At North Downs Hospital in Surrey we specialise in a range of surgical disciplines ranging from vascular surgery to ophthalmology. We offer a variety of surgical procedures from cataract surgery to the unblocking of the tear duct.
Ophthalmology is the specialist area of medicine focusing on the overall anatomy and conditions affecting the eyes. Ophthalmologists specialise in the diagnostics and surgical procedures affecting the eye – they are also trained to administer eye tests and prescriptions.
Here at North Downs Hospital in Surrey we pride ourselves in working alongside some of the top ophthalmologists in the UK. We are here to support you from the diagnostic procedure to implementing your individually formulated treatment plan. We also offer a range of non-surgical solutions if surgery is not the right option for you.
Ophthalmological Treatments available
Cataract Surgery (Phacoemulsification)
Cataracts present as a cloudiness of the lens within your eye. As the condition progresses patient’s vision will become increasingly hazy and blurry. It is particularly common in the older age group, however although unusual for children to develop the condition, it is still possible.
Cataract surgery is recommended in order to improve vision and to enable you to perform day-to-day tasks where you previously couldn’t. The NHS treats cataracts where your vision is significantly affecting your life – here at North Downs Hospital we treat cataracts at a variety of stages of the condition.
The surgery lasts between 30-45 minutes and is carried out under local anaesthetic. The surgeon will begin by making small cuts to your eye in order to take out the affected lens. After the removal of the lens, a small artificial lens made out of plastic called an intraocular lens implant (IOL), is inserted in its place.
Excision of Meibomian Cysts (Chalazion)
The Meibomian glands located in the eyelids, also known as the sebaceous glands, produce the oily part of tears. Occasionally they can become blocked and the greasy part of tears cannot escape – causing the gland to swell and potentially become infected.
Many Meibomian cysts disappear without surgery. However, if you have suffered with the cyst for more than a few weeks and it proves discomforting - surgery is an option.
The procedure itself will only take a few minutes to complete. Local anaesthetic eye drops are used and placed in the affected area to numb it. Additional anaesthetic is injected into the eyelid. An incision is then made into the eyelid and the contents of the cyst are removed.
Entropion Eyelid Treatment
Entropion affects the eyelids causing a condition in which your eyelid curls inwards. This allows the skin and eyelashes to brush up against the eye, which can prove painful. If it is left untreated it can lead to ulceration of the eye leading to scarring which can ultimately damage vision. Entropion usually occurs in the older generation and may be present all the time or just when you close your eyes tightly. It most commonly presents in the lower eyelid.
The surgery procedure called, ‘Everting sutures’ is a common operation used to treat entropion. It involves the stitching of the affected eyelid to stiffen and prevent it from curling inwards. This procedure only lasts a few minutes, local anaesthetic drops will be placed via drops into the eye and injected into the eyelid. The stitches are dissolvable and will fall out within a few weeks.
Tear Duct Unblocking
A blocked tear duct occurs when there is a full or partial obstruction in the tear drainage system. You may find that you have an increasingly watery eye, recurrent eye infections and blurred vision. A blocked tear duct can be caused by a number of factors such as injuries, tumours or chronic infections.
Dependent on what is causing your blockage, you may qualify for non-surgical solutions. If an infection is suspected you may be prescribed antibiotics. In other cases you may have to undergo surgery to ease your discomfort.
The most common procedure to treat a blocked tear duct is known as a dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR). It can be performed via local or general anaesthetic. The surgery consists of the surgeon reconstructing the passageway which allows the drainage of tears through your nose. The blockage can occur in a variety of positions and your exact surgery will depend on the site of your blockage.
We are delighted to now offer 3D OCT
Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is an advanced eye scan for people of all ages. It is similar to ultrasound but uses light rather than sound waves to image the different layers that make up the structures at the front and the back of the eye. The machine captures both a photograph and a cross-sectional scan of the eye at the same time.
The benefits are obvious with the scans giving our consultants more information than ever before on the health of our patients’ eyes. Our consultants will take both a digital and three dimensional cross sectional scan of the back of the eye in one sitting. This allows both instant and early diagnosis of a number of common ocular conditions.
We are very proud to be working alongside some excellent ophthalmology Consultants who are highly respected in their speciality and come highly recommended by previous patients. All of our consultants go through regular validation to ensure that they work to the highest possible standards and remain up date with current practice.