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Ophthalmology is by definition a visual subject and this is evidenced by the fact that some of the best selling books in ophthalmology are colour atlases. As someone who always preferred to read comics at school rather than books I therefore looked forward to reading through this new atlas of glaucoma. The two editors have assembled a well known list of contributors to write chapters in this atlas under three broad headings: the basics of glaucoma, clinical entities, and treatment. A range of topics is covered from aqueous humour dynamics and ocular blood flow, through to various aspects of treatment.
As one would expect from an atlas there are many large, high quality colour illustrations. However, the format does vary and inevitably some chapters have rather more text than one would expect for a colour atlas. I very much enjoyed some of the colour drawings, and I felt the illustrations for the subject of aqueous humour dynamics help to bring a normally dry subject to life. The colour illustrations are surprisingly effective in helping to explain some of the subjects such as tonography. I also liked the chapter on angle closure glaucoma with accompanying high frequency ultrasound photographs to back up the anatomical concepts. The chapter by Fellman on gonioscopy was also particularly good because of the accompanying line drawings and the pictures of dynamic gonioscopy, viewing the same drainage angles with different examination techniques. Finally, it was nice to browse through the rest of the book looking at the illustrations and accompanying text, as there were some very good illustrations that I had not previously seen in other books or publications.
The book does suffer slightly from the fact that it has multiple authors, are therefore formatting of the chapters is rather variable, which the authors acknowledge in the foreword. Some of the chapters have, for an atlas, rather too much text and too few pictures. In the chapter on filtration surgery, all of the illustrations are in black and white, which rather lets the book down, compared with the excellent colour illustrations in the rest of the book. There were also one or two irritating features like incomplete references and mislabelled illustrations. However, these are minor details and should be easily remedied in the next edition.
In conclusion, this is a book I would certainly recommend to trainees in ophthalmology and those with an interest in glaucoma because of some of the excellent illustrations, which are a good aid to learning.