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Welcome to the

Eye Surgery Wiki

This eye surgery guide has been created to assist both non-medical patients and those interested in eye surgery to better understand the commonplace, but complicated medical procedures performed by an ophthalmologist.

A South African Eye Surgery Guide

The eye is an exceptionally fragile organ, so when eye surgery is needed a specialist eye doctor called an ophthalmologist will be called on to perform the procedure. This is not only because of the extensive knowledge of the eye needed to perform repairs and even in some cases removals of the eye but also to ensure that the eye specialist performing the ocular surgery does not cause any further damage to either the eye or the adnexa of the eye.


Did You Know? Some of the earliest references to eye surgery in history date back to 1800 BC, with cataract surgeries being mentioned in historical Roman texts 500 years before the birth of Christ! 


Can Eye Surgery be Performed in a Doctors Room?


Although many eye surgery procedures can indeed be performed by an ophthalmologist outside of a surgical theatre, it must be remembered that anaesthesia is an essential part of the surgical process due to the fact that the eye contains an abundance of nerves and is one of the most sensitive organs in the human body. This means that although eye surgery can be done outside of a hospital environment the precautions and preparations undertaken by an ophthalmologist and their nursing staff will be similar to those found in a hospital, which include sterilisation of the operating area using proven antiseptics such as Povidone-iodine. 


The following anaesthesia options are used during eye surgery depending on the operation being performed:


Topical Anaesthesia: This is performed using a lidocaine topical gel and is generally used for non-invasive as well as quick eye surgery procedures.

Local Anaesthesia: This is the most commonly used form of anaesthesia as it can be used to induce an almost total absence of sensation in a specific area of the eye or the adnexa of the eye.

General Anaesthesia: This is used for most traumatic eye injuries and major orbitotomy procedures, but is also recommended for any eye surgery being performed on children or on patients who suffer from anxiety or apprehension.


Types of Eye Surgery Performed in South Africa


Below is a short description of some of the most common forms of eye surgery performed in South Africa. Although by no means an exhaustive list each topic is covered in more detail on an individual page found on this eyes surgery website. Please feel free to click through to the relevant page you are looking for more information on any specific eye surgery procedure you are wanting more information on.


Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is the medical process of removing the eye's crystalline lens in cases where age, trauma or disease have caused an opacification of the lens which in turn prevents light from forming a clear image on the retina. To ensure an improvement in eyesight after the medical procedure is performed the eyes natural lens is replaced by a plastic intraocular lens during the operation. Cataract surgery is the most widely performed eye surgery procedure not just here in South Africa but globally.


For more information please visit the Cataract Surgery Page.


Glaucoma Surgery

Glaucoma Surgery is a surgical process which is used to treat diseases of the optic nerve. There are numerous different types of Glaucoma Surgery which are often performed to lower raised intraocular pressure. This is often done by facilitating the escape of excess aqueous humor from the eye or by reducing the production of aqueous humor in the eye.


For more information please visit the Glaucoma Surgery Page.


Laser Refractive Surgery

Laser Refractive surgery is one of the most often performed corrective eye surgery procedures performed and it is used to correct errors of refraction in the eye. This reducing and in some cases can even eliminate the need for any type of corrective lens use. Popular forms of refractive surgery include the laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis or LASIK procedure as well as the laser-assisted sub-epithelial keratomileusis or LASEK procedure (which is sometimes called an Epi-LASIK procedure).


For more information please visit the Laser Refractive Surgery Page.


Corneal Surgery

Corneal surgery includes a number of eye surgery procedures and includes almost all refractive surgery, as well as corneal transplant surgery, keratoprosthesis, pterygium excision and corneal grafting.


For more information please visit the Corneal Surgery Page.


Vitreoretinal Surgery

Vitreoretinal surgery, like corneal surgery, includes numerous different eye surgery procedures such as vitrectomy, pan-retinal photocoagulation, retinal detachment repair, macular hole repair as well as partial lamellar sclerouvectomy, sclerocyclochoroidectomy and sclerochoroidectomy. Radial optic neurotomy and macular translocation surgery are also types of vitreoretinal surgery.


For more information please visit the Vitreoretinal Surgery Page.


Eye Muscle Surgery

Eye muscle surgery is one of the most common eye surgery procedures performed by an ophthalmologist and is typically used to correct strabismus conditions which cause the eyes to not align properly. It includes both eye muscle loosening and tightening procedures.

For more information please visit the Eye Muscle Surgery Page.

Oculoplastic Surgery

Oculoplastic surgery is an ophthalmological specialisation which deals with the reconstruction of the eye as well as its associated ancillary structures. These eye surgery procedures are performed by oculoplastic surgeons and are used to repair both cosmetic eye and structural issues such as the repair of droopy eyelids, the repair of tear duct obstructions, orbital fracture repairs and the removal of tumours.

For more information please visit the Oculoplastic Surgery Page.

Eye Surgery References

Ophthalmologic Surgery

The History of Ophthalmology

Dr. Z Aleksic M.D (BGD), F.C.S (SA) Ophth

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