Reading The BCSC

This series of articles is entitled Reading The BCSC.  The Basic and Clinical Science Course, developed and published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, is a 13-volume text that covers the major topics of ophthalmology and was written and edited by hundreds of ophthalmologists for the purpose of providing accurate, up-to-date, and detailed information about the eye.  If one were to read through and understand the entirety of this text, he/she would likely do well clinically as well as have a strong foundation of knowledge for passing the ophthalmology board exams.

As great as the BCSC series is, though, trying to navigate through the information without guidance can be very daunting.  While we are all very good at self-study and figuring things out, hopefully these articles can provide useful hints and tips in learning the material and retaining what’s important to know.

Disclaimer:  For obvious reasons, I cannot divulge any specific information that is copyrighted in the BCSC reading.  Additionally, I cannot and will not specify information that may be on a test, whether that’s the OKAP, ABO written board exam, or ABO oral board exam, or any other test.  Sorry!  However, I will do my best to provide information and tips that will be helpful and important for clinical practice.

The chapter order and guide is based on the 2017-2018 edition of the Basic and Clinical Science Course. I will do my best to update this as I go, but since there is a major revision of each book every 3-4 years, these chapter titles and the content may be updated and shuffled throughout the years!

Section 1:  Update on General Medicine

Chapter 1:  Using Statistics in Clinical Practice

Chapter 2:  Endocrine Disorders

Chapter 3:  Hypertension

Chapter 4:  Hypercholesterolemia and Cardiovascular Risk

Chapter 5:  Acquired Heart Disease

Chapter 6:  Cerebrovascular Disease

Chapter 7:  Pulmonary Diseases

Chapter 8:  Hematologic Diseases

Chapter 9:  Rheumatic Disorders

Chapter 10:  Geriatrics

Chapter 11:  Behavioral and Neurologic Disorders

Chapter 12:  Preventive Medicine

Chapter 13:  Cancer

Chapter 14:  Infectious Diseases

Chapter 15:  Perioperative Management in Ocular Surgery

Chapter 16:  Medical Emergencies and Ocular Adverse Effects of Systemic Medications

Section 2:  Fundamentals and Principles of Ophthalmology

Part I:  Anatomy

Chapter 1:  Orbit and Ocular Adnexa

Chapter 2:  The Eye

Chapter 3:  Cranial Nerves:  Central and Peripheral Connections

Part II:  Embryology

Chapter 4:  Ocular Development

Part III:  Genetics


Chapter 5:  Molecular Genetics

Chapter 6:  Clinical Genetics

Part IV:  Biochemistry and Metabolism


Chapter 7:  Tear Film

Chapter 8:  Cornea

Chapter 9:  Aqueous Humor, Iris, and Ciliary Body

Chapter 10:  Lens

Chapter 11:  Vitreous

Chapter 12:  Retina

Chapter 13:  Retinal Pigment Epithelium

Chapter 14:  Free Radicals and Antioxidants

Part V:  Ocular Pharmacology

Chapter 15:  Pharmacologic Principles

Chapter 16:  Ocular Pharmacotherapeutics

Section 3:  Clinical Optics

Chapter 1:  Geometric optics

Chapter 2:  Optics of the Human Eye

Chapter 3:  Clinical Refraction

Chapter 4:  Contact Lenses

Chapter 5:  Intraocular Lenses

Chapter 6:  Optical Considerations in Keratorefractive Surgery

Chapter 7:  Optical Instruments and Low Vision Aids

Chapter 8:  Physical Optics

Section 4:  Ophthalmic Pathology and Intraocular Tumors

Part I:  Ophthalmic Pathology

Chapter 1:  Introduction to Part I

Chapter 2:  Wound Repair

Chapter 3:  Specimen Handling

Chapter 4:  Special Procedures

Chapter 5:  Conjunctiva

Chapter 6:  Cornea

Chapter 7:  Anterior Chamber and Trabecular Meshwork

Chapter 8:  Sclera

Chapter 9:  Lens

Chapter 10:  Vitreous

Chapter 11:  Retina and Retinal Pigment Epithelium

Chapter 12:  Uveal Tract

Chapter 13:  Eyelids

Chapter 14:  Orbit

Chapter 15:  Optic Nerve

Part II:  Intraocular Tumors:  Clinical Aspects

Chapter 16:  Introduction to Part II

Chapter 17:  Melanocytic Tumors

Chapter 18:  Angiomatous Tumors

Chapter 19:  Retinoblastoma

Chapter 20:  Ocular Involvement in Systemic Malignancies

Section 5:  Neuro-Ophthalmology

Chapter 1:  Neuro-Ophthalmic Anatomy

Chapter 2:  Neuroimaging in Neuro-Ophthalmology

Chapter 3:  The Patient With Decreased Vision:  Evaluation

Chapter 4:  The Patient With Decreased Vision:  Classification and Management

Chapter 5:  The Patient With Transient Visual Loss

Chapter 6:  The Patient With Illusions, Hallucinations, and Disorders of Higher Cortical Function

