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The cover of The Eye Book states that it is written for anyone needing to wear glasses and for healthcare professionals looking for an overview of eye health. As a non-ophthalmic clinician working in an eye hospital I hoped this short book would give me greater knowledge to do my job and, more importantly, to impress my colleagues without too much effort on my part. The Eye Book is an eclectic mix of information with topics covered ranging from detailed anatomy and physiology to facts about famous people and their sight problems.
The book starts with a clear and comprehensive introduction to the structure and function of the eye and the mechanism of vision. Although medical terms are included, Grierson uses simple language and he usefully illustrates some of harder to understand concepts with everyday comparisons. Eye care through the ages is summarised and the role of modern ophthalmologists and associated healthcare professionals described. Grierson includes an interesting short debate regarding the extension of healthcare professional roles in ophthalmology, although this is unfortunately slightly dated considering the recent rapid rise in nurse and optometrist led services.
Surprisingly, only a small part of the book is given over to common eye diseases and treatments. Again Grierson gives a clear and easily comprehensible account; however, it is disappointing that practical advice on coping with low or reduced vision is not included as it could be assumed that many people buying this book would be looking for this type of information. Instead a considerable portion of the book is taken up with accounts of famous people and their eye problems. Although very interesting to read, the usefulness of its inclusion is debatable, especially when considering the likely audience. The book concludes on a slightly political note with a discussion of world blindness and the issue of training overseas ophthalmologists in the United Kingdom where they may not receive an experience appropriate to their local population. A brief overview of future developments in eye care is outlined and an extensive glossary, further reading list, and addresses of useful agencies complete the volume.
I found the book an interesting and enjoyable read. It will probably appeal more to healthcare professionals interested in a career in ophthalmology than members of the general public who may require more practical information on eye conditions. I am still waiting for my colleagues to comment on the sudden improvement in my ophthalmic knowledge; however, I was able to correctly answer that Nelson was blind in his right eye at the hospital quiz night!