Book review




Media Type: Handbook/textbook


Synopsis: Alastair Denniston and Philip Murray have followed up the first edition of the Oxford Handbook of Ophthalmology with an excellent, very thorough handbook that is useful for ophthalmologists at any stage in their training or career. The book has many contributing authors, all of whom are based in the UK.


Target Audience: All ophthalmologists


Review: The book is divided into 25 chapters in total. As other handbooks do, the Oxford Handbook of Ophthalmology covers the standard topics for the diagnosis and management of acute emergencies and outpatient ophthalmologic care. The standard topics are organized very nicely, with inserts, charts and tables to help guide the ophthalmologist. For example, the “Peripheral ulcerative keratitis” section lays out the causes, differential diagnosis, evaluation and treatment as expected, but its attention to detail is demonstrated by a separate table that displays other corneal complications that can be seen with rheumatoid arthritis, a common systemic etiology for PUK. Unique to this more sophisticated handbook are the various chapters that are not found in other handbooks, including evidence-based ophthalmology (including critical appraisal of current literature, statistical analysis), eponymous syndromes, web resources for ophthalmologists, refractive ophthalmology (with a thorough table of all of the surgical refractive procedures available) and perioperative management (including pre-operative assessment and life support algorithms).


The content of the book is guided by the authors’ expertise and standard of care as well as current evidenced-based ophthalmology, i.e., intravitreal anti-VEGF therapy for exudative age-related macular degeneration. It is concise and the presented information is easy to comprehend. Although the content is geared towards the UK ophthalmologist (i.e., separate section on the minimum driving standards in the UK; medicines available internationally) the core clinical material is valuable and pertinent to all ophthalmologists.


Criticisms of this book are few. The font size is rather small and the ink color is a shade of gray, making the contrast less than ideal. As a result, it is a little more time-consuming to read through this reference book than I would like. Also, there is a paucity of illustrations, whereas visual examples can be exceedingly beneficial to the ophthalmologist-in-training. But, this is designed to be a referenced handbook, and it is filled with excellent information that covers the gamut of ophthalmology.


In summary, the Oxford Handbook of Ophthalmology is a very useful reference handbook, unique and extremely comprehensive. I can only hope that an American edition will soon follow to provide us the same depth of insight that this version serves its UK physicians with.

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Jan 17, 2017 | Posted by in OPHTHALMOLOGY | Comments Off on Book review
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