Letters on police tunnel vision and our deteriorating eyesight.
Blindspots on the Rex Haig case, children’s eyesight and the conflict in Israel.
SHAMEFUL CASE HISTORY
I want to thank Mike White for his brilliant report ( Rex Haig: Unfinished Business, August). Rex Haig was my foster brother. And it is truly “unfinished business”. [Former detective sergeant] Brian Hewitt got it so wrong, in my opinion, and he knew it – but he was so far into the case, he had to make it stick. That’s when all the shady dealings began. Rex wasn’t a ruthless man at all, but others involved in this case were.
There are too many cases in which the police get it wrong, and something needs to change. The Criminal Cases Review Commission needs to come into play as soon as possible, as I don’t feel confident the police will change. Tunnel vision, and the desire of some individuals to climb to the top of the police force, gets in the way.
It is sad my brother passed away so soon as he was working on getting his name cleared. Hopefully, Rex’s case can be used as an example of our flawed justice system and make positive changes for the future. SANDRA BREESE MOSGIEL
BLIND AS A BAT
As a “specky four- eyes” myself, I was interested to read Jenny Nicholls’ piece about skyrocketing rates of myopia, the possible cause, and the alarming price of spectacles: The Coming Age of Magoo (August).
To pay more than $100 each for plain lenses is, no doubt, daylight robbery. Why doesn’t anyone know how much lenses cost to make? A poverty-stricken friend recently showed me a cheap online website that might be of interest: Selectspecs.com. The only downside is you can’t try on the glasses first. Although, as Nicholls says she can’t see her face while performing this operation, perhaps it doesn’t matter.
It is odd that fans of alternative medicine don’t see spectacles as intrusively “medical” devices. It wasn’t always thus. After magnifying lenses and spectacles were invented in the 13th century, quacks spurned them as “unnatural”.
In his 1666 book The Perfect Oculist, Robert Turner, a London doctor, advised turtle’s blood and the powdered head of a bat for a squint. For weak eyesight (myopia), he recommended a necklace of cow’s eyeballs. For some reason, this inexpensive remedy has since faded into obscurity. GWYNETH KEIRNAN WAIHEKE
As an optometrist working for Specsavers, with a special interest in children’s eye health, I was very interested in your article [ The Coming Age of Magoo] highlighting the problem of increasing rates of myopia among children.
As you point out, the increasing trend of children requiring correction for myopia is becoming a problem not just overseas but also in New Zealand. Clinically, I see this trend evident every day, with one in four children requiring vision correction. Nicholls writes about the effect of increased indoors time and studies linking the lack of light exposure to increasing myopia. This is obviously a key factor, but we shouldn’t discount the impact of increased “near activities”, such as reading and digital devices held close to our eyes.
The worrying thing is that parents are often stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to encouraging their kids to get outdoors and experience good amounts of light exposure, because most of their education is centred around studies indoors with near activities. With children, the risk is that even high levels of myopia can go undetected as they often find it difficult to communicate vision problems, or simply don’t understand that their vision is different to others’. This has huge implications for their performance in class – also their social behaviour and confidence in sports.
It’s concerning that a recent study conducted on behalf of Specsavers discovered that up to 58% of New Zealand children under the age of 16 have never had an eye exam. A sight test before school and every two years thereafter is now free to everyone under the age of 16 at Specsavers; it can identify vision issues before key learning milestones are even attempted.
I can’t stress enough the importance of a comprehensive sight test before children reach the age of eight, when interventions can be taken to alleviate, or even reverse