Ophthalmology is the care of patients with eye conditions, disorders, injuries and diseases. It’s important to have your eyes regularly checked as not all eye conditions show symptoms and it’s often better to seek treatment sooner rather than later for many eye problems.
Why would I be referred to an ophthalmologist?
You may be referred to an ophthalmologist if you have:
- chronic or severe vision symptoms such as reduced, distorted, blocked, or double vision; vision problems that glasses or contact lenses can’t correct; seeing coloured circles or halos around lights; floaters; seeing flashes of light; and loss of peripheral vision.
- signs of eye conditions including bulging eyes, excessive tearing, eyelid problems, unexplained eye redness, and misaligned eyes.
- a sudden vision loss or changes, sudden or severe eye pain or an eye injury that requires emergency care.
- factors that can increase your risk of eye conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, a family history of eye conditions, HIV, and thyroid conditions, for example, Graves’ disease.
Different types of Ophthalmology treatments at Duchy Hospital
Ophthalmologists can have special interests in a number of sub-speciality areas of ophthalmology. The different types of ophthalmic conditions we treat at Duchy Hospital include:
- Cataracts - cataracts cause a clouding of the eye lense resulting in a gradual blurring of vision. Age-related cataracts are most common, people with diseases such as diabetes tend to be more prone to developing cataracts. Cataracts can also be congenital (present at birth) or caused by trauma due to an eye injury.
Cataract surgery is reccomended if your cataract is affecting your daily life and activities, most often a technique called phacoemulsification is used that involves replacing your lens with a new lens.
Find out more detail about what a cataract is, causes, benefits of cataract surgery and what the surgery involves here.
- Refractive errors - refractive errors (myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and presbyopia) are treated using precision laser eye surgery techniques.
- Corneal - to diagnose and treat cornea trauma and conditions
- Retina - to diagnose and treat retinal eye conditions including age related macular degeneration or AMD, a disease that gradually destroys your central vision, retinal disease, diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachment and floaters
- Glaucoma - to treat the excess fluid build-up of glaucoma that puts pressure on your eye and can cause optic nerve damage
- Blocked tear ducts - A blocked tear duct can be a partial or complete blockage in your tear pathway between the surface of your eye to your nose caused by an infection, injury or trauma. This results in a watery eye as your tears can’t drain away and they end up overflowing onto your face and cheek. It can also cause: the white part of your eye to become red, recurrent eye infections, painful swelling around the inside corner of your eye, pus discharge and eyelid crusting.
If you’ve had a long term infection that’s blocking the duct then antibiotics will be recommended. You may need surgery to restore normal tear drainage by opening the blocked passageway or creating a new channel.
- Excision of Meibomian cysts - You’ve sebaceous glands in your eyelids, called Meibomian glands, that produce the greasy part of your tears that stops them evaporating too quickly. If your Meibomian gland gets blocked, it swells and creates a firm lump on your eyelid, called a Meibomian cyst or chalazion.
A Meibomian cyst can become red and sore if your Meibomian gland is inflamed or infected. The cyst can also put pressure on your eye causing blurred vision. It sometimes pushes through the skin or lining of your eyelid.
Often Meibomian cysts improve on their own without treatment. If your Meibomian cyst remains for some weeks or months you might need an operation to treat it. Known as incision and curettage the procedure involves making a small incision on the inside of your eyelid and removing the contents. It’s a minor operation performed under local anaesthetic.
- Entropion eyelid treatment - If your eyelid rolls inwards and causes your lashes to irritate the surface of your eye, you’ve what’s termed an entropion. It’s an age-related condition that causes discomfort, redness and a watery eye.
For mild entropion, eye drops may be recommended. Severe entropion can be painful and if untreated it can lead to ulceration of the surface of your eye and scarring that could cause loss of vision.
Lid surgery will be advised if your entropion is causing you a lot of discomfort or if it’s a risk to your eye health. It’s generally performed under local anaesthetic as a day case procedure. There are different lid surgery options. Often stitches are placed in the lid to stiffen it and stop it turning in.
- General eyelid problems - treatment for eyelid problems (blepharitis, entropion and ectropion), strabismus (squint), watery eyes, conjunctivitis and eye cancers.
We offer established proven treatment techniques together with the latest procedures including laser eye treatment and the use of new lenses in cataract surgery to correct refractive errors and negate the need for spectacles in some patients.
Cost of private Ophthalmology treatment
The costs of ophthalmology treatment will depend on your chosen healthcare specialist, your eye health, if further tests are needed and your recommended treatment.
Duchy Hospital is recognised by all major medical insurers. Medical insurance policies usually cover ophthalmology treatment and medication for eye conditions. However, everyday eye care including check-ups and glasses and some treatments that are considered to be cosmetic rather than medical such as laser eye surgery may not be covered. We advise you to obtain written authorisation from your insurance provider before your procedure.
Ophthalmology treatment at Duchy Hospital
Our highly skilled ophthalmologists have vast experience in all areas of general ophthalmology. They work as part of larger multi-disciplinary teams as required when treating patients with other underlying illnesses.
We understand the anxiety that vision problems can cause ans their impact on your daily lives, Duchy Hospital offers patients convenient appointments with our ophthalmology surgeons, access to rapid diagnosis and reliable treatment options to take care of your eyes without having to wait.
Contact us today if you have any queries or would like to arrange an appointment.