“I get pleasure out of helping people communicate better and get their ideas across.” – Dr. Andrew Schachat
Some people worry about what they’re going to specialize in during medical school, and I think that’s inappropriate. The eye’s only an inch across, but there’s a lot of different specialties and a lot of different aspects of eye care, and I think it’s nice to get an exposure to at least a few of them before you pick a specialty. So although there’s some pressure to decide at some point in the second year as far as planning fellowship applications, I think the longer you can delay, the more chance you have to try different things and see what you like. I liked almost all aspects of ophthalmology.
I find editing fun. I get to deal with lots of different people. I get to learn things again and again. I get to help people communicate and teach. A lot of people write a lot of great scientific content, but sometimes it’s too complicated, or the sequence is presented in a funny way, so by tweaking other people’s knowledge I can help them bring it across better. I also enjoy helping people explore some of their unintentional biases.
Retina specialists know that there’s been a tremendous amount of new material in the last five or six years. We’ve looked back through ophthalmology journal citations and the articles that get the most hits on web sites, and more than half of the new material has been focused on anti-VEGF therapy and new treatments in medical retina. There’s a tremendous amount of new information there, and the electronic versions of Retina will stay up to date. There’s a lot more international emphasis too, and we have gone out of our way to make it a more international book, by adding more international authors.
There are lots of versions of books one can have. You can have a single volume version, which can give you the top line information and some highlights and maybe is appropriate for a medical student trying to get a quick overview of the topic. There are 10- and 20-volume encyclopedic works, which have almost everything there is historically to know about something. For me, the three volume textbook format hits the sweet spot: it’s encyclopedic, it’s usable, it’s current. I really appreciate the simplicity and convenience of eBooks, too. If you’re sitting in your academic office, you can pull the book off the shelf, but if you’re with a patient, you can use the electronic version. Different people look at things different ways, and it’s incumbent on us now to supply material in ways that allow people to use it the way they like.
Andrew P. Schachat, MD, is Vice Chairman for Clinical Affairs at the Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic, and Director of Clinical Research. He is the former Karl Hagen Professor of Ophthalmology, Vice Chairman for Safety and Quality of the Department of Ophthalmology, and Director of the Ocular Oncology Service at Johns Hopkins University. He was also Professor of Oncology. He is the editor of the Retina and Oncology volumes of the bestselling Retina, 5th Edition.
A New York City native, Dr. Schachat received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University, followed by residency training at the Wilmer Institute at Johns Hopkins. He performed a retina and oncology fellowship at the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia.
Dr. Schachat has served as secretary of Quality of Care for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and president of the Maryland Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons. He is a former associate editor of the Archives of Ophthalmology. Dr. Schachat has been editor-in-chief of the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s journal, Ophthalmology (2003 – 2012).
Dr. Schachat’s clinical interests include age-related macular degeneration, clinical trials, and diabetic retinopathy. He has been a principal investigator in many studies that have led to new FDA-approved therapies for age-related macular degeneration.