A Broad View of the Field
How to keep an eye on recent developments in ophthalmology
Aleksandra Jones | | Interview
Andrzej Grzybowski, Professor of Ophthalmology and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland, tells us how his book – Current Concepts in Ophthalmology – offers readers a helicopter view of the latest advances.
How long did it take you to get this project completed?
Not as long as you might expect – it’s important for this kind of publication to be current (as the title suggests), so we did not have the luxury of taking years to complete it. We cover the very latest ophthalmic achievements, so I did not want to spend more than a few months finishing the book. In the end, it took around nine months from start to finish.
What inspired the project?
Like most ophthalmologists, I am a specialist: in cataract and refractive surgery – the anterior segment – but I am also trained retina surgeon, although I’m presently involved mostly in some research projects in medical retina. These are not small areas of expertise, and keeping up with all the latest news, research, and innovations takes a lot of time and effort. Of course I check every monthly issue of major ophthalmology journals, and I read every issue of two ophthalmic magazines; one of them is The Ophthalmologist. I appreciate the good balance it provides between clinical research and industry innovations.
Ophthalmology today is extremely subspecialized, and medical students or physicians from other specialties find it hard to believe how many distinct areas we deal with. I looked for a book that would give me an overview of the most important current concepts and main contributions in areas of ophthalmology outside of my subspecialties and, surprisingly, I could not find one. So I decided to publish it myself!
What were your guiding principles in compiling the book?
I knew that the key to success was inviting world-renowned experts on the topics covered, and I can say that each area is presented by an unquestioned authority on the subject. I asked them all the same question: which achievements from your field in the last few years have had the biggest impact on moving ophthalmology forward?
From the start, I knew we couldn’t possibly feature every single important aspect of eye care – it would require many volumes, across tens of thousands of pages. My brief for the chapter authors was to include whatever vital information they could feature on 30 pages. Within that limit, I gave authors freedom when deciding on what needed to be included – and what could be left out. However, as editor, after reading the chapters I had the privilege to discuss some points with authors; some parts were extended, some clarified, and some shortened. Collaborating with these great minds was my personal reward.
Rarely, chapters were prepared by one expert only; for the majority of cases, leaders invited their co-workers.
What is the biggest strength of the publication?
The wonderful authors are the best guarantee that the content is relevant and current. These leading experts include Jorge Alio on refractive surgery, Vincenzo Sarnicola on cornea, Keith Barton on glaucoma, Francesco Bandello on macula, Sue Lightman on uveitis, Harry Flynn on vitreoretinal surgery, Neil Miller on neuro-ophthalmology, Ken Nischal on pediatric ophthalmology, and Bertil Damato on ocular oncology.
Beyond the editor’s role, you also decided to contribute as an author?
Yes, I prepared the chapter on recent developments in cataract surgery with my collaborator – it is the major are of my ophthalmic activities.
Cataract surgery is the most commonly-conducted procedure not only in ophthalmology, but in medicine in general. Recent developments have led to less invasive procedures, better comfort, and more predictable results, although continuously rising patient expectations create new challenges.
Current Concepts in Ophthalmology, edited by Andrzej Grzybowski, is available from Springer.