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Retinal Pharmacotherapeutics is volume 55 in the ‘Developments in Ophthalmology’ series released by Karger. As the name of the series suggests it aims to explore current and future developments in retinal therapeutics.

The book itself is split into six main sections:

  1. Basic sciences in the retina
  2. Animal models and routes for retinal drug delivery
  3. Retinal disease amenable to pharmacotherapy
  4. Drugs and mechanism in retinal disease
  5. Pharmacotherapy and surgery
  6. The last words.

Each section consists of multiple chapters, and each chapter begins with an abstract so you know what to expect. What’s nice is that the chapters are succinct and to the point. I was wary initially as I thought I might be drowning in a lot of molecular science, however, I’m happy to report I was wrong.
The title of the book can make this seem like it is a very specialised text for retinal specialists,

however, at least half the book (sections 1, 3 and 4) are actually pretty useful for trainees and generalists. It covers the relevant anatomy and physiology for the drugs it is going to talk about and you can fly through a chapter fairly quickly.

It has nice summaries of the evolution of treatment for diseases such as macular degeneration and also covers treatments of other not so common conditions such as macular telangiectasia.
There’s the odd table and diagram which can help break up the text and there are more pictures in the clinical sections, e.g. posterior uveitis. There are some helpful summary tables interspersed throughout as well.

The section which was interesting but is at risk of getting outdated very quickly is section 2. Each chapter essentially outlines a study which was carried out. It’s a nice easy way to read about current research as opposed to carrying out a search on Pubmed, for example, but may soon be out of date.

The last section ‘The last words’ covers issues like regulation and agents on the horizon, but there’s also a nice little bit on key concepts in evidence-based medicine and pharmacoeconomics. Again, in terms of future treatments it’s at risk of becoming dated much more quickly compared to other clinical textbooks.

All in all, this textbook delivers more than what might be expected. At full price, it might not be worth buying your own copy, but if you can borrow from a colleague or the library I would say it’s worth a read.

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Zaria Ali

Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, Manchester, UK.

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