Ophthalmology

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Ophthalmology is the medical and surgical speciality that treats visual impairments, diseases of the eye and of the surrounding elements, including eyelids, glands and tear ducts. Whether it is for an eye emergency, an eye test, a treatment follow-up, screening for eye disorders or a consultation before a surgical procedure, our teams of optometrists and ophthalmologists are here to welcome you to our Swiss Visio centres and specialised clinics.

 

Emergency consultations with or without an appointment

Many eye disorders can occur suddenly or impact your quality of life to the extent that they warrant an emergency consultation. Whether it is a sudden loss of vision (venous or arterial occlusion, retinal detachment, etc.), reddening (conjunctivitis, sties, etc.) or pain (corneal ulcers, infections, etc.), there are many different forms of diagnosis and treatment. Our specialists are here to help, so please get in touch.

Eyelids, orbits and tear ducts - consultations

There are many conditions that affect the eyelids, orbits and tear ducts, including:

  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Chalazions
  • Inflamed, infected or blocked tear ducts
  • Eyelid conditions:
    • Entropion: where the eyelid turns inwards
    • Ectropion: where the eyelid turns outwards
    • Dermatochalasis: excess skin in the eyelid
    • Blepharoptosis: a drooping eyelid
  • Ptosis or blepharoptosis, commonly known as drooping eyelid, is an abnormally low position of the upper eyelid. It may be congenital (from birth) or develop suddenly or gradually over a period of time. It can be caused by various factors and a specialised diagnosis is essential to rule out an underlying neurological condition and determine the most appropriate treatment. In most cases, treatment is a cosmetic surgery procedure called blepharoplasty.
  • Epiphora, more commonly referred to as watery eyes, is the medical term used to describe excessive tearing. Although an extremely common problem, it can have a significant impact on daily life. Diagnosis and treatment usually involve several stages and often include the use of artificial tears or lacrimal syringing with saline solution. Surgery may be recommended in the most severe cases.

Strabismus – consultations

Strabismus occurs when the eyes are not correctly aligned and point in different directions when looking at an object.

Types of strabismus:

  • Convergent strabismus: where one or both eyes turn inwards
  • Divergent strabismus: where one or both eyes turn outwards
  • Hypertropia: where one or both eyes turn upwards
  • Hypotropia: where one or both eyes turn downwards

Treatment for strabismus may be medical or surgical and depends on the type and stage of the condition as well as the patient’s age.

Glaucoma – consultations, screening

Glaucoma represents a group of diseases where there is too much pressure inside the eye, ultimately causing damage to the optic nerve and loss of vision. These diseases usually develop gradually without causing any pain or noticeable symptoms before reaching an advanced stage. This explains the need for regular screening.

In most cases, first-line treatments for glaucoma are eye drops aimed at controlling the pressure of the eye. In cases where medical treatment is not enough, laser procedures and filtration surgery usually stabilise the progression of the disease.

Acute glaucoma occurs when drainage of the fluid contained in the eye is suddenly blocked. It leads to a significant increase of pressure within the eye. This usually causes the eye to redden, together with loss of vision and severe pain. The loss of vision may become permanent if the episode is not treated urgently. The first line of treatment is iridotomy, a laser treatment that allows for the restoration of the eye’s natural filtration process.

Conjunctivitis and corneal infections

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the transparent membrane covering the white of the eye. It may be caused by a virus, bacteria or an allergy, and typically results in the eye becoming red, together with pain, itching and discharge.

Eye infections may also affect the cornea and cause corneal ulcers or abscesses. Symptoms are similar to those of conjunctivitis but usually lead to decreased visual acuity, pain and sensitivity to light. They are more common in people who wear contact lenses. Treatments depend on the severity of the infection and may range from simple eye drops to antibiotic injections, or corneal transplants in the most serious cases.

If non-invasive treatments can no longer stop the disease, a corneal graft (keratoplasty) is recommended. Your specialist will decide which procedure is best suited in your case based on a thorough examination using advanced imaging technology. If necessary, you may be referred to an ophthalmologist at a Swiss Visio centre.

Cataracts – consultations, tests and screening

Cataracts are a clouding of the lens. Although cataracts are often natural and linked to age, they may also be present from birth or may be caused by trauma or the use of medications containing corticosteroids. The main symptoms are decreased visual acuity, often accompanied by halos around light sources, reduced contrast perception and dazzling in bright lights.

Cataracts are treated with surgery, in the vast majority of cases at an outpatient clinic. The surgery involves using an ultrasound device to break up the cataract and replace it with an artificial lens.

Secondary cataracts occur most frequently from a few weeks to a few years after cataract surgery. They are the result of opacification of the capsule – the natural bag around the cataract before the operation and the artificial lens after the operation – which thickens and becomes cloudy over time. The symptoms are similar to those of cataracts, with primarily a decrease in visual acuity and the presence of halos around light sources.

Treatment involves a capsulotomy – a simple laser procedure without incision.

Paediatric ophthalmology – consultations, tests and screening

Paediatric ophthalmology specialises in treating eye conditions and vision problems in children of all ages, from newborn babies to teenagers. These vision problems can include myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism as well as amblyopia and strabismus. Some conditions such as congenital cataracts and glaucoma can also be diagnosed in children. 

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

Age-related macular degeneration is a chronic disease of the retina where the ageing of the macula cells – located in the central region of the retina – leads to a loss of central vision. It may be dry or wet, with the latter being of potentially rapid onset. The main symptoms are a loss of vision in the central area of the eye, as well as visual distortions making straight lines wavy.

Treatments depend on the type of AMD present, but may involve intraocular injections. In all cases, regular follow-up is necessary.

Refractive disorders: myopia, presbyopia, astigmatism and hyperopia

Clear vision is fundamental for many everyday activities. It is made possible thanks to the optical properties of several elements of the eye, in particular, the cornea and the lens, which focus the light beams on the retina. When the light beams focus in front of or behind the retina, the brain perceives a blurred image. The most common refractive disorders are myopia (short-sightedness), hyperopia (long-sightedness), astigmatism or presbyopia, with visual impairment beginning around the age of 40. These defects can usually be corrected, by wearing glasses or contact lenses, or through refractive surgery. 

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