Ophthalmology has advanced spectacularly over the last decades through many small advances that have allowed vision problems to have an increasingly less negative impact on people’s quality of life. Of all of them, we must highlight the intraocular injection drugs that make it possible to successfully treat many pathologies that previously required surgery and that constitute the great leap forward in the treatment of retinal diseases now and in the coming years.
With regard to surgery, one of the most important advances has come from the different types of lasers to assist an ever-increasing number of operations. A paradigmatic case is that of the femtosecond laser, which, in recent years, has been decisively incorporated into refractive surgery and which, just a few months ago, is greatly improving cataract surgery. The result of this and other surgical advances is that, today, we have increasingly more precise and minimal incision surgery, which improves visual results and, in addition, allows patients to recover more quickly. In any case, no matter how much technology advances, it does not replace knowledge, the first weapon we must have for a good treatment.
Other keys to the future are genetic research to discover the molecular bases of different ocular pathologies, gene therapies, which will become a reality in a few years, the development of slow-release intraocular drugs and, in the longer term, the electric retinal stimulator for blind patients. These are the most immediate challenges, but the great revolution, which has already begun, must take place in the way we understand health: we must move towards a model that gives much more importance to prevention.
Research and prevention are, from my point of view, the two great challenges and, for this reason, we have made them the two pillars of the IMO Foundation, which was set up two years ago by a group of IMO specialists. Through it, we are working intensively on prevention, on informing the population about what they should do to avoid certain eye diseases or, at least, to delay them or improve their prognosis.
In this line, healthy habits and periodic check-ups are the two main messages on which our preventive policy is based. This information must be transmitted to the entire population, especially to at-risk groups and to the medical community as a whole, in order to count on their collaboration and complicity.