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Optometry & Vision Science:
Book Reviews

Myopia and Nearwork

McBee, Ryan

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Author Information

Whitman College

Walla Walla, Washington

Marjorie Jeandervin

The Ohio State University College of Optometry

Columbus, Ohio

Myopia and Nearwork Mark Rosenfield and Bernard Gilmartin.Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann. 1998. Pages: 220. Price $65.00. ISBN 0-7506-3784-6.

Although a definite association exists between myopia and nearwork, research to date has not suggested what that relation is. Myopia and Nearwork does not try to answer the question as to the magnitude of the association; rather, it informs the reader of the association and poses questions for further research. The authors envision optometrists and ophthalmologists using this book to provide background information for use in educating the newly myopic patient. In addition, the authors hope to encourage young scientists to embark on new research in nearwork and myopia. The book contains contributions from eleven of the leading myopia researchers in vision science. Each chapter in the book is unique and is written by a different author or authors. FIGURE

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The first chapter defines myopia and gives insight into the socioeconomic and public health significance of myopia. Both the practitioner and the average person can appreciate this useful approach. Chapters 2 through 7 deal with a myriad of topics, including the prevalence of myopia, animal models of myopia, as well as vergence and myopia. Chapter 2 covers the prevalence of myopia, followed by a review of the literature pertaining to the demographic characteristics of the myopic population. Chapter 3 begins to explore the structural changes of the eye that occur in the presence of myopia. A description of the animal models of emmetropization and form deprivation is provided in chapter 4. Accommodation and studies related to its association with refractive error are reviewed in chapter 5. Chapter 6 provides a review of the autonomic innervation to the ciliary muscle and pharmacological studies targeting this area in an attempt to retard or prevent myopia. Chapter 7 is a review of the studies that have looked at vergence and its relation to myopia. Chapters 8 and 9 assess preventive measures for myopia, quantify myopia as an adaptation to a near-point stress model, and examine how this model relates to clinical management. These two chapters set the stage for future research. For example, chapter 8 discusses the idea that nearwork and myopia are not related completely to the use-abuse theory; rather, the two are associated based on stressful exposure to the life of an industrialized society. Chapter 9, on the other hand, describes the functional methods available for myopia control. This information is presented in an easily digestible way.

In the final chapter, the authors bring the story together to draw conclusions from the evidence provided by each of the contributors. This was a very enjoyable way to conclude the book. It is easy for a layperson to understand and brought together the ideas behind the individual chapters.

Overall, this text fulfills its goals. We found all of the chapters to be well written and informative. The authors were able to make a layperson understand various topics in the debate between myopia and nearwork, while at the same time providing valuable knowledge to those more trained in vision sciences.

As new researchers in the field of nearwork and myopia, this book provided us with valuable background knowledge that will aid us in our attempts to answer this age-old question. At the same time, this text will serve as a good reference for the more experienced practitioners in the field.

© 2000 American Academy of Optometry

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