In the preface to this second edition, editor Dr. Ming Wang lays out the rationale for publishing a new edition as being a resurgence of interest in the study of corneal topography driven by an emphasis on refractive surgery and new topography measurement technologies. It is important to note this rationale because it defines the emphasis of the text. This is not a detailed exposition of the underlying principles and theoretical basis of corneal topography measurement, although there is some consideration of these issues. Rather, it is directed to the practical application of these measurements, particularly those from new systems, and their relevance in refractive surgical practice.
Overall, the book is well produced and wide reaching in scope. There are 60 contributors, more than 450 figures, and numerous references. The content is divided into three sections, each with a number of chapters, and with some chapters having multiple parts contributed by different groups of authors. Section I is brief and covers basic topography principles. Section II, which accounts for more than one-half of the book, describes current topography systems under headings of Placido disk-based systems, tomography, and combined topography and wavefront systems. Within each of these, different authors provide detailed presentations on specific commercial systems. Section III then discusses topographic applications, including corneal disease, a brief look at contact lens fitting, and topography-guided custom ablations. The inclusion of case studies in some presentations helps illustrate the application of these technologies.
These topics have been presented comprehensively and by knowledgeable contributors (some of whom are consultants or employees of the manufacturers of the systems). It is almost inevitable with so many contributors that there will be differences in style and some overlap, but these are not major drawbacks. My major concern with the approach adopted here is that it is very uncritical. For each of the systems, the authors provide information that is specific to that system, with little critique. Furthermore, these descriptions do not follow a fixed format for easy comparisons. Although these are useful as individual descriptions of the operation of each system, comparative information on their performance, advantages, and limitations would be of value to many readers.
In summary, this is a comprehensive text that takes a very practical approach to the applications of corneal topography rather than concentrating on the underlying principles. It would seem to be designed to provide clinicians with knowledge of specific commercial systems and their application in practice, and it fulfills that purpose.
Leo G. Carney