EDITORIAL

Annual Reviews in Ophthalmology, a New Feature of the Asia-Pacific Journal of Ophthalmology Robert Ritch, MD*Þ

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his issue of the Asia-Pacific Journal of Ophthalmology sees the launching of a new series of articles reviewing specific major topics of interest in ophthalmology. This is not a new idea but a revival of a regular series from many years ago. Back in the 1970s, when I was a resident and fellow, the Archives of Ophthalmology had a monthly review of essentially all of the literature published in the previous year or so up until the time of submission of the article. References 1 to 6 represent samples of these reviews.1Y6 The series was edited by B. Thomas Hutchinson, MD. The reviews were authored by leading authorities of the day and were comprehensive in scope, averaging 20 to 30 pages of printed text and approximately 18,000 to 30,000 words in length, with approximately 200 references, ranging from a little more than 100 to more than 500. They were a truly valuable service. It goes without saying that these articles represented an extraordinary effort and a large amount of time to prepare. Perhaps that was one reason for their demise. Moreover, the scientific explosion in molecular biology and medicine, genomics, therapeutics, and surgical advances, not to mention the advent of medicine of the future in the form of personalized medicine, stem cell therapy, gene transfer, and regenerative medicine, have vastly extended the amount of information and number of publications being produced. Everyday we read of new breakthroughs in technology and medicine, and the sources of information have proliferated so extensively that many ophthalmologists, bombarded from every direction, get much of their information from either ‘‘throwaways’’ or the Internet or iPhone applications. In today’s world, extensive monographs have given way to much shorter and specifically oriented reviews on more limited topics. There are many more journals today than there were in the 1970s. More journals are moving to online production, and in today’s fast-paced world characterized by instantaneous acquisition of information, leisurely reading of a long review may prove more difficult that it did 35 years ago. Why, then, should we do this, and is there a need for it? One reason in favor is that reviews are always useful for those who wish to gain an overview of a topic, particularly if the review is limited in scope to recent publications, hence an annual review. Reviews in textbooks are rarely up-to-date because of the time required for publication. Nevertheless, because of the overwhelming task of reviewing an entire subject such as retina or glaucoma today compared with a generation ago, we are seeking a way to move these reviews into the current information age. One way to do this would be to create ‘‘living documents,’’ which when published online, would be periodically added to, updated, and expanded. We are currently attempting to accomplish this with a recently published review of Sturge-Weber syndrome.7 Rather than an article being published and becoming immutable over time, we plan to have this periodically revised and expanded, and being online, there is no limit to the number of photographs or even surgical videos that can be included. Exactly how this will be done has not yet been determined because the entire concept is currently subject to flux. One method would be to invite all interested readers to submit photographs or videos to expand the digital library. A blog could be created, in which registered users at the journal Web site will be able to post comments and corrections about the article. Online discussions about controversial aspects of the text could be aired. Perhaps there might even be a Wiki-review, wherein anyone could suggest corrections and additions to an article and a panel of chosen experts could referee these and make additions to the article as necessary. All of these are possibilities to be explored in

From the *Einhorn Clinical Research Center, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, New York; and †Department of Ophthalmology, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY. Received for publication October 3, 2012; accepted October 4, 2012. The author has no funding or conflicts of interest to declare. Reprints: Robert Ritch, MD, The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, 310 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003. E-mail: [email protected] Copyright * 2012 by Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology ISSN: 2162-0989 DOI: 10.1097/APO.0b013e3182778abc

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Volume 1, Number 6, November/December 2012

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Copyright © 2012 by Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.

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attempting to bring the printed journal of today into the world of cyberspace. Reader feedback and suggestions are both welcome and encouraged. The topics chosen for reviews thus far include glaucoma (Nathan Radcliffe, MD), neuro-ophthalmology (Andrew Lee, MD), uvea (Sanjay Kedhar, MD), ocular oncology and pathology (David Abramson, MD), genetics (Rand Allingham, MD), medical and surgical retina (Marco Zarbin, MD, PhD), pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus (Marilyn Miller, MD, and Steven Archer, MD), artificial vision (Alan Chow, MD), nanotechnology (James F. Leary, PhD), refractive surgery (Douglas Koch, MD), and stem cells and regenerative medicine (Ting Xie, PhD), whereas other topics, such as cataract, cornea, orbit, and oculoplastics, await chosen authors. Additional suggestions from our readership are welcome. The current issue includes the first of these reviews, Glaucoma, by Nathan Radcliffe, MD. It is our hope that this

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review will be well received but also that it will generate feedback from our readership as to comments, corrections, and future directions. REFERENCES 1. Kirsch RE. The lens. Arch Ophthalmol. 1975;93:284Y314. 2. Lessell S. Neuro-ophthalmology. Arch Ophthalmol. 1975;93:434Y464. 3. O’Connor GR. The uvea. Arch Ophthalmol. 1975;93:675Y691. 4. Helveston, EM. Strabismus. Arch Ophthalmol. 1975;93:1205Y1221. 5. Tasman W. Retina and optic nerve. Arch Ophthalmol. 1976;94:1201Y1224. 6. Armaly MF. Glaucoma. Arch Ophthalmol. 1976;94:146Y162. 7. Dorairaj S, Ritch R. Encephalotrigeminal angiomatosis (Sturge-Weber syndrome, Klippel-Trenaunay Weber syndrome): a review. Asia-Pacific J Ophthalmol. 2012;Epub July 11.

‘‘A bad book is as much of the labor to write as a good one, it comes as sincerely from the authors’ soul.’’ - Aldous Huxley

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* 2012 Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology

Copyright © 2012 by Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.

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