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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Naureen A Mirza-George, MD (University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine)
Description: The book is exactly what it claims to be: a practical guide that reviews relevant and current thoughts in pediatric ophthalmology. It provides concise but thorough chapters on all major topics in the field. Unique features include a "Core Messages" section at the start of each chapter, and a bulleted "Take Home Pearls" section at the end. The format is easily readable and the chapters progress in a very logical manner.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide enough depth and perspective in each chapter to be considered core reading for trainees as well as practitioners. It does not strive to be an exhaustive reference with lists of differential diagnoses and comprehensive treatment options. The authors' goal is to write a book that pediatric-oriented ophthalmologists will want to read cover-to-cover. There are numerous books on pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus, but none I have come across are as practical as this one. It is indeed designed to be read in its entirety for its easy to absorb information. It is comprehensive, without being overwhelming.
Audience: The book targets trainees and practitioners. Practitioners in particular fields will likely find some chapters basic, but overall, there is valuable information for all types of ophthalmologists and non-ophthalmologists. The author is a well known, respected, credible authority in pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus.
Features: The book covers everything from examination techniques to genetics of disease to general management strategies. What I appreciated most is the attention to practical aspects of practicing pediatric ophthalmology. In particular, I found the chapters on refractive error in children, orthoptic evaluation, low vision, and glaucoma very helpful. These are topics that are discussed in a much more theoretical manner in most books, rather than the practical way used in this book. While the "Take Home Pearls" sections were valuable, "Core Messages" sections were too general/vague and obvious. The book would have benefited from more and better images and illustrations. Ophthalmology is a visual field and many of the topics would have been better explained with accompanying photographs. This was especially evident in the lack of surgical photographs, given that ophthalmology is a surgical field. A discussion of reoperations in strabismus, including deciding about surgical dosing would have been helpful in this otherwise very practical book. Surgical numbers tables, perhaps in an appendix, would also have been welcome.
Assessment: This is a readable, practical, and extremely helpful book on a wide variety of pediatric ophthalmology topics. It can easily be read cover-to-cover to get a comprehensive overview of an entire field. I am sure that it is one that I will be using for years to come. It is not as exhaustive as other pediatric ophthalmology books (Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, 3rd edition, Taylor and Hoyt (Elsevier, 2005)), but gives more information than pocket handbooks (Kenneth Wright's series of Springer handbooks). This is a very unique book, mostly because of its practical approach, and thus has unique value on the practitioner's bookshelf.