Most of us take for granted the fact that our eyes work and we can see well enough to live life to the full. But the human eye is an a very intricate and delicate bodily organ and we should be extremely grateful to those medical experts who look after our vision.
The precise term for the medical discipline relating to the eye is ophthalmology – an amalgamation of two Greek words which actually translate as ‘the science of eyes’. Since the human eye can require both medical and surgical attention, ophthalmologists are qualified as specialists in both fields.
As far back as 800 BCE, those who took an interest had enough understanding of the human eye to know how to diagnose a lot of eye problems and to have suggested effective surgical procedures and equipment to manage to treat some conditions, and across the ages scientists and specialists have increased their knowledge of the human eye and created treatments for many complaints.
Back in 1805, the first ever dedicated ophthalmic hospital opened its doors in London, and it lives on now under its famous title of Moorfields Eye Hospital. The hospital is now a world renown centre of excellence for ongoing research to continue to improve the diagnosis and treatment of all illnesses and other problems that may affect the human eye.
In order to become an ophthalmologist, a medical student will have to go through several years of in depth specialist training, working in conjunction with qualified ophthalmologists to master the required skills before finally being appointed as a consultant. Many consultant ophthalmologists become specialists in areas which are of particular interest to them and will hold specialist surgeries for patients with those particular complaints.
A lot of people really don’t understand just how much more an ophthalmologist can do when compared to the optician who we visit for straightforward eye tests and for the prescribing of glasses or contact lenses. But for any problems that need actual surgery – whether a conventional operation or Laser eye surgery, an optician must send the sufferer to an ophthalmologist for treatment.
Once a patient is referred to the expert consultant, many kinds of eye treatments can be suggested. Improvements in technology in recent times mean that the standard of diagnosis, and also treatment, continues to move on and a lot of procedures now are undertaken at an outpatients appointment with a local anaesthetic rather than the patient having to check into hospital for any period of time. Some of the most effective changes have been brought about by the increasing employment of Laser eye treatments, as these basically use the Laser eye beam to treat the eye, as an alternative to having to use actual surgical instruments, which results in far less likelihood of problems or infection.
A lot of the more complex eye complaints can clearly be affected by other health problems, and so the ophthalmologist will work in association with the other specialists who are treating the patient. And of course, a lot of problems with the eyes such as cataracts and glaucoma tend to be age related, so there needs to be a good knowledge of other problems which can have an effect on an elderly patient – not necessarily issues connected with the eye complaint, but problems including mobility or breathing difficulties.
Luckily, most people make their way through life with their only vision problems being the need to wear glasses or contact lenses at some point in time. But for those who have more unpleasant eye complaints, it is comforting to know that treatment is continuing to evolve and get better with each year that passes, whether it be more accurate Laser eye surgery, more delicate equipment for cataract removal or quicker diagnosis and treatment of more difficult problems.
Tags: Health and Fitness