Eye diseases, or ophthalmology, specialises in the diagnostics and treatment of eye diseases and determining and correcting refractive errors. Ophthalmology is a surgical field of medicine treating patients of all age groups from premature neonates to senior citizens.
The most common eye diseases
The most common eye disease is cataract, a clouding of the lens of the eye, and cataract surgery is the world's most common surgical procedure. Other common eye diseases include glaucoma (a disease of the optic nerve) often associated with elevated intraocular pressure, and retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related foveal degeneration, and functional poor vision and squint. Inflammations of the anterior segment of the eye are also common.
Eye diseases requiring the most demanding care
Ophthalmological specialist care includes corneal transplantations, removal of ocular tumours while keeping the eye, refractive surgery on medical grounds, demanding eyelid, eye socket and lacrimal passage surgery, and ophthalmic pathology.
The less complex eye diseases are treated in outpatient care by general physicians who collaborate with the regional eye specialist.
In the HUS area, ophthalmological emergencies are treated at Eye and Ear Hospital. Emergencies include penetrating eye injuries, some inflammations of the eye and visual disorders.
A referral is required for ophthalmic emergency care. Before referring a patient, the physician is advised to consult the physician on duty at the Eye Clinic. A referral is not required for actual emergencies, such as penetrating eye injuries.
Ophthalmological treatment in the HUS area
In the HUS area, there are three locations providing ophthalmological treatment: the Eye and Ear Hospital and Biomedicum in Helsinki, Jorvi Hospital in Espoo and Lohja Hospital.
The HUCH Department of Ophthalmology at the Eye and Ear Hospital is the largest of these units. Outpatient and surgical care is also provided at Lohja Hospital. The rehabilitation centre for blind and partially sighted people operates at the Eye and Ear Hospital, Biomedicum and at Jorvi Hospital.
In addition to its responsibilities within the HUS area, HUCH Department of Ophthalmology provides treatment for rare eye diseases nationally.