The first thing to say is: “I wish I’d had this book when I was an ST1!”
The number of work-based assessments (WBA) required during ophthalmic specialist training (OST) is a daunting prospect to trainee ophthalmologists, particularly ST1s with no previous experience. Ophthalmic DOPS and OSATS is the first textbook designed to complement the Royal College of Ophthalmologists’ (RCOphth) extensive programme of competency-based WBAs.
Written by a senior ophthalmic specialist trainee, the book benefits from the author’s recent, first-hand experience of completing these assessments. It is divided into four main sections, closely mapping the training syllabus – Clinical Assessment, Patient Investigation, Practical Skills and Surgical Skills. Each section comprises several summaries of individual procedures and skills, for example applanation tonometry and ocular electrophysiology.
The handbook provides a comprehensive and easily accessible summary of the WBAs to be completed during OST. This will certainly enable trainees to be successful in their competency-based assessments. However, certain chapters lack some detail, which is understandable in a handbook of this size and not necessarily a criticism. For example, the section on forced-duction testing does not cover testing of the oblique muscles. Accordingly, readers are advised to use the book as a quick reference or revision aid, rather than their sole source of information.
More senior trainees will also gain from reading this book, particularly in the run-up to the Part 2 FRCOphth examination. As well as being a revision aid for the fundamentals of ophthalmic assessment, investigation and procedures, the handbook also contains two wonderfully useful appendices – firstly Gwyn Samuel Williams summarising the landmark ophthalmic studies of relevance to current practice, and secondly Sam Evans providing an overview of the key guidance provided by British institutions including the RCOphth, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
While Evans deserves great credit for his accurate and informative illustrations, more colour illustrations and photographs would increase the book’s appeal. Sometimes, the line drawings do not quite convey the subtleties and nuances of a particular technique, for example, placing everting sutures. However, this is the personal opinion of this reviewer, and overall the book does not suffer greatly as a consequence.
In summary, this excellent book is of tremendous value to trainee ophthalmologists and it comes highly recommended. It will also be extremely useful to other ophthalmic professionals including nurse practitioners, optometrists and general practitioners with a special interest in ophthalmology.