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Like Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather and The Beatles’ Abbey Road, Gass’ Atlas of Macular Diseases is a classic.

As classics, each is considered among the best-known examples of the respective genre. Classics are rare, so when I was offered the chance to review the most recent edition of Gass’ classic, I gladly accepted. Now that I have it in my possession, I can barely put it down.

The Fifth Edition Gass’ Atlas of Macular Diseases (Elsevier Saunders) is a two-volume, 1300-page tome that is loaded with high-quality photographs collected over many decades. Updated by Dr Anita Agarwal and her co-author Dr Arun D Singh, the atlas is 50 per cent images and 50 per cent supporting text.

It is both a pleasure to read and, due to its clinical classification system, a useful reference text. For example, chapter titles such as “Folds of the Choroid & Retina” allow the reader to refer to a single chapter when faced with a diagnostic challenge.

The foreword notes that the hallmark of the teaching style of John Donald MacIntyre Gass was his “simple yet detailed description of clinical observations”. This style has been preserved in the current edition of the atlas, making it accessible to those well-versed in retinal disease as well as those whose primary interests lie elsewhere in ophthalmology.

The scope of the atlas is remarkable, covering everything from diseases seen in daily practice to those we’ve never heard of, like Bothnia dystrophy and Leigh syndrome.

Gass’ Atlas is most appropriate for highly ambitious residents, retina fellows and specialists, and general ophthalmologists who are looking for an excellent reference book with a proud lineage and impeccable reputation.



As a senior resident, I will soon be performing cataract surgery independently, without the comfortable assurance of an experienced staff surgeon at my side. It is thus with great interest that I have been reading the Slit Lamp Biomicroscopy Atlas for Assessment in Cataract Surgery (Jaypee), by Dr Navneet Toshniwal.

Organised by clinical situation, such as “Diabetic Cataract”, “Traumatic Cataract”, “Cataract with Corneal Opacity + Hazy Cornea”, and “Cataract with Iris Coloboma”, the “Advice” sections are most interesting and often ring true.

Discussing various types of extremely hard cataracts, the advice is: “One can consider performing phaco surgery in this case, but real expertise is needed. Remain very open-minded to the necessity of conversion to ECCE during surgery.”

This 200-page atlas seems best suited as a quick reference guide for any ophthalmologist (in training) who is planning on performing challenging cataract surgery cases.

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