The Ophthalmology Department at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital offers integrated care to all those with conditions that affect eyes and eye attachments. We act as a national reference in various ophthalmological pathologies, attending patients from both Catalonia and the rest of Spain. This care work is complemented by important teaching and research activity, which allows us to remain at the forefront of our specialty.
The aim of the Ophthalmology Department is to put all the material and human resources at our disposal into improving the eye health and quality of life of our patients.
The Ophthalmology Department's activity is conducted at various locations, depending on the different care activities, all of which are coordinated and directed by Dr José García-Arumí, Head of Department:
- Ophthalmology Department as such, located in the annexe on the third floor of the General Hospital.
- Ophthalmology Emergency Department: integrated into the Emergency Department of the General Hospital.
- Paediatric Ophthalmology Unit: located in the Maternity and Children's Hospital.
- Day Surgery Unit: located in the Parque Sanitario Pere Virgili. Also includes care activities and complementary ophthalmology tests.
- Outpatient Ophthalmology Units: spread across the Horta, Chafarinas and Sant Andreu outpatient clinics.
In turn, the Department's care work is structured into different sections, corresponding to each of the ophthalmology sub-specialties. In order to be able to offer more specialised care, in the context of a tertiary level hospital, we have a large team of professionals who are experts in the different sub-specialties:
- Corneal and Ocular Surface Section
- Glaucoma Section
- Retina Section
- Uveitis and Eye Inflammation Section
- Neuro-ophthalmology and Strabismus Section
- Oculoplastics and Orbital Surgery
- Paediatric Ophthalmology Unit
All the above sections interact with other departments or units at Vall d'Hebron Hospital in order to coordinate and agree on diagnostic and therapeutic decisions for patients who present pathologies involving different medical specialties. This is the case of the multi-disciplinary committees (Tumour Committee, Transplant Committee...), direct contact with other care services in specific cases (maxillofacial surgery, traumatology, plastic surgery, neurology, paediatric specialties, etc.), close contact with services involved in diagnostic (microbiology, pathological anatomy) or therapeutic (Blood and Tissue Bank) tasks and the participation of a doctor specialised in internal medicine in the tasks of diagnosis and treatment of ocular inflammatory processes (Dr Antonio Segura).
The Ophthalmology Department is a Teaching Unit of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). The academic chair is Dr José García-Arumí, Head of the Ophthalmology Department. In turn, several members of the Department are professors (Dr Tirso Alonso Alonso), associate professors or interns at the UAB.
The teaching activity of the Ophthalmology Department includes:
- Undergraduate teaching: theory classes, seminars and practical work completed by fourth-year students from the UAB Faculty of Medicine in our Department.
- Postgraduate teaching: resident interns learning their specialty in our Department, rotations of resident interns from other national and international hospitals, organisation and development of doctoral courses and management and tutoring of various doctoral theses.
- Continuous training of the different professionals that make up the Ophthalmology Department: clinical sessions, organisation of conferences within our Department and active participation in various national and international conferences in our specialty.
The protocolisation of clinical measures, patient follow-up and collecting the corresponding data has led to the publication of various works in high-prestige national and international journals and the participation in clinical trials and research studies on the most recent therapeutic techniques in the different sub-specialties.
The basic research group in Ophthalmology, made up of an interdisciplinary team of clinicians and basic researchers, focuses its activity on research into new therapies for the treatment of the main neurodegenerative diseases of the retina (such as diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa), ocular surface pathologies (dry eye syndrome, herpes keratitis and neurotrophic ulcers) and the repercussions at eye level of different systemic treatments.
The projects currently being conducted deal with studying different therapeutic strategies, such as cell therapy using stem cells, gene therapy for the expression of curative genes and pharmacological therapies with antiangiogenic factors and antioxidants. These research projects mainly involve basic research, conducted at the Ophthalmology Laboratory located at Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR), as well as the development of preclinical trials, using animal models for experimentation, which are conducted at the VHIR Animal Facility. All these products have led to multiple presentations and publications in high-impact journals.
Dou Saenz de Vizmanos
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.
Dr. Francesc Bosch, Head of the Haematology Department, talks about the complexity of the Department, which has turned Vall d’Hebron into a reference centre in haematology thanks to its commitment to transplants and the use of new treatments. The Clinical Trials Unit helps a lot, giving access to treatments for complex patients.
The Master's Degree in Biomedical and Translational Research is an official programme created to train researchers with the requisite combination of scientific knowledge and skills to contribute to the future success of biomedical research.
Fermín Fernández Álvarez, Porter Coordinator, explains the importance of the role these professionals play in the hospital. After 36 years at Vall d’Hebron, Fermín is a real master of the ways things are done. He says that a porter has to combine humility, discretion and safety with a single goal: that patients receive human and friendly treatment.