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Fundamentals for Ophthalmic Technical Personnel.

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    Fundamentals for Ophthalmic Technical Personnel. By Barbara Cassin. Pp 453 £37. Philadelphia: Saunders, 1995. ISBN0-7216-4931-9.

    This is an ambitious book, written by 11 contributors from a variety of ophthalmic backgrounds compiled by Barbara Cassin with Dr Latif M Hamed as the medical content editor. Barbara Cassin was head of the orthoptic/ophthalmic technology training programmes at the University of Florida for 18 years.

    Starting with basic ophthalmic sciences, neuroanatomy, and optics the aim is to provide the technician and technologist a basic knowledge of, and sources of, information about ophthalmic technical skills. These include orthoptics, optometry, photography, perimetry, biometry, and a host of other assessment, recording, and measurement tools needed to provide vital information to the ophthalmologist. It concludes with a very useful section on abnormalities of the eye, eye disorders, and eye diseases and a comprehensive appendix. The beginning of each chapter states the learning objectives for that section and, at the end of the chapter, five multiple choice questions test for knowledge acquired.

    The illustrations have been chosen for their clarity of information and come from a wide variety of credited sources, although they are somewhat cluttered on the pages among the two column text.

    Since this is a reference book, it is somewhat disappointing that the only sequence of fluorescein angiography shown is a normal one, and all the frames of this are reproduced upside down!

    This is an American book, and is aimed at, and succeeds in fulfilling its purpose to support, those working towards approved certification of the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology, such as COA (Certified Ophthalmic Assistant), COT (Certified Ophthalmic Technician), and COMT (Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologist). It is also background reading for the Ophthalmic Photographer’s Society qualifications of CRA (Certified Retinal Angiographer) or COPRA (Certified Ophthalmic Photographer and Retinal Angiographer). At present formal certification for some paramedical professionals is available within the UK—for example, optometrists and orthoptists, but not for others. This is probably due to some extent to the small numbers involved.

    Eventually we may well change to follow the American model of multicertified individuals covered by most of the skills in this publication.

    This book was published in 1995 and as such suffers already from becoming out of date. There are now many changes in our working practices, brought about by the advent of cheaper computerised digitised attachments to our existing equipment as well as totally new dedicated ones, such as scanning laser ophthalmoscopes, which it does not address.

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