Crossed Eyes: A New Addition to the Americans With Disabilities Act?

(McSweeney’s, being duly concerned with the limitless, unadulterated flow of information, last year noticed an unsettling problem: every year, many, many, many worthy press releases were being ignored. They were going under-reprinted, under-blurbed, under-bullet-pointed and underused as foundation for spunky lifestyle section featurettes by the nation’s supposedly free media outlets. This series, THE TOP TEN CENSORED PRESS RELEASES OF 1998, aims to bring to you, the victim of said censorship, the information the world’s fatcat info-gatekeepers feels would be too dangerous in your hands. Would that it were. Would that it were.)

(Note: These press releases are real.)

- - -

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 9 /PRNewswire/ — A study presented today at the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Annual Meeting found women with strabismus, a condition in which one eye either turns in toward the nose or out toward the temple, were the least likely to be hired for a management position.

Authors David K. Coats, M.D., Evelyn A. Paysse, M.D., Annette J. Towler, MA, and Robert L. Dipboye, Ph.D. digitally manipulated the photos of two men and two women to create the effect of strabismus, then randomly assigned them to mock job resumes. The resumes were for a job as a marketing manager. The resumes and photos of seven applicants were given to participants who were asked to rank them in order of hiring preference.

Authors found male applicants with normal eyes ranked an average of 5.09, while men with strabismic eyes ranked 5.77 (when eye was turned in) and 4.90 (when eye was turned out). However, women with strabismus ranked 3.50 and 3.64 respectively, while women with normal eyes ranked 5.70.

Based on the study’s findings that strabismus negatively affects a woman’s ability to secure a management position, the authors suggest strabismus should be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, rather than a cosmetic problem.

The mission of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the largest medical association of ophthalmologists, the Eye M.D.s, is to achieve accessible, appropriate, and affordable eye care for the public by serving the educational and professional needs of the ophthalmologist. Visit the Academy’s web site.