The Instituto de Microcirugía Ocular din Barcelona has recently launched an information campaign with the aim of raising awareness about the importance of prevention in eye health. In many cases, early diagnosis is the only way to prevent or stop significant loss of vision in disorders that sometimes do not have symptoms or are noticed too late by the patient (glaucoma, macular disorders and paediatric conditions).
The first step in detecting an ocular problem or dysfunction is when the patient visits the ophthalmologist, either for a routine eye examination or because of certain discomfort, which could be a symptom of a disorder. Regular eye examinations are, therefore, very important. During the campaign, which will continue over the coming months, IMO will be providing information on the most appropriate preventative measures for different threats to vision. The campaign will also include activities aimed at facilitating cooperation between ophthalmologists and internists, endocrinologists, paediatricians, neurologists and other medical specialists, who, due to the nature of the diseases they treat, are in a position to contribute additional information for the early detection of diseases.
The aim of the campaign is to promote a culture of prevention, which is essential to enable medical diagnosis and more timely treatment, either by means of drugs or surgical procedures. Although most eye disorders can be treated in the operating theatre – always with procedures performed on an outpatient basis –, an increasing number of cases can now be treated with drugs, and, in the coming years, this percentage is set to rise dramatically thanks to the latest advances.
Regarding hereditary eye disorders, the study of the patient also involves laboratory work, in which molecular analyses are performed to identify the genetic origin of the disorder, to carry out family prognosis and to prepare patients for future gene therapies, which, within a few years, will enable the treatment of certain hereditary disorders that are currently untreatable. Genetic diagnosis, supplementary to clinic diagnosis, is an important service that IMO has been providing for the last year and a half thanks to the joint work of ophthalmologists and geneticists in its Genetic Research Unit.
Comprehensive eye care
IMO is one of the leading eye clinics on the international scene, standing out for its specialised eye care and firm commitment to research and teaching. IMO’s main objective is to provide a personalised solution for each patient based on a philosophy of maximum respect for the eye. Its multidisciplinary teamwork approach enables each eye problem to be addressed in the most effective way, not only with the aim of curing patients with the use of minimally invasive treatments and techniques, but also by improving their quality of life.
IMO’s comprehensive eye care ranges from treating small refractive errors to tackling the most serious problems affecting the eye. This involves close collaboration between members of the medical team, consisting of ophthalmologists specialising in different parts of the eye and its conditions: cornea and anterior segment, retina, glaucoma, paediatric ophthalmology, neuro-ophthalmology and oculoplastics.
Commitment to progress
To facilitate its comprehensive ophthalmic approach in the most optimum of conditions, IMO, in mid-2009, moved to its new building, which was designed by the architect, Josep Llinàs, and conceived with the help of its medical professionals to ensure that its design would be ideally suited to the work carried out. The clinic boasts a total of 70 consulting rooms and nine operating theatres, enabling IMO to increase its workload and provide better patient care, an auditorium with capacity for 340 people and several function rooms to enhance its professional and educational activities.
From its current home, IMO projects the commitment to progress and cutting-edge work that has characterised its philosophy since its beginnings in the mid-1980s, firstly, as the Centro de Retina y Vítreo and, later, from 1992, as the Instituto de Microcirugía Ocular. IMO project has been led, since the beginning, by Dr Borja Corcóstegui, who has recently been made an honorary member of the Retina Society, one of the oldest and most prestigious ophthalmology societies in the world. It was the first time that the Society had honoured a Spanish person, who it considers as "an exemplary figure in worldwide ophthalmology."
- Visiting the ophthalmologist regularly is essential to ensure good eye health.
- After the age of 40, it is important to go for a check-up regularly (every two years). The most common condition after this age is presbyopia, also known as "old eyes", but other age-related conditions (AMD, glaucoma, etc.) can begin to develop with no obvious symptoms.
- The vision of children between the ages of one and seven should be examined in depth, as this is the most important stage of a child’s visual development. If certain eye conditions are not corrected in childhood, they can become serious problems in adulthood with no easy solutions.
- Patients with a history of eye disorders or special visual or health-related characteristics (high myopia, glaucoma, diabetes, etc.) should take preventative measures and have an eye examination once a year.