ocular topics and common ophthalmic diseases. Some of the web sites are excellent, and trying to duplicate them would be redundant. Descriptions and links to a cross section of these venues are included. Characteristics used in choosing which sites to include in my list are as follows:
1. Education should be a goal for all medical web sites, and getting the information was easier at some venues than at others. Many excellent sites are commercial, and of necessity advertising in one form or another may be required. However the intrusiveness of this varied with some venues having few ads, whereas in others ads occupied more than half the page.
2. Robust privacy and sponsorship disclosure standards are important. For general medical web sites HONcode or its equivalent is an excellent standard.
3. If technical information is given it should reflect current best practices. Individuals giving advice should have a short biography giving degrees, affiliations, and qualifications. There must be an emphasis on evidence based medicine as opposed to testimonials and platitudes. The latter is fine and can be reassuring, however basing decisions on the reported experiences of one individual can be dangerous.
4. Even the largest sites cannot provide all the useful information that is available, so links to other sources are valuable. Finding other venues which suite one's goals is easier when a short synopsis of the site is included.
A User's Guide to Finding and Evaluating Health Information on the Web can be found on the Medical Library Association web site. If you are seriously searching for sound medical information, this page is useful whether you are a relative novice to the web or an expert user of the Internet. In this guidebook, there is a Getting Started section and a section on Content Evaluation Guidelines . They list their "Top Ten" general medical web sites, and also catalogue sites they consider excellent sources of information on cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
No matter how well a web site presents information it can not reliably replace a visit to a physician as symptoms of different conditions often overlap one another and can be confusing. It is not impossible to make the correct diagnosis over the phone or by reading descriptions of conditions on the web, however a face to face exam by a competent physician is necessary for confirmation, monitoring and specific prevention strategies. Please see our User Agreement and Disclaimer if you have not done so already.
Sites are categorized by those offering general information about ophthalmology, and those sites that deal with a specific ocular topic.
General Eye Information Sites
General information from the the American Academy of Ophthalmology website is at Eye Smart. In their public information area there is basic information regarding the normal eye, safety and preventive strategies, and descriptions of common ocular disorders. For some conditions the information is extensive and their section on cataracts has videos of the surgery.
The National Eye Institute is a valuable site with information for both physicians and patients. Highlights include a resource section which offers a variety of brochures and multi-media educational materials covering common ocular conditions. Many of these educational materials are available by mail gratis, or can be viewed online. A health information Disease and Disorder page has links to a variety of articles dealing with common ocular conditions. Other sections feature full-text papers pertinent to ophthalmology and statistical information on a variety of ocular diseases. .
For a number of ophthalmic conditions and topics I have written a short description. Some of these ophthalmic subjects are very well covered by web resources and in these situations I have descriptions of links that offer both basic and more extensive technical information.