Wills Eye Handbook of Ocular Genetics Eds: Levin et al. 2017 307pp., Paperback/softback €84.99/$99.99 ISBN: 9781626232938 Thieme Publishers
The Wills Eye Handbook of Ocular Genetics by Alex V. Levin, Mario Zanolli and Jenina E. Capasso is a new guide to ophthalmic genetic conditions.
The comprehensive book covers genetic diseases related to the eye. The main chapters are devoted to the more common genetic conditions, in context to the different anatomical parts of the eye. Additionally, there are introductory chapters on basic and clinical genetics that are very helpful as a revision for the non-geneticist.
The book structure is clear and well-defined. Each chapter includes an abstract, keywords, key points, an overview of the disease, its molecular genetics and differential diagnosis and, at the end of each chapter, disease-related test questions, each concerning a specific clinical case, for the reader to solve.
The key points in each chapter are a convenient way of getting a quick introduction to the disease; however, the abstract and keywords make reading a bit tedious, as there is a lot of redundancy between the abstract and overview.
Also, there is a subchapter on differential diagnosis for each disease, which for many diseases is quite extensive and sometimes confusing, as there are no cross-references to other chapters in the book. For the book to meet the requirements of a handbook and make for faster and easier reading, it would have been preferable to put the differential diagnoses in tables or another format, and to make cross-references to other chapters, as many of them are discussed in detail elsewhere in the book.
It should also be noted that quite a few of the images are of poor quality and/or disturbed by artefacts (e.g. pp. 42, 51, 72, 73, 139, 210). Also, the figures on pp. 19 and 21 contain faulty pedigrees.
The same is true for the editing which could have been done a bit more rigorously (e.g. on p. 28, the author’s name is found in the heading).
Overall, the book has clear benefits. It is an accessible and comprehensive reference book that illuminates the various genetic ophthalmic conditions. Furthermore, it is very valuable for studying the topic of ophthalmic genetic diseases, as it contains multiple, mostly well-revised, training questions concerning clinical cases. However, as a handbook for quick reference, it is somewhat inconvenient; and finally, the editing could have been done more meticulously.