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Excimer Lasers in Ophthalmology. Principles and Practice

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    Excimer Lasers in Ophthalmology. Principles and Practice. By Charles N I J McGhee, Hugh R Taylor, David S Gartry, Stephen L Trokel. Pp 472. £115.00. London: Martin Dunitz, 1997. ISBN 1-85317-253-7.

    Refractive surgery is a rapidly expanding area in ophthalmology, partly due to the introduction of excimer laser which was a huge step forward and is now well established. Many ophthalmologists have not taken a major interest and the vacuum has been filled by non-scientific and commercial groups. Excimer laser surgery has been performed for nearly seven years in humans and it is ironic that most of the initial work has come from Europe and not from the USA; it is only recently, as a result of approval by the American Food and Drugs Administration, that this technology has become widely available in the USA. However, much of the publicity has been negative and there has been a real danger that this exciting emerging technology will not advance and gain respectability.

    It is for this reason that a comprehensive summary in a methodical clear and concise fashion is welcome at this time. The authors have assembled an impressive array of leading ophthalmologists to write the chapters in this book. They have chosen very practical relevant topics and have written them in a clear and concise fashion throughout; in fact, it would appear that the editorial decision in this book has been an emphasis on practical points at the expense of a pure scientific approach. In this regard the book is timely and is current and provides updated scientific and clinical knowledge and outlines all the common complications and their management.

    There are a number of chapters worth commenting on: firstly, in terms of the knowledge they convey; in particular, the development of excimer laser corneal surgery and the beam tissue interaction giving the practising ophthalmologist a very comprehensive and clear knowledge of the mechanism of excimer laser. The chapter on Lasik is current and provides a practical knowledge on the technique and the results in this expanding area of refractive surgery. The chapter on surgical and laser correction of hypermetropia is also well written and balanced. The authors have also covered the main laser systems that are currently in use.

    The textbook is exceptionally well referenced and in this regard there are references taken from the European Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery before it got recognition from Index Medicus. It suggests an exceptional level of research and detail. The illustrations are well placed and are very good quality and enhance this book. There are many reasons why I am impressed. I believe it is one of the best textbooks to date that has been published on this subject. I would strongly recommend it to all ophthalmologists and in particular to those who perform excimer laser and I would also recommend it as an excellent textbook for ophthalmologists in training who are anxious to learn both the basics and the practical aspects of this emerging technology.

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