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Ophthalmology

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The Ophthalmology department at Beacon Hospital offers a very wide spectrum of services including cataract surgery, refractive surgery, squint surgery and retinal surgery. The department also offers a wide range of medical services such as corneal topography and tomography, IOL Master Examinations, OCT, fundus photography and fluorescein examinations and visual field analysis. Laser eye surgery is carried out in the Beacon complex at the Wellington Eye Clinic.

There is a dedicated ophthalmologic theatre with a Zeiss ceiling-mounted operating microscope. Here various eye surgeries are performed under topical anaesthesia (anaesthetic eye drops only), local blocks or general anaesthesia (asleep during the surgery). Sometimes the surgeon will have a preference of anaesthesia for a particular procedure but mostly it is the patient’s preference.

Cataract surgery:

This is where the lens of the eye has become cloudy and the vision is now impaired. With cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed and is replaced with a modern intra-ocular lens. These are mostly silicone or acrylic in nature and can be multifocal (suitable for some patients). The cataract is removed through a very small incision (2.8 to 3.2mm) that usually doesn’t require sutures. The surgery can be done under topical (drops only), local or general anaesthesia (asleep).

Clear Lens Surgery:

This is very similar to cataract surgery (above) but in this case the lens that is being removed is in fact clear. The only reason that the lens is being removed is to improve the refractive power of the eye so that the glasses required become much lighter in strength or possibly even redundant.

Phakic Lens Implant surgery (Artisan):

In this case an additional lens is placed in the eye in order to make the eye see better without glasses. It can almost be thought of as the implantation of a permanent contact lens. This is done to make people see better without the use of glasses or contact lenses.

Glaucoma surgery:

This surgery is performed in order to reduce the intra-ocular pressure that is damaging the optic nerve of the eye. Glaucoma is mostly well-controlled with eye drops but on occasion, the pressure does not respond sufficiently to medical treatment and then surgery is indicated to prevent further damage to the optic nerve.

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Eyelid surgery:

There are many different types of eyelid surgery including the removal of cysts, the correction of a droopy eyelid or the removal of excess skin/bags under the eye.

Squint surgery/Strabismus surgery:

This surgery is designed to straighten the eyes and thereby remove a “squint” or “cast” or “turn” from the eyes. It is normally done under general anaesthesia while the patient is asleep.

Pterygium surgery:

This surgery removes growths from the eyeball/globe that are irritating the eye or cosmetically unacceptable and have started to encroach on the cornea (the clear window part at the front of the eye). This can be done under topical (drops) anaesthesia or while under general anaesthesia.

Corneal topography:

This test gives very specific information of the corneal shape and helps with planning cataract and refractive surgery.

Corneal tomography:

The back surface of the cornea is also measured with this test and hence information is obtained on corneal elevation as well as corneal thickness. IOL Master: This test allows for the most accurate measurements of the length of the eye and hence the calculation of intra-ocular lens powers. If these calculations are very accurate, the vision is good following surgery even without glasses.

OCT:

This test gives excellent information of the retina and specifically the macula (the finest vision area).

Fundus photography:

Documenting lesions at the back of the eye, following the progression of conditions like optic nerve appearance in glaucoma or the macula in diabetic retinopathy.

Fluorescein angiography:

This test reveals any vascular leakage or damage to the retinal vessels and is very helpful in conditions like diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.

Visual field analysis:

This test monitors the progression or the success of treatment of glaucoma. It also shows neurological conditions affecting the brain and optic pathways as well as vascular lesions affecting the globe (eyeball).

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