Many of us never think about the fact that our eyes are in full working order and we can see clearly enough to fully enjoy life. But the human eye is an an extremely complicated and delicate part of the body and we should be extremely grateful to those medical consultants who take care of our vision.
The precise term for the medical discipline relating to the eye is ophthalmology – an mix of two Greek words which literally translate as ‘the science of eyes’. Because the human eye can need both medical and surgical treatment, ophthalmologists are described as specialists in both fields.
Even back in 800 BCE, physicians had enough comprehension of the human eye to know how to identify a lot of eye complaints and to have invented effective surgical procedures and equipment to try to treat some conditions, and throughout the centuries scientists and specialists have continued to increase their knowledge of eyes and created treatments for various problems.
Back in 1805, the first ever dedicated ophthalmic hospital was founded in London, and it still exists in 2011 under its famous title of Moorfields Eye Hospital. The hospital is now a highly regarded centre of excellence for groundbreaking research to improve the diagnosis and treatment of all diseases and other problems that could cause trouble for the human eye.
To become an ophthalmologist, a medical student will need to complete several years of intensive specialist training, working with qualified ophthalmologists to learn the required skills before at last becoming a consultant. A lot of consultant ophthalmologists focus on aspects of the eye which are of particular interest to them and will have specialist appointments for patients with those specific complaints.
A lot of people actually don’t know just how much more an ophthalmologist is qualified to do than the optician who we make an appointment with for simple eye tests and for the prescribing of glasses or contact lenses. But for all complaints that require actual surgery – whether a conventional operation or Laser eye surgery, an optician has to pass on the sufferer to an ophthalmologist to have treatment.
As soon as a patient is referred to the expert consultant, many sorts of eye treatments can be carried out. Improvements in technology in recent times mean that the level of diagnosis, and also treatment, continues to move on and a number of operations now are carried out at an outpatients appointment under a local anaesthetic instead of the patient having to check into hospital for a few days. Some of the most innovative developments have been brought about by the increasing employment of Laser eye treatments, as these simply use the Laser eye beam to treat the eye, rather than having to use actual surgical tools, which results in far less likelihood of complications or infection.
Some of the more complex eyesight problems can sometimes be related to other health problems, and so the ophthalmologist will work in association with the other consultants who the patient is seeing for treatment. And of course, a number of problems with the eyes including cataracts and glaucoma are frequently age related, so there has to be a good understanding of other problems which can impact on an elderly patient – not particularly issues associated with the eye complaint, but problems like mobility or breathing difficulties.
Luckily, most people make their way through life with their only sight problems being the requirement for glasses or contact lenses at some point in time. But for individuals who have more complicated eye complaints, it is comforting to know that treatment is continuing to evolve and become better with each year that passes, whether it be more exact Laser eye surgery, more delicate tools for cataract removal or speedier diagnosis and treatment of more serious problems.
Tags: Health and Fitness