The Ophthalmology Department at Vall d'Hebron University Hospital offers comprehensive care for people with disorders of the eye and surrounding organs. We are pioneers in several ocular pathologies, and can treat all sorts of eye pathologies in patients from Catalonia and from elsewhere in Spain. We are also responsible for a significant amount of teaching and research.
The mission of the Ophthalmology Department is to improve the health and quality of life of people with eye diseases.
Portfolio of services
We have a team of professionals who are experts in the various sub specialities of our field:
- Treatment and surgery of diseases of the ocular and cornea surface, including corneal transplants and cornea surgery using femtolaser. Ours is the leading public hospital in Catalonia in number of corneal transplants, and 70% of these transplants are done using the posterior lamellar technique, which offers faster recovery of vision, less astigmatism, and presents a lower risk of rejection.
- Surgery and treatment of palpebral, oculoplastic and orbital pathologies, including orbital oncology.
- Surgery and medical treatment of retinal pathologies of all kinds, including retinal detachment surgery. Our department has been a leading pioneer in Catalonia and Spain in the development of new surgical techniques in retina surgery.
- Surgery to treat trauma and repair ocular, orbital, palpebral and annex organs.
- Care for all paediatric ophthalmology pathologies, including oncology, traumatology and retinopathy in premature babies.
- Surgery and treatment of glaucoma, both in adults and paediatric patients, with the use of new techniques with next-generation valvular systems for the treatment of complex cases.
- Neuroopthalmology and surgery and treatment of adult strabismus, including the use of botulinum toxin.
- Ocular inflammatory pathology and uveitis of all kinds, both anterior and posterior, with medical and surgical treatment.
- Lens surgery, from cataract surgery to surgery for all kinds of complications involving the anterior pole
This focus on subspecialties increases the accuracy of diagnosis and treatment, and allows us to guarantee the highest levels of quality.
Every year, 5,500 surgical operations are performed and 95,000 patients visit the Department, with 26,000 initial visits and 68,000 subsequent visits, as well as 21,000 emergency cases being treated. Our level of activity is constantly growing, but personalised, patient-focused treatment remains our defining feature.
The Ophthalmology Department is integrated as a Teaching Unit at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), and the ophthalmology professor is José García-Arumí, Head of the Ophthalmology Department. Several staff members from our Department are also professors there (Dr Vicente Martinez Castillo and Dr Miguel Angel Zapata), and we also host associate doctors and interns from the UAB.
The teaching at the Ophthalmology Department covers undergraduate teaching with theoretical classes, seminars and placements with the Department, postgraduate teaching with resident medical doctors studying our Department’s specialty, as well as rotations with resident doctors from other hospitals. It is also worth highlighting the continuous training we offer our staff, with clinical sessions, conferences organised at our centre and active participation in national and international conferences.
Doctorate courses are taught and doctoral theses supervised every year.
The protocols we have in place for clinical activity and monitoring of patients has led to publications in highly prestigious national and international reviews, alongside our participation in clinical trials with new treatments for the various subspecialties we treat.
The basic Ophthalmology research group, which is made up of an interdisciplinary team of clinicians and basic researchers, focuses on researching new therapies for treating the most common neurodegenerative diseases of the retina, such as diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration associated with age and pigmented retinosis.
The projects we are currently working on focus on the study of different strategies, such as cell therapy with stem cells, gene therapy for the expression of curative genes and pharmacological therapies with antiangiogenic and antioxidant factors. These research projects mainly involve basic research work carried out at the Ophthalmology Laboratory, located at the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR), as well as the development of preclinical trials through the use of animal experimentation, carried out at the VHIR Animal Facility. All this work has led to multiple presentations and publications in renowned journals.
The constant search for excellence is part of Hospital Vall d’Hebron’s nature. The biggest hospital in Catalonia and the leader in many fields, headed since February 2015 by Dr. Vicenç Martínez Ibáñez, who has a close personal and professional relationship with the Hospital. Dr. Martínez Ibáñez says that if Vall d’Hebron did not exist, it would need to be invented. The current director trained at the hospital, where he was one of the protagonists of an historic moment: the first paediatric liver transplant in Spain. Now, he is committed to continuing this legacy and, always putting the patient first, achieving excellence across all staff.
The Neonatology Department’s Sibling Project is a workshop for the siblings of new-born babies admitted to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit in the Vall d’Hebron Maternity and Children's Hospital. Through simulated games and situations, the project prepares them to get used to seeing their younger siblings in a hospital medical setting.
Vall d’Hebron University Hospital’s kitchen serves more than 1,000 meals a day, twice a day, not counting breakfast. A reality that José Parrilla and Carmina Esteban know all too well.From three kitchens to one and from coal to gas. That is how the hospital’s catering service has evolved. A place where the needs of each patient must be taken into account and where there is room for small, juicy anecdotes.
The former head of the Thoracic Surgery Department, Dr. Mercè Canela, recently retired, recalls the important evolution of the Department to become a leader in Spain and a lung transplant pioneer. A task made possible thanks to collaboration with professionals from other departments, an added value in the personal and team environment.
Rosalia Moure arrived at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in 1967. She spent her entire working life in the linen and laundry department of the Hospital. Rosalia Moure has witnessed the Hospital’s big transformations, from dictatorship to democracy and from analogue to digital systems.
Dr. Josep Sánchez de Toledo Codina, head of the Paediatric Haematology and Oncology Department, tells us about a Department that has laid the foundations for the specialism in Spain. He also remembers the evolution of transplants from haematopoietic stem cells and progenitors, from the beginning, buying the material at a shop in Barcelona city centre, to the more than 1,200 transplants that have now been performed.