HPA Magazine 6
Our Ophthalmology service has a history that is intertwined with the Hospital Particular do Algarve. In effect, it has always been a specialty that is the very the essence of the creation of the HPA Group in regard to technological innovation and surgical procedures, also constituting a pillar of the development of Health Tourism since the beginning. Twenty years later, the Ophthalmology department is again casting its glow, with the renovation of its physical and technological structures as well as human resources, but above all for the wide reach of the services and subspecialties now available.
Ophthalmology was one of the first specialties to be structured into the Hospital Particular de Alvor, back in May of 1996. At that time, a partnership was created with a group of Portuguese-Swiss professionals who came up with the brand and image of AIRES – Algarve International Refractive Eye Surgery – coinciding with the worldwide launch of the new Laser equipment in the field of ophthalmology. The team received patients mostly from Holland, Switzerland and Germany, who were operated on with great success with Lasik technique for myopia, astigmatism or hyperopia.
Throughout the years, the specialty has evolved and grown to new areas of intervention, and now the moment has come for the department in its original unit, the Hospital de Alvor, to be reinvigorated in terms of human resources and technology.
Ophthalmology consultations are still given on the ground floor of the original building, but with double the number of consultation rooms. This physical increase will significantly improve the external and outpatient consultations, but above all, the viability to have consultations of subspecialties. It will now be possible to open specialized consultations in Pediatric Ophthalmology, Oculoplasty, Retinal Medicine and Ocular Diabetes.
These new areas will have the support of previously nonexistent complementary diagnostic exams and treatment, an aspect that will also permit a substantial reinforcement in the safety and precision of the diagnosis, treatment and, of course, screenings. This equipment will increase the capacity of OCTs (optical coherence tomography), angiography and retinography.
Outpatient surgery has also increased consistently in the past few years, with an increase of around 120%, especially for the areas mentioned above. We believe that with this restructuring of the department, this increase will continue to be felt, especially in the fields of oculoplasty, retina detachment and vitreoretinal surgery. It is important to remember that 90% of these surgeries are done with topical anesthesia, with enormous satisfaction for the patients and, up to now, without any complications. This methodology brings advantages for both safety and the speed of the procedure.
The availability of human resources is equally stronger. At the moment, the clinical staff numbers 18 ophthalmologists, some with highly specialized and varied expertise. This increase will be reflected in a positive way in the effectiveness of outpatient service and surgery, but also in the area of 24-hour service, namely in summer, when there is an exponential increase in services.
The alterations to the Ophthalmology department could not have had a better time frame; to be renovated and surpass itself in its 20th year.