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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Nicholas N. Volpe, MD (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: This is a hybrid between a textbook and a clinical guide that aims to bridge the knowledge gap between general pediatric practitioners and specialized pediatric ophthalmologists in the care of children with eye disease. It is organized in an easy-to-use fashion with numerous pictures and clinical algorithms to make it useful for everyday use.
Purpose: The aim is to create an essential pediatric ophthalmology book that would be useful to both general pediatric practitioners and pediatric ophthalmologists. There is definitely a role for a book of this type because, as the author states, there are books that are too complex for the former and too basic for the latter. This book does an excellent job of filling that gap, but it is more useful overall for general practitioners than for specialists.
Audience: It is intended for practitioners, both general pediatricians (and others who take care of children in a primary care role) and pediatric ophthalmologists. The editor has completed training in both pediatrics and pediatric ophthalmology, and is a professor of ophthalmology. The book does work well as a quick reference guide for specialists, but it appears to be more geared toward the primary care practitioner, providing a good mix of basic knowledge, clinical reasoning, and illustrations to help them better understand entities that they don't encounter on a day-to-day basis. It also would be a useful adjunct to those in training such as pediatric or ophthalmology residents and medical students rotating through pediatric ophthalmology.
Features: The book covers a wide range of topics well organized into sections centered on the basic foundation of knowledge in pediatric eye exams, triaging based on primary symptoms, and a breakdown of specific clinical entities (the last part in more of a textbook fashion). With the intended audience in mind, the first two parts of the book are very useful for those in training and general practitioners. The latter half is a good reference as well, but is probably not as in-depth as specialists would need for their practice. The illustrations play a key role, since a good amount of ophthalmology is based on observation through examination. The clinical algorithms are of particular benefit since they are a quick reference for clinicians to sort through their diagnostic thinking and figure out what they might be missing, what else needs to be done, and when to seek further assistance.
Assessment: There is a definite role for this book in the care of children with eye disease. It seems to be most useful for those in training with an interest in pediatric ophthalmology and for general pediatric practitioners who would like to better understand and incorporate pediatric ophthalmology into their daily practice. The illustrations and algorithms are particularly helpful in this regard. In terms of working as a reference for specialists in the field, this book does not meet the criteria for being the "one" to have on the shelf when there is more in-depth information and assistance available from such books as Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, 2nd edition, Wright and Spiegel (Springer, 2003) or Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, 3rd edition, Taylor and Hoyt (Elsevier, 2005).