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Statistical approaches in published ophthalmic clinical science papers: a comparison to statistical practice two decades ago
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  • Published on:
    Collaborative Efforts for Improving Statistical Practice of Ophthalmic Data
    • Gui-shuang Ying, Associate Professor University of Pennsylvania
    • Other Contributors:
      • Harrison G Zhang, Undergraduate Student

    We thank Dr. Bunce et al for their interest in our paper.1 We would like to apologize for not mentioning the Statistics Notes Series2-12 from the UK Ophthalmology Research Section of the NIHR Statistics group. Given that our paper’s purpose is to evaluate whether the correlated eye data were analyzed properly in published ophthalmic clinical science papers, we did not cite these papers because we think most of them serve as introductions of general statistical methods instead of specific statistical methods for correlated eye data.

    We agree these Statistics Notes Series are very helpful to the vision research community to improve the statistical analysis and interpretation of ophthalmic data. We applaud the UK Ophthalmology Research Section of the NIHR Statistics group for their collaborative efforts in improving the quality of statistics for ophthalmic research through these series of publications and workshops. Similarly in the USA, we have been promoting the proper analysis of correlated eye data through tutorial papers13-14 and the ARVO short course. We believe all these efforts will lead to improvement in the statistical practice for ophthalmic data.

    We also agree that there are varying degrees of misuse of statistical methods in analyzing correlated eye data. Ignoring the inter-eye correlation when data from both eyes are analyzed is very bad practice as it can lead to the invalid conclusion, while analyzing correlated ocular data at person-level does...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Better collaboration to optimise research
    • Catey Bunce, Reader in Medical Statistics King's College London
    • Other Contributors:
      • Irene Stratton, Senior Statistician
      • Ana Quartilho, Senior Statistician
      • Joanna Moschandreas, Senior Medical Statistician
      • John Lawrenson, Professor of Clinical Visual Science
      • Richard Wormald, Consultant Ophthalmologist
      • David Garway-Heath, Professor of Opthalmology for Glaucoma & Allied Studies

    We read with great interest the recent paper by Zhang and Ying exploring statistical approaches in published ophthalmic clinical science papers.1 We very much agree with the main conclusion drawn by the authors that collaborative efforts should be made in the vision research community to improve statistical practise for ocular data. In this vein, however, we were disappointed not to see reference to the Statistics Notes Series that has been published in this very journal. These have been written with a view to tackling some of the more prevalent statistical issues within ophthalmology and we would encourage readers to make use of these.2- 12. Within the UK this view that there needs to be greater collaboration in the vision research community has led to the formation of the Ophthalmology Research Section of the NIHR Statistics group which is championing cross- professional collaboration and active discussion in relation to statistical issues. It is always important when reviewing misuse of statistics in biomedical research to distinguish between misuse that leads to distorted or incorrect results and those methods which do not fully use data to maximum potential given that this loss of information might be viewed as unethical. In this regard we find the results from Zhang et al pleasing in that the proportion of papers which analysed at the level of the individual because of the nature of the observation rose from 15.2 % in 1995 to 50 % in 2017. A finding which is...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.