When asked to review The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Manual of Ophthalmology, I was delighted. After all, the original edition has been a respected ophthalmic reference for a number of years and I was intrigued by this new “mobile” edition and wanted to learn more. I'm certainly glad I accepted the assignment. For what I discovered was a marvelous resource of clinical information that will prove extremely useful to all, regardless of expertise, involved in primary care.
This book is a collaborative effort by faculty, fellows, and residents from some of our most respected training institutions. Among these are the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, affiliated with Harvard Medical School, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, Cole Eye Institute, and Stanford University. The goals were to provide a concise comprehensive manual encompassing a wide variety of ophthalmic disorders and present the material in a novel accessible form. It is this latter feature that sets this book apart from similar reference sources. Powered by Skyscape, this “mobile” version makes the entire contents available for download on Blackberry, Palm OS, Windows Mobile Pocket PC, Windows Mobile Smartphone, iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad devices. Not the most tech savvy individual, I was concerned that I might have trouble learning to use this new format. I did have some initial difficulty, apparently due to the failure of the publisher to provide the complete serial number necessary for product registration and activation. Skyscape technical support quickly came to my rescue, diagnosed the problem, and soon had me up and running. For those who might also encounter registration difficulties, it is useful knowing that numbers 0, 1, and 2 are not used in Skyscape serial numbers. Active Internet connection is needed only at the time of installation. Once installed, the Internet is no longer necessary to access material. Required memory space is 31.1 MB. Using only my iPhone, I've been able to navigate smoothly through the entire contents all the while appreciating the advantage of instant availability of this reference material. Rather than being a technical challenge, the entire “mobile” experience has been easy and actually enjoyable.
For those who enjoy holding a book, the “Mass” can still be viewed using this more conventional method. Whatever the technique, I believe readers will find this to be a user-friendly manual. Chapters are organized according to ocular anatomical structures. There are sections on glaucoma diagnosis and management, refractive procedures, sudden vision loss, OCT, MRI, CT, and fundus autofluorescence. The appendix adds tables and guidelines on diagnosing ocular symptoms, ophthalmic medications updates, and eponyms and, finally, ending with Spanish phrases used during an eye examination. Designed for clinical relevance, discussion of each ocular disorder typically includes definition, description, etiology, epidemiology, symptoms, signs, differential diagnosis, management, and prognosis. When appropriate, laboratory tests and advised consultations are added. Treatment regimens are detailed with specific drugs and dosages. Quick reference guides provide basic to detailed information on frequently and infrequently encountered disorders. Figures and images were of good quality and clear even when viewed using a mobile device.
As a clinician who is also involved in teaching, I know the challenges of transferring academic and research material into an understandable clinically applicable form. Written by clinician-educators for practicing clinicians, I found the descriptions and explanations both clear and concise. This is a credit to the authors.
The “Mass” is rated as being “appropriate for ophthalmology.” Clearly, there are areas beyond the interest or scope of optometry. But it is equally clear that much of the contents of this book benefit both professions and improve patient care. By making us all more astute observers, important ophthalmic clues are less likely to be overlooked.
When I began my review, I asked myself several questions. Would the information be of interest to the average ophthalmic practitioner? Is the material current and easy to understand? Is the format user-friendly? The answer to each of these questions is an emphatic yes! This is a comprehensive, technically accurate, clinically relevant, and instantly accessible reference aid. How fortunate we are to practice our art at a time when technology has placed, literally, at our fingertips such a wonderful source of information to assist us in the care of our patients. What more could one ask? I hope you can tell I like this book.