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Excimer Laser Surgery for Corneal Disorders

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    Excimer Laser Surgery for Corneal Disorders. By Peter S Hersh, Michael D Wagoner. Pp 161, DM198, $79. New York: Thieme, 1998. ISBN 3-13-107961-4.

    Potentially there is a great need for a good book with illustrations on the subject of phototherapeutic keratectomy for corneal disorders. Much has been written on the use of excimer laser for refractive surgery but much less has been written on it for therapeutic reasons. Yet this has been an important area for laser and with many indications and has provided significant benefit for patients reducing the need for both superficial and full thickness corneal grafting.

    The authors set out in this book to try to address these issues. It is made up of seven chapters. Firstly, there is an introduction to excimer laser technology, followed by case selection and surgical decision making, then they outline techniques of excimer laser with clinical results and complications. They then provide refractive and topographic complications and considerations and, finally, the last chapter deals with phototherapeutic keratectomy for complications of excimer laser refractive surgery.

    When writing a book there are probably two main audiences. First of all, the book is written purely for those who have a large grasp of the subject and who are subspecialists in the area and a book in that regard would tend to be written in much more detail and in a less simplistic fashion and will assume that the specialist will have an advanced understanding. Then, there is the book written for the average ophthalmologist, those who do not have this advanced or specialised knowledge or technique, but practise in the subject. This is a book clearly written for those with advanced knowledge of the subject and, while it has good intentions and the chapter headings are well chosen, it is a difficult book to read as it is written in a rather confused fashion and mainly with the assumption that the readers have an in-depth knowledge of the use of laser in corneal disorders. This, in my view, is a pity because this book is extremely well illustrated with superb photographs of various corneal disorders. It also has exceptional illustrations and is well referenced. It deals with the whole subject in 161 pages, which is very reasonable, and this in itself should encourage laser surgeons to buy and read it. However, the average laser surgeon will be very disappointed and, in my view, will find this book rather difficult to follow as it is poorly written in terms of simplicity. Perhaps the more advanced laser surgeon will find this book more readable and more valuable.

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