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Corneal Topography, Principles and Applications
  1. COLIN M KIRKNESS

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    Corneal Topography, Principles and Applications. By Melanie C Corbet, Emmanuel S Rosen, David P S O'Brart. Pp 230. £80. London: BMJ Books, 1999. ISBN 0-7279-1226-7

    This is a well presented and easily assimilated book. It has high quality colour reproduction and the examples of the various videokeratoscopic maps are very clear if at times larger than they need be solely for the sake of clarity.

    The book follows a logical progress from basic principles through the normal cornea and contact lens practice to the corneal appearance in disease and after corneal surgery. Each chapter is extensively, even zealously, referenced and I suspect that this is more than the average reader wants.

    For the general reader or for someone who wants to get an overview of topography and topographical systems this book is probably as useful as any other than I have seen. It is readable and many will like the highlights in text boxes and tables. This is good communication.

    There are, however, frustrating omissions. It is decidedly uncritical. I looked in vain for a realistic discussion on the imperfections and difficulties encountered in videokeratoscopy—for example, the smoothing that takes place over the central cornea. There is no discussion about the manufacturers' algorithms—admittedly the manufacturers are secretive on this point but most readers would I think be interested in understanding better how the pretty isodioptric maps are produced. It would have been helpful, too, if some of the information that is not routinely given by the manufacturers, but is available, could have been discussed. For instance how can the user extract data from his device to permit statistical analysis?

    The authors also fail like many before them to justify the need for expensive topographical devices. Reading the test it is difficult to get away from the impression that computer assisted topography is nothing more than pretty pictures and phenomenology. I would like to have seen the chapter on contact lenses expanded.

    The book is like a meal entirely consisting of canapés, very enjoyable but leaving one unsatisfied and wanting more.

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