Many innovations

Ophthalmology: the successes of recent years

10.07.2024 11:00

Ophthalmology has developed enormously in recent years in terms of diagnostics, treatment and surgical methods. The President of the Austrian Ophthalmological Society gives a brief overview of the new achievements.

"Not only the surgical methods, but also the diagnostic possibilities have developed enormously and now allow us unimagined possibilities in the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases and also in the early detection of internal diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer's," reports Dr. Gabriela Seher, specialist in ophthalmology and optometry in Vienna and President of the Austrian Ophthalmological Society (ÖOG).

Examples of the achievements
"Around 20 years ago, people still had to stay in hospital for a long time after cataract surgery. Today, this procedure is one of the most common and safest - and is performed on an outpatient basis," says the expert. Furthermore, the quality of the artificial lenses used has improved significantly.

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Around 20 years ago, people still had to stay in hospital for a long time after cataract surgery. Today, the procedure is performed on an outpatient basis.

(Bild: Armin Armano)

MR Dr. Gabriela Seher, Fachärztin für Augenheilkunde und Optometrie in Wien

Significant progress has also been made in the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) through the administration of special medication into the vitreous body. Whereas 30 years ago, blindness was more or less inevitable, this can now be avoided thanks to these drugs.

Glaucoma: many new surgical techniques
In the field of glaucoma surgery, many new surgical procedures and implants have been developed in the last 15 years alone, which, under the term "Micro Invasive Glaucoma Surgery" (MIGS), have considerably expanded the options for treating glaucoma and can prevent blindness with a minimally invasive procedure.

There are also new developments in corneal transplant surgery: "Until 15 years ago, the entire cornea was replaced as a full transplant, but today individual layers can be operated on, right down to a single layer on the eye," explains Dr. Seher.

The first approaches for artificial corneas are also in the research laboratories and some are already undergoing clinical trials.

Better investigation of macular degeneration
"The use of optical coherence tomography, or OCT for short, which became established at the turn of the millennium, is also a milestone in diagnostics. Prior to this, the retina and optic nerves could only be imaged at a much lower resolution using ultrasound or fluorescein angiography.

The imaging procedure is used to diagnose and monitor the progression of macular degeneration (retinal calcification) and glaucoma and its precursors. Based on the analysis of the course of the nerve fiber layers, unnecessary therapies can be avoided and necessary ones modified," says Dr. Seher.

New options for severe short-sightedness
The treatment of progressive short-sightedness (myopia) has also developed further. "Nowadays, eye drops with the active ingredient atropine, special contact lenses or individual spectacle lenses are available for treatment. After an ophthalmologist's check-up, the severe progression of short-sightedness can be treated in this way and associated illnesses prevented."

This article has been automatically translated,
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