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Ida and the Eye—a Woman in British Ophthalmology

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    Ida and the Eye—a Woman in British Ophthalmology. Ed Elizabeth Imlay Buckley, Dorothy Usher Potter. Pp 322; £18. Speldhurst, Kent: Parapress, 1998. ISBN1-898594-63-5.

    The editors of Ida Mann’s autobiography, Elizabeth Buckley and Dorothy Potter, have undertaken a task of a true devotion. Through their long standing respect and admiration for this giant of 20th century ophthalmology, the authors have successfully brought together an excellent book which reviews the somewhat meandering autobiography which Ida Mann herself wrote.

    For those who are interested it is an extremely fascinating account of individuals who helped to form Ida Mann’s career from her early days at Moorfields and Oxford onto her period in Australia and the continuing research that she did there on Aboriginal demographics.

    The autobiography itself provides a unique insight into the enormous energy, but even more so into the approach, which Ida Mann took to her research work. Undoubtedly, these were driven by a great interest in her topics. In addition, she paid great attention to detail and this is highlighted in the book itself with some idiosyncratic but highly enjoyable personal references and even quotations which one must assume represent the spoken word.

    There is also some rare insight into the politics involved in the emergence of early 20th century UK ophthalmology, with special reference to the difficulties and the advantages that women may have in developing medical careers—particularly in the field of ophthalmology.

    Overall, this is a very enjoyable read and it can be recommended to all those interested in the history of ophthalmology.