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Clear Corneal Lens Surgery
  1. COLIN M KIRKNESS

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    Clear Corneal Lens Surgery. Ed I Howard Fine. Pp 374; £100. New Jersey: Slack Incorporated, 1999. ISBN1-55642-381-0.

    This book will, no doubt, sell well. It has a well known editor and many prominent contributors. The book has a high quality feel to it but is let down by the very poor photographic reproduction of many of the photographs taken from preoperative videos. James Davidson (chapter 12) can produce reasonable quality stills. Why can't the other contributors? Tables and figures, taken from lectures, may look great on screen, but look tacky when incorporated into text. There is clearly no “house style” since some of the chapters have attractive line drawing figures in the text. The lack of style is irritating in a subject where presentation is so obviously important. Equally irritating is the needless repetition of some figures.

    I found the title a little misleading since several of the chapters, particularly those towards the end of the book, really have very little to do with clear corneal incisions. Only a relatively small portion of the book actually deals with the incision itself. For the most part what you have is a series of descriptions of “How I do phaco” by a series of well known cataract surgeons, which is fine. Of course, there are lots of other books along the same lines and another would probably not look so attractive. What would be a catchy title for another of the same? Clear Corneal Lens Surgery? Am I being cynical?

    Clear corneal cataract incisions were not practised very widely in the USA before phacoemulsification but many British and quite a few European readers will have been entirely at home with an extracapsular extraction through a clear corneal incision and will have been familiar with its many advantages over a corneoscleral incision. Thus, moving from a scleral tunnel to the cornea as they settled into phaco techniques was a natural and welcome step. I thought the chapter on historical background was superficial and lacking the detail which subsequent chapters contained. Expansion could have made a much more fluent introduction to the book and would have helped put it in better context.

    Reading most of the chapters in the main part of the book I found it difficult to believe I was not reading a formalised version of the authors' talks on their favourite method of performing cataract surgery. There was a lot of description and opinion but not very much in the way of explanation or justification. This is not the sort of book that one could dip into, and it certainly is not the sort of “cookbook” that could take a beginner through a procedure. Someone trying to identify a technique that would suit his or her personal style would have to work quite hard to get what was wanted. The information is there but there is a great deal of repetition in the process.

    In summary, dear reader, if you are the sort of person who likes to read of hear about lots of nice cataract surgeons do their cataracts, then this is just the sort of book that you'll like.

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