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December 31 , 2008

Eye Surgery

An Introduction to Operative Technique


The reactions to the German edition of this book have been most contradic­ tory. While some readers found the book absolutely unnecessary ("Surgery is learned from practice, not from theory"), others were enthusiastic (" Just the sort of book I have always needed "). In my opinion the divergent recep­ tion of the book is best explained by the comment of my friend, BALDER GLOOR *, who called the book a "grammar of eye surgery". Indeed there are people who can learn a language by practice alone, and there are others who do better by knowing its grammar. In learning by mere practice to be sure, proficiency will be long in coming, because it will be more difficult to recognize, and thus to correct, whatever errors are made, whereas a knowledge of grammar will reveal the basic structures and shorten the learning process. Similarly, surgery can be learned purely from practical experience. Yet the trial-and-error quest for experience is not compatible with the interests of the patient. A knowledge of "surgical grammar", on the other hand, not only shortens the time for learning but also helps us to compare different surgical techniques and to weigh thcir advantages and disadvantages. It is also helpful in developing new surgical methods, for the general rules of course, can always be applied to novel situations where experience, is lacking.
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