In an age where you can search for anything on the Internet, you may wonder why you need The Eye Book. Why would I even bother taking the time to update the first edition published over twenty years ago? Well, twenty years ago when the Johns Hopkins Press first mentioned writing a book about the eye, there was a lot of misinformation online about eye care and eye treatments. In those days, among all the marketing hype by retail mega-eyeglass chains, various contact lens claims regarding cleaning systems and wearing schedules, and glitzy ads for cataract and refractive surgery techniques, there was a need for a straight-forward, easy to understand reference about the eye for the consumer as well as for non-eye care professionals. The Johns Hopkins Press’ speculation about the need for a book about the eye was correct, as proved by the popularity of the first edition of The Eye Book which sold over 15,000 copies worldwide and went through five printings.
Over twenty years later, an updated second edition is now needed because, despite better search engines and faster computers to surf the internet, there is even more misinformation about the eye and eye care.
So, the big challenge in writing the second edition of The Eye Book was been to keep the basic information from the first edition, build upon the topics and treatments that have changed, and address new information too – do you really want to buy your eyeglasses over the internet or get your eyeball tattooed?
Specifically, the second edition begins by addressing many vision myths and common eye questions that are often asked during an eye exam…or even at family events – everyone loves a chance to get free medical advice, especially aunts and uncles!
Does eating carrots help you see better?
If you look cross-eyed long enough, will your eyes stay that way?
My daughter sits too close to the television. Will this damage her eyes?
Our section called 'Getting To 20/20' still exists with a few updates to arm you with even more information when buying eyeglasses and contact lenses and also evaluating the problems associated with them. And as you might imagine, there have been a lot of advances in the field of refractive surgery over the past twenty years. I try to give an overview of the current techniques to provide readers with a foundation for their own discussions with eye care professionals about these options.
Enough can’t be said about the advances in cataract surgery, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration since the first edition of The Eye Book. Twenty years ago, the treatment of “wet” macular degeneration and advanced forms of diabetic retinopathy with lasers were sometimes worse than the diseases themselves. At that time, we only dreamt of being able to control these conditions with injections as we are today and which are discussed in this new edition. Our ability to improve vision with cataract surgery also continues to evolve with new techniques to remove the aged lens of the eye and replace it with better-designed implant lenses. Therefore, understanding the problem and available options is essential for everyone, as it is likely that one day you will be among the millions of people who undergo this procedure each year.
The “silent thief of vision,” glaucoma, has also become more readily diagnosed and better treated with advances in OCT (optical coherence tomography) and MIGS (no, not the plane – micro invasive glaucoma surgery). Newer and longer lasting pressure-lowering eye drops, as well as advanced laser techniques, are also present in this new edition offering a better understanding and hope for patients.
Michelle Bianchi, a highly skilled and compassionate occupational therapist who specializes in low vision evaluations and therapy helped me write a great new comprehensive Low Vision section in this edition of The Eye Book. We go well beyond the information presented in the first edition and discuss how to assess a patient with low vision as well as the exciting new aides and techniques now available. We also have updated our list of foundations and agencies offering support and help.
Dry eye sufferers will want to read about the new thoughts regarding dry eyes and MGD (Meibomian Gland Dysfunction) and the new treatment approaches for this often frustrating, chronic condition.
Additionally, we now even have a new section on Cosmetics and the Eye covering permanent eyeliner, getting celebrity eyelashes, whitening your eyes, and …yes, even tattooing of the eyeball.
So, besides arming you with updated information on the eye and eye care for your personal or professional use, The Eye Book has also given me a way to give back. I was never destined to be a CEO of a company or famed researcher whose work would affect millions, but I have been lucky to realize the ability as a practicing doctor to connect with people on a personal level, either face-to-face or through print. And I have found great meaning in life through the feedback I have received from people after making a difference in their lives. Writing a book like The Eye Book, originally with two co-authors and then revising it twenty years later by myself, was never done for the money. In fact, all my proceeds from the first edition were donated to eye research. Instead, in writing and revising The Eye Book, I have always been hopeful that somewhere, someplace there are people with questions about their eyes who will turn to The Eye Book and receive insight and answers that will help them make better and more informed decisions. I hope it helps you too.
Order the second edition of The Eye Book: A Complete Guide to Eye Disorders and Health at the following link: https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/title/eye-book
Gary H. Cassel, MD, completed his ophthalmology residency in 1984 at Wills Eye Hospital and was certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology in 1985. Awarded a National Institutes of Health grant to study retinal neovascularization, he joined the laboratory of Bert M. Glaser, MD, at Johns Hopkins Medicine's Wilmer Eye Institute as a retinal research fellow. After practicing clinical ophthalmology part-time at Wilmer and in the community, Dr. Cassel gravitated to full-time ophthalmology private practice in Baltimore County, Maryland. He was recognized by Baltimore Magazine as a "Top Doc" among ophthalmologists and ophthalmic surgeons in 2011 and 2012. He is the author of The Eye Book: A Complete Guide to Eye Disorders and Health.