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Biopsy Pathology of the Eye and Ocular Adnexa.

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    Biopsy Pathology of the Eye and Ocular Adnexa. Ed Narsing A Rao. Pp 402. £85. London: Chapman & Hall Medical, 1996. ISBN 0 412 56720 2.

    This multiauthored book has been written to support pathologists and ophthalmologists who are engaged in diagnostic routine ophthalmic pathology and are dealing mainly with biopsy specimens. The chapters are based on the anatomical regions of the eye and at the end of each there is valuable advice on the ways in which specimens can be examined macroscopically, processed, and dealt with at the histological level. Details of fixation, orientation, and plane of section are stressed and there is also a helpful description of the artefacts which are encountered in examination of histological preparations. Modern technology—for example, electron microscopy, in situ hybridisation, polymerase chain reaction, etc, is outlined in chapters 1 and 2, but these techniques are not included in the subsequent text. Each chapter describes normal anatomy before the pathology is considered and this is very useful for the relatively inexperienced person. The systematic chapters describe the common lesions encountered and provide a compact description accompanied by black and white photomicrographs. Useful tables summarise disorders such as the corneal stromal dystrophies and immunohistochemistry of orbital neoplasms.

    As the authors stress, the nature of the material submitted to a laboratory is changing with clinical practice so that the descriptions of the pathological features of epiretinal membranes, subretinal membranes, vitreous samples, and intraocular lenses are of great value.

    There are inevitable weaknesses in a multiauthored textbook and in this book there is unnecessary repetition. For example, chapter 8, which describes the pathology of the lens, reiterates text in previous chapters. The final chapter describes methods of dealing with an enucleated eye and rather surprisingly, at this stage, the reader is faced with histopathological descriptions of the common intraocular tumours of uvea and retina which could have been included in the earlier chapters.

    Another criticism is that the arrangement of the subdivisions within chapters is unconventional and in several chapters neoplasia precedes degenerative and inflammatory diseases, so that the reader is forced to rely on the index. This is particularly a problem in the section on uveal tumours, which is not subdivided by headings.

    Minor criticisms are that some of the illustrations are of less than desirable quality and the lettering is insufficiently bold for clear identification. Also the bibliography is based primarily on the American literature and the majority of the references were published more than 5 years ago.

    None the less, this bench book will be extremely valuable to any diagnostic pathologist who has a limited background and requires a clear, succinct account of the abnormalities he is likely to encounter.

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