Amar Agarwal, MD and Athiya Agarwal, MD.
Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers, New Delhi, India, 2009.
ISBN: 978-0-07-163231-7, $64.95.
Scope: This is a 257-page multiauthored book that covers the fundamentals of neuro-ophthalmology. Bearing in mind that neuro-ophthalmology is a complex subspecialty that is not easily understood by many, this book has been written to address the subject in a simple and concise manner. With contributions from several authors, Amar Agarwal and Athiya Agarwal have accomplished the task of providing a fairly comprehensive overview of neuro-ophthalmology. They have taken enormous effort to make the subject accessible to the reader.
The book is divided into 19 chapters, each dealing with a specific topic in neuro-ophthalmology. Each chapter has plenty of colorful schematic diagrams and tables. A few clinical photographs have been added. Salient features of relevant neuro-ophthalmology diseases and pathways have been covered in each chapter. The first 2 chapters deal with supranuclear pathways and supranuclear eye movement disorders. These chapters highlight the fundamentals of the complex supranuclear pathways. The subsequent chapters deal with common topics in neuro-ophthalmology such as nystagmus, congenital optic nerve anomalies, and ocular myopathies.
An entire chapter is dedicated to imaging in neuro-ophthalmology. This chapter covers the basics of neuroradiology in a concise manner. As cited in the foreword the book can serve as a quick reference guide for a wide spectrum of readers such as medical students, ophthalmology and neurology residents, and practicing ophthalmologists.
Strengths: The authors have taken great care in presenting the topics in a simple and easily understood style; yet complicated pathways and diseases have also been well covered. This presentation allows medical students and residents to do self-directed learning of neuro-ophthalmology. The book has only 257 pages, and most of the chapters are short, thus allowing one to read the book in a fairly short period of time.
Weakness: The organization of the chapters is bizarre. They are not arranged in the order of the afferent or efferent system. In addition, there are glaring typographical errors that could have been avoided with careful review of the text. The style of presentation adopted by each author seems to be different. Hence, there is lack of uniformity in the book. Although the illustrations and figures appear simplified, in reality they are complex and often do not clearly convey the message. The references are also very limited in most chapters. The authors have mainly used their own textbook of ophthalmology as a reference and have omitted some important topics such as nonarteritic ischemic optic neuropathy.
Recommended Audience: This book would serve as a good introductory text for medical students as well as ophthalmology and neurology residents. Post-residency physicians preparing for recertification courses could use this book for quick review. Practicing ophthalmologists and neurologists who do not see neuro-ophthalmology patients on an everyday basis may also find this book useful.
Critical Appraisal: The authors have been successful in accomplishing their goal of simplifying the subject matter. Because the book is short and focused, it will attract many student readers. It may also serve as a valuable adjunct to a comprehensive textbook of neuro-ophthalmology.
Padmaja Sudhakar, MD
Kellogg Eye Center
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan