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Book and Software Review
June 2003

Ocular Pathology, 5th ed

Author Affiliations


Arch Ophthalmol. 2003;121(6):924. doi:10.1001/archopht.121.6.924-a

It is a pleasure to review Yanoff and Fine's Ocular Pathology. This standard reference has progressed during the past 27 years from its beginnings in the "golden era" of ophthalmic pathology to the present exciting time of digital technology and molecular biology. It has retained its hallmark features and flavor of a manageable outline with key points. In fact, the first edition was 747 pages, and the fifth edition is 761 pages. This is a remarkable feat, considering the exponentially expanding knowledge base. Most of the more than 1885 illustrations are in color. These illustrations are excellent and have been mined from the archives of the authors as well as cases presented at ophthalmic pathology societies. There are 18 chapters that range from covering concepts, such as surgical and nonsurgical trauma, to topographies, such as the uvea, to specific diseases, such as retinoblastoma. The chapters on basic principles, skin and lacrimal drainage systems, the lens, and diabetes mellitus are particularly useful. The references provided at the end of the chapters are appropriate supplemental resources. I have enjoyed following the evolution of this textbook, from the first edition I used as an ophthalmology resident to its present attractive form, which includes a color-coded outline. An advantage of this book is that the same authors have revised each edition and built on a continuum of purpose, style, and content. This book is now a repository of an important knowledge base. There are new entities in this edition, such as North Carolina macular dystrophy and familial atypical mole and melanoma syndrome. Additionally, the basic pathobiologic mechanisms, including specific mutations, are mentioned for a number of conditions. Clinical pearls, such as using a hair dryer to dissolve anterior chamber cholesterolosis, are scattered throughout the text. Also included are brief introductory notes on difficult concepts, such as invasive keratoacanthoma and the lack of clinical utility of some pathological terms, such as basosquamous carcinoma. Minor criticisms are that a few rare entities are mentioned, whereas some more common conditions are given limited coverage. The captions of a few figures could be redone, and there are occasional differences in interpretation compared with those of some ophthalmic pathologists. These minor points merely illustrate that ophthalmic pathology is not an exact science. The CD-ROM version, available by itself ($249) or with the text ($349), provides the same information as the textbook in a digital format. This standard textbook and CD-ROM should be on the bookshelves of ophthalmologists and pathologists in training as well as those who are practicing. On the recommendation of Morton Smith, MD, who wrote the foreword to the fifth edition, I sat in my comfortable chair and read the book, then put it on my shelf for future reference. I was not disappointed.

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