Hung (Silk Road on My Mind, 2015, etc.) offers an ophthalmology guide intended for use by nonspecialist medical practitioners.
Since his retirement, the author has volunteered in developing parts of the world, such as Samoa, where ophthalmologists and other medical specialists are in short supply. His new book is a concise reference manual that’s meant to guide general practitioners through the basics of eye care. He details the necessary equipment (such as a hand flashlight and a Snellen visual acuity chart), tells how to give eye exams, gives an overview of eye anatomy with diagrams and a glossary, and shows how to identity and potentially treat various ailments, including cataracts, glaucoma, and conjunctivitis. Hung makes specific recommendations of antibacterial and other helpful solutions, as well as their estimated cost in developing nations (“A bottle of drops or a tube of ointment of 10% sulfacetamide costs less than a dollar...and is freely available without prescription”). The book also includes numerous, important black-and-white photos and diagrams, including visual acuity charts approved by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, although the author does ask users to refer to color versions online whenever possible. The language throughout Hung’s guide is clear, as in these directions to follow during an eye exam: “Rest your hand on the patient’s forehead and use your thumb to hold his or her lid open.” But the faster that practitioners memorize eye-anatomy terms, the faster they will absorb the book’s contents; for example, the fundus—or the rear of the eye, visible through an ophthalmoscope—is mentioned quickly on page 2, prior to a diagram of the eye’s complete biology on page 27. The glossary is perfectly concise, and whenever the text discusses illnesses in detail, the names of the ailments are bolded. Hung acknowledges that ophthalmology is an expanding field because more people are living longer; he also importantly notes that if children in developing nations allow problems such as strabismus—which points an eye inward or outward from the nose—to go untreated, they may grow up unable to marry or work. More specialists should create guides of this caliber for nonspecialists.
An indispensable ophthalmological volume for any general practitioner’s office.