The friendly face of ophthalmology

I first came across Eye News whilst waiting for a patient to arrive from far away Solva whilst on call on Tysul Ward, Carmarthen, as an ST1. In my boredom I had fiddled with the slit lamp to ascertain all the various functions, retrieved the refraction kit from a high shelf and worked out my own refractive error to a fairly basic degree and tried to do my own macular OCT scan on the new machine recently arrived. This latter task was particularly difficult as it involved reaching around with my left arm to activate the button and as I was unable to see the panel I clicked fifteen or so times before I gave up. It was with no small amount of alarm I then realised that most of my right visual field was a green blur and that I had bleached my retina in the process. It took some fifteen minutes for my photoreceptors to recover and, with still no sign of the patient, I took down an old battered copy of Kanski from the bookshelf. As I did so, a copy of Eye News, the first one I had ever seen, now unsupported by the great tome, fell to the tabletop and pushed the small Gallipot with the gently sterilising tonometer head into my lap.

My initial concern was that should the patient suddenly arrive I had every appearance of having wet myself as the Gallipot had emptied its cleaning solution over my trousers and on top of this the tonometer head had bounced under the corner cupboard and had now been lost to the world. But after trying in vain to move the accursed cupboard I settled down to read Eye News and I realised that this minor disaster had a silver lining after all. I read the magazine cover to cover and from then on would actively seek out new copies as they came out. The articles were always highly useful and immediately interesting to me as a trainee as the topics covered were clinical and relevant. This contrasted with the college journal Eye which I had received since starting training a few months previously but which my own knowledge was not yet able to unlock. Eye represented the unknowable and fearful side of ophthalmology; long articles about odd presentations of rare genetic diseases, the role of unpronounceable proteins in corneal dystrophies I had never heard of and vascular changes in certain inflammatory conditions with horrifying diagrams detailing how twenty different proteins influenced each other. Eye News, on the other hand, would cheerfully inform me how to do manage glaucoma, how to overcome cataract surgery complications and how to perform perfect tonometry.

As I advanced in my training and attempted to submit my first papers Eye would play the role of strict Victorian disciplinarian, either rejecting my timid advances outright or sending detailed and stinging responses about how my submissions were faulty in pretty much every regard and that other, lesser, journals may be better for my sort. In contrast, I sent an article to Eye News on how to best prepare for Part 1 of the fellowship exam I had recently passed and this was accepted happily. As was an article about how stressful learning cataract surgery was for a newbie.

To me Eye News was the happy friendly welcome to ophthalmology I wanted and to this day if I feel like reading about clinical ophthalmology pearls, I reach for Eye News, and if I feel like reading about plasma microRNA levels in stage 3 retinopathy of prematurity, I reach for Eye. I am proud to have written articles for Eye News and to have been part of the friendly face of ophthalmology. I wish Eye News and the entire Pinpoint Scotland team a very happy 25th anniversary!

Gwyn Samuel Williams

Singleton Hospital, Swansea, UK.

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