When my coworkers and I first took up the task of writing a textbook of ophthalmology that was aimed at medical students but would also be suitable for interns and ophthalmology residents, we did not know exactly what we were getting ourselves into. The next four years were devoted to intensive study of this subject. We did not merely intend to design a book according to the maxims "understand it in medical school," "learn it for the examination," and "use it during your internship." Our broader goal was to give students a textbook that would kindle their interest and indeed their enthusiasm for a "small" specialty like ophthalmology and that would sustain this enthusiasm all the way through a successful examination. In an age in which teaching is undergoing evaluation, we felt this was particularly important. In pursuing this admittedly ambitious goal, we were able to draw upon many years of teaching experience. This experience has shaped the educational concept behind this book and manifests itself in details such as the layout, which is characterized by numerous photographs and illustrative drawings. We have placed special emphasis on the figures in particular. These illustrations make ophthalmology come alive and hopefully will be able to imbue the reader with some of the enthusiasm that the authors themselves have for their specialty.

I would like to take this opportunity to offer my heartfelt thanks to my teacher, Prof. Dr. Dr. hc G. O. H. Naumann, Erlangen, Germany, for his suggestions and for the slides from the collection of the Department of Ophthalmology and University Eye Hospital, Erlangen. I would also like to offer special thanks to my coauthors, Dr. Josef Amann, Dr. Oskar Gareis, Prof. Dr. Gabriele E. Lang, Doris Recker, Dr. Christoph Spraul, and Dr. Peter Wagner for their harmonious cooperation and exceptional initiative in writing this book. I also thank Dr. Eckhard Weingärtner for his assistance in compiling the Appendix.

I would also like to extend special thanks to Dr. Jürgen Lüthje and Sabine Bartl of Georg Thieme Verlag, whose professionalism and active and tireless support were a constant source of inspiration to us all. I would again like to thank Markus Voll, Fürstenfeldbruck, Germany, for his splendid illustrations.

Ulm, Germany, Summer 2000 Gerhard K. Lang

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