BOOK REVIEW: The MEEI illustrated manual of ophthalmology (5th edition)

The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary illustrated manual of ophthalmology, fifth edition, is the latest version of the popular ophthalmology textbook by Neil Friedman, Peter Kaiser and associate author Roberto Pineda II.


Since the first edition, the authors have emphasised their intention to provide concise yet broad coverage of a wide variety of ophthalmic disorders in a user-friendly, diagnostic manual. Acknowledging that the earlier fourth edition comprised significant updates, this edition maintains and builds on the authors’ core objective to provide readers with a comprehensive yet readable ophthalmic resource. Chapters are arranged using a logical anatomic approach from lids, lashes and lacrimal system through to the retina and optic nerve. As with the previous edition, the retina and choroid chapter has the greatest coverage.


A systematic framework outlines pathologies for readers, accompanied by stepwise treatment information, including pertinent imaging modalities and clinical investigations. Easily identifiable, colour-coded boxes highlight sections for pathologies management and identification of medical emergencies. These are useful for quick reference when up-to-date treatment information is required in a busy clinical environment. Updated photographs, including fluorescein and indocyanine green angiograms of the retina and choroid, are well placed and printed to a high standard. Some of the images, however, appeared smaller than in previous editions and therefore lacked contrast, making it difficult to discern finer details. This included a small number of black and white photographs that may have been worthy of revision in this edition. Despite the inclusion of some of these older images, legends and photograph mark-ups are concise and point the reader toward key features.


For students and ophthalmologists-in-training, several chapters stand out, including those on the iris and lens, retina and choroid and optic nerve, and an appendix focusing on common clinical tests and up-to-date medication information. Reader experience and portability of the manual has also been enhanced by the accompanying free eBook which is accessible across multiple smart devices. Inkling, the app for the eBook, is widely used and easy to download and navigate. The manual adapts well to the eBook format, with some images even appearing more luminous and detailed. A comprehensive video series on ocular motility disorders is also very helpful.


Overall, the comprehensive nature of this photographic manual and the accompanying text make it an appealing resource not only for students and ophthalmologists-in-training, but also general ophthalmologists, medical physicians and other eye health practitioners.


Dr Simone Freundlich is the current Maurice and Phyllis Paykel corneal and anterior segment clinical research fellow at the University of Auckland.


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