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Ophthalmology: Understanding & Treating Medical Conditions of the Human Eye

  • 4 min read

Ophthalmology is the area of medical scientific research & treatment that focuses on the eyes. This branch of medical study also takes care of various treatments of problems that impact the eye.

Ophthalmology is an intricate area of scientific research of the human body because it is concerned with the eyes, the structure of the human eyes, exactly how they function and operate as well as any kind of conditions which they can be affected by. There are parts of this specific field which are involved in the way the messages are transmitted from the eye to the brain, however this isn’t the primary focus of the scientific research.

The eye works in an extremely complex and amazing way for such a small organ. Light from the outside world, having been reflected off everything in its path comes into the eye via the cornea, which serves as a clear screen to safeguard the iris and even more significantly, the pupil (the pupil being the small black part in the middle of the iris – or colored part).

The eye is very evolved, such as in the way the pupil changes its size, depending on the intensity of the light. It will also adjust for the distance from the eye to the object which the person is attempting to focus on – this helps focus the light perfectly onto the retina.

Ophthalmology also treats conditions of the eye, which can occur with age, such as cataracts. This is where the natural crystalline lens of the eye (the one that sits behind the iris) becomes clouded, which stops the light from passing through to the retina and the image perceived by the retina will not be as clear or exact as it would have been before cataracts set in. Various other conditions in the eye are caused by issues with the layer of nerves at the back of the eye which provide the signals to the brain. These problems consist of glaucoma (which is where problems to the optic nerve are triggered by excess pressure in the eye itself) and also several other retinal problems.

Patients with both cataracts and glaucoma may require specialized attention and advanced treatment methods. Cataracts might normally exist together with glaucoma, have a causative effect on glaucoma, and/or might also be an outcome of glaucoma surgery.

Schematic side view of the eye

A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye which leads to a decrease in vision, normally caused by the natural ageing process of the body and the eyes, which are a part of it. When a patient has glaucoma that requires an operation, there might be a distinct chance to get rid of the existing cataract alongside, without substantially increasing the risk of the glaucoma surgery. In addition, when a patient has cataracts affecting their vision together with glaucoma, getting rid of the cataract may provide an opportunity to do a glaucoma surgery at the same time that might lower the patient’s need for glaucoma eye drops or improve eye pressure management.

Cataract surgery may be integrated with one of numerous glaucoma surgeries including canaloplasty, glaucoma drainage devices, trabeculectomy, endo-cyclophotocoagulation, and also the more recent micro-invasive glaucoma surgeries (MIGS). The MIGS procedures are especially suited for integrating with cataract surgical procedures since they can usually be carried out by using the exact same incision through which the cataract is removed, reducing significantly, a lot of the invasion or intrusion of the eye. However, they are not suitable in every case as they count on the eye’s natural drainage system and may not get the eye pressure to a low enough level for some patients. The iStent is a type of Micro Invasive Glaucoma Surgery procedure that is presently FDA approved for use in combination with cataract surgery.

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