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By John Ferris. £49.99; Pp 304. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2001. ISBN 0-7506-4937-2.
For quite some time there has been a plethora of problem orientated approach learning texts available in medicine. They are liked enormously because of their practical approach, often excellent illustrations, readability, and because they can be a great text for quick reference and, indispensably, revision for membership examinations. Ophthalmology has also enjoyed similar textbook approaches except that they have been more didactic and nearly always skewed to surgical conditions. John Ferris is to be congratulated in providing a first class book, which I am sure, is eagerly awaited.
I can imagine the book could become essential for the ophthalmology exams as well as being very useful for the MRCP short cases. The book bravely, and in the main successfully, covers the broad spectrum of medical ophthalmology, including neurology. What is exciting is that he brings in systemic features—for example, the hands and face, into ophthalmic learning, further emphasising that ophthalmologists need to look outside the eye. I particularly like the chapters on laboratory tests and radiology, essential for problem oriented approach to learning.
In general, the illustrations are good and the text apt for this stage in learning, although by no means complete, as I am sure each subspecialist may argue unnecessarily. Nevertheless, for exam purposes, I find that this book fulfils its requirements and I would recommend it to all trainees for their exams.