Chapter 7:  The Patient With Abnormal Ocular Motility or Diplopia

Chapter 8:  The Patient With Supranuclear Disorders of Ocular Motility

Chapter 9:  The Patient With Nystagmus or Spontaneous Eye Movement Disorders

Chapter 10:  The Patient With Pupillary Abnormalities

Chapter 11:  The Patient With Eyelid or Facial Abnormalities

Chapter 12:  The Patient With Head, Ocular, or Facial Pain

Chapter 13:  The Patient With Nonorganic Ophthalmic Disorders

Chapter 14:  Selected Systemic Conditions With Neuro-Ophthalmic Signs

Section 6:  Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus

Part I:  Strabismus

Chapter 1:  The Pediatric Eye Examination

Chapter 2:  Strabismus Terminology

Chapter 3:  Anatomy of the Extraocular Muscles

Chapter 4:  Amblyopia

Chapter 5:  Motor Physiology

Chapter 6:  Sensory Physiology and Pathology

Chapter 7:  Diagnostic Evaluation of Strabismus and Torticollis

Chapter 8:  Esodeviations

Chapter 9:  Exodeviations

Chapter 10:  Pattern Strabismus

Chapter 11:  Vertical Deviations

Chapter 12:  Special Forms of Strabismus

Chapter 13:  Childhood Nystagmus

Chapter 14:  Surgery of the Extraocular Muscles

Part II:  Pediatric Ophthalmology

Chapter 15:  Growth and Development of the Eye

Chapter 16:  Decreased Vision in Infants and Children

Chapter 17:  Eyelid Disorders

Chapter 18:  Orbital Disorders

Chapter 19:  Lacrimal Drainage Abnormalities

Chapter 20:  Diseases of the Cornea, Anterior Segment, and Iris

Chapter 21:  External Diseases of the Eye

Chapter 22:  Pediatric Glaucomas

Chapter 23:  Childhood Cataracts and Other Pediatric Lens Disorders

Chapter 24:  Uveitis in the Pediatric Age Group

Chapter 25:  Disorders of the Retina and Vitreous

Chapter 26:  Optic Disc Abnormalities

Chapter 27:  Ocular Trauma in Childhood

Chapter 28:  Ocular Manifestations of Systemic Disease

Section 7:  Eyelids, Orbit, and Lacrimal System

Part I:  Orbit

Chapter 1:  Orbital Anatomy

Chapter 2:  Evaluation of Orbital Disorders

Chapter 3:  Congenital Orbital Anomalies

Chapter 4:  Orbital Inflammatory and Infectious Disorders

Chapter 5:  Orbital Neoplasms and Malformations

Chapter 6:  Orbital Trauma

Chapter 7:  Orbital Surgery

Chapter 8:  The Anophthalmic Socket

Part II:  Periocular Soft Tissues

Chapter 9:  Facial and Eyelid Anatomy

Chapter 10:  Classification and Management of Eyelid Disorders

Chapter 11:  Periocular Malpositions and Involutional Changes

Part III:  Lacrimal System

Chapter 12:  Anatomy, Development, and Physiology of the Lacrimal Secretory and Drainage Systems

Chapter 13:  Abnormalities of the Lacrimal Secretory and Drainage Systems

Section 8:  External Disease and Cornea

Chapter 1:  Structure and Function of the External Eye and Cornea

Chapter 2:  Examination Techniques for the External Eye and Cornea

Chapter 3:  Clinical Approach to Ocular Surface Disease

Chapter 4:  Structural and Exogenous Conditions Associated With Ocular Surface Disorders

Chapter 5:  Congenital Anomalies of the Cornea and Sclera

Chapter 6:  Clinical Approach to Depositions and Degenerations of the Conjunctiva, Cornea, and Sclera

Chapter 7:  Corneal Dystrophies and Ectasias

Chapter 8:  Systemic Disorders With Corneal and Other Anterior Segment Manifestations

Chapter 9:  Infectious Diseases of the External Eye:  Basic Concepts and Viral Infections

Chapter 10:  Infectious Diseases of the External Eye:  Microbial and Parasitic Infections

