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One of the main aims of the junior ophthalmologist in training is to purchase a single textbook which will provide them with stimulating reading and the armamentarium to pass the dreaded postgraduate examination. Most of us have embarked on this journey full of hope that there must be someone, somewhere, who knows exactly what we need from a textbook in order to progress effortlessly through ophthalmology training.
This journey has proved almost invariably fruitless, as generally excellent books have failed to meet our requirements in one or two important areas.
Richard Parrish II has edited this textbook with an authorship that reads like a who's who of international ophthalmology. The text is divided up into fairly standard chapters covering most aspects of general ophthalmology. I found the first section on diagnostic examination and testing to be both imaginative and informative. Just the right amount of information is given on subjects such as electrophysiology, ultrasound, and corneal topography. Newer techniques such as optical coherence tomography and scanning laser technology are also discussed. The main body of the text devotes a large section to anterior segment disease and consequently the space devoted to other areas is limited. There is an excellent discussion of cataract surgery and of the different types of lens implant. The text is well referenced and important papers of the past few years are discussed at length. The section on intraocular inflammation is a bit limited and there is no significant space given to therapies involved in the management of these patients. I thought a chapter on the indications and limitations of systemic immunosuppression may have added more balance to this section.
As an atlas this book excels with beautiful illustrations and a well laid out presentation. It is very difficult to find any fault with what will surely become a classic ophthalmic reference in time. Is this the single textbook to answer all the junior ophthalmologists' prayers? Almost, but not quite.