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Google-based search of common blinding diseases: a reflection of public concerns
  1. Maria Franchina1,
  2. Jason Toniolo2,3,
  3. David A Mackey1,2,
  4. Alex W Hewitt1,2
  1. 1Centre for Ophthalmology and Visual Science, University of Western Australia, Lions Eye Institute, Perth, Australia
  2. 2Centre for Eye Research Australia, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Melbourne, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
  3. 3Monash University, Nursing and Health Sciences, Melbourne, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alex W Hewitt, Centre for Eye Research Australia, Department of Ophthalmology, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, 32 Gisborne Street, East Melbourne, Victoria 3002, Australia; hewitt.alex{at}

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Over the past decade with the spread of the internet, the means by which patients seek health information has dramatically changed. In 2005, an analysis of approximately 6000 adults in the USA revealed that over 60% of internet users searched for health information online, with only approximately 10% using a physician as their initial source of health-related information.1 While the use of online resources to obtain primary health information has some concerning aspects, it also has potential public health benefits. For example, it is possible to detect emerging …

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  • Contributors All authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.