Chapter 11:  Diagnosis and Management of Immune-Related Disorders of the External Eye

Chapter 12:  Clinical Approach to Neoplastic Disorders of the Conjunctiva and Cornea

Chapter 13:  Therapeutic Interventions for Ocular Surface Disorders

Chapter 14:  Clinical Aspects of Toxic and Traumatic Injuries of the Anterior Segment

Chapter 15:  Clinical Approach to Corneal Transplantation

Section 9:  Intraocular Inflammation and Uveitis

Part I:  Ocular Immunology


Chapter 1:  Basic Concepts in Immunology:  Effector Cells and the Innate Immune Response

Chapter 2:  Immunization and Adaptive Immunity:  The Immune Response Arc and Immune Effectors

Chapter 3:  Ocular Immune Responses

Chapter 4:  Special Topics in Ocular Immunology

Part II:  Intraocular Inflammation and Uveitis

Chapter 5:  Clinical Approach to Uveitis

Chapter 6:  Noninfectious Ocular Inflammatory Diseases

Chapter 7:  Infectious Ocular Inflammatory Disease

Chapter 8:  Endophthalmitis

Chapter 9:  Masquerade Syndromes

Chapter 10:  Complications of Uveitis

Chapter 11:  Ocular Involvement in AIDS

Section 10:  Glaucoma

Chapter 1:  Introduction to Glaucoma:  Terminology, Epidemiology, and Heredity

Chapter 2:  Intraocular Pressure and Aqueous Humor Dynamics

Chapter 3:  Clinical Evaluation

Chapter 4:  Open-Angle Glaucoma

Chapter 5:  Angle-Closure Glaucoma

Chapter 6:  Glaucoma in Children and Adolescents

Chapter 7:  Medical Management of Glaucoma

Chapter 8:  Surgical Therapy for Glaucoma

Section 11:  Lens and Cataract

Chapter 1:  Epidemiology of Cataract

Chapter 2:  Anatomy

Chapter 3:  Biochemistry and Physiology

Chapter 4:  Embryology and Developmental Defects

Chapter 5:  Pathology

Chapter 6:  Evaluation and Management of Cataracts in Adults

Chapter 7:  Surgery for Cataract

Chapter 8:  Complications of Cataract Surgery

Chapter 9:  Preparing for Cataract Surgery in Special Situations

Section 12:  Retina and Vitreous

Part I:  Fundamentals and Diagnostic Approaches

Chapter 1:  Basic Anatomy

Chapter 2:  Diagnostic Approach to Retinal Disease

Chapter 3:  Retinal Physiology and Psychophysics

Disorders of the Retina and Vitreous

Chapter 4:  Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Other Causes of Choroidal Neovascularization

Chapter 5:  Retinal Vascular Disease:  Diabetic Retinopathy

Chapter 6:  Retinal Vascular Diseases Associated With Cardiovascular Disease

Chapter 7:  Other Retinal Vascular Diseases

Chapter 8:  Retinopathy of Prematurity

Chapter 9:  Choroidal Disease

Chapter 10:  Focal and Diffuse Choroidal and Retinal Inflammation

Chapter 11:  Congenital and Stationary Retinal Disease

Chapter 12:  Hereditary Retinal and Choroidal Dystrophies

Chapter 13:  Retinal Degenerations Associated With Systemic Disease

Chapter 14:  Systemic Drug-Induced Retinal Toxicity

Chapter 15:  Retinal Detachment and Predisposing Lesions

Chapter 16:  Diseases of the Vitreous and Vitreoretinal Interface

Chapter 17:  Posterior Segment Manifestations of Trauma

Selected Therapeutic Topics

Chapter 18:  Laser Therapy for Posterior Segment Diseases

Chapter 19:  Vitreoretinal Surgery and Intravitreal Injections

Section 13:  Refractive Surgery

Chapter 1:  The Science of Refractive Surgery

Chapter 2:  Patient Evaluation

Chapter 3:  Incisional Corneal Surgery

Chapter 4:  Onlays and Inlays

Chapter 5:  Photoablation:  Techniques and Outcomes

Chapter 6:  Photoablation:  Complications and Adverse Effects

Chapter 7:  Collagen Shrinkage and Crosslinking Procedures

Chapter 8:  Intraocular Refractive Surgery

Chapter 9:  Accommodative and Nonaccommodative Treatment of Presbyopia

Chapter 10:  Refractive Surgery in Ocular and Systemic Disease

Chapter 11:  Considerations After Refractive Surgery

Chapter 12:  Emerging Technologies