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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Husam Ansari, M.D., Ph.D.(University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine)
Description: This is an excellent primer for both beginner and experienced cataract surgeons.
Purpose: It is intended as a resource for those learning cataract surgery, which the book correctly points out is "arduous and arguably the most difficult surgery to learn during residency," and then to remain a reference for the surgeon once competence has been achieved. It absolutely meets these worthy goals.
Audience: The Harvard Medical School Intensive Cataract Surgical Training Course, an annual course exclusively for second year ophthalmology residents is the basis for the book. The authors, who are the course instructors, are not only expert cataract surgeons, but also are known to be excellent instructors of cataract surgery. This gives the book a highly credible voice and assures that it never loses sight of its audience: the beginner cataract surgeon.
Features: The book dissects cataract surgery into its individual steps and devotes a short and clear chapter to each of these steps. There are the expected chapters on the preoperative evaluation, the incision, the capsulorrhexis, and post-operative complications. However, one of the best aspects of the book is that it devotes entire chapters to less glamorous but nevertheless important parts of cataract surgery, topics for which good summaries of evidence-based and experience-based rationales are often hard to find, such as preoperative eye drops, intraoperative and postoperative medications, anesthesia, hydrodissection, and intraocular lens calculations. The chapters are written in a style and language that is accessible to beginning surgeons, yet remains interesting to experienced surgeons. The chapters are also sufficiently short and well indexed so that specifics of a particular step can be easily identified and reviewed.
Assessment: I highly recommend this as an outstanding adjunct to any surgical curriculum. I had the good fortune of attending the first Harvard Medical School Intensive Cataract Surgical Training Course in 2005, and I remember thinking, "These guys should make this into a book!" I am glad to see that they have.