This relatively small book provides a thorough overview of the history of corneal transplantation, an update on the anatomy and physiology of the cornea with particular reference to the components essential to keratoplasty procedures, also graft preparation and storage. There are chapters on the role that the National Corneal Registries play in monitoring activity and outcome of corneal transplant procedures thus providing data to support the economic benefits of keratoplasty.
As visual rehabilitation is one of the primary goals for corneal transplantation, instrumentation and techniques developed to ensure the donor and recipient surface interface is optimised are discussed in the chapters on mechanical microkeratomes and femtosecond lasers in keratoplasty. An overview of the current knowledge on the immunology of keratoplasty and postoperative management in the diagnosis and treatment of graft rejection has also been included.
Penetrating keratoplasty, endothelial keratoplasty, anterior lamellar surgery and limbal stem-cell transplantation are covered, allowing the non-corneal specialist to become better acquainted with the myriad of progressive surgical refinements that have been introduced. These procedures are often referred to by the potentially confusing, ever increasing, list of acronyms: PK, ALK, EK, PLK, DALK, SALK, DLEK, DSEK, DSAEK, DMEK, etc.
There are 42 contributors to the text, most of them based in Europe, in particular Italy and Germany. With 17 chapters and a five-page index, it allows for easy searching and cross-referencing each topic of interest. The chapters are generally about 10 pages long, each one being organised, with an abstract, list of keywords, the body of the text with subheadings and a useful list of references. The reference list is particularly extensive for the chapter entitled ‘Outcomes: Recurrence of Disease’.
There are relatively few illustrations, these include a few images of corneal histology sections, some schematic sketches to show the principle of selected surgical procedures and a limited selection of anterior eye photographs, whilst about a third of the chapters include only text.
As the editor states in the preface, “The textbook is aimed at presenting an updated review of the new techniques and to assist fellows and corneal surgeons in their advice and selection of patients for the best surgical procedure considering benefits and risks.” I would also strongly recommend this book to those optometrists who are managing patients’ optical correction pre-and post-surgery, and may be involved in therapeutic contact lens fitting or intraocular lens power calculations for some of these cases.
Understandably, for such a rapidly developing field one might consider that a book on this topic is soon out-of-date, however, for its size this book is comprehensive and fascinating to read despite the dearth of illustrations. A well-deserved addition to the departmental library, but finances may only stretch to the paperback version, which is considerably cheaper.