The global visual health community is looking at Barcelona. Fira de Barcelona is hosting the World Ophthalmology Congress (WOC) for the first time (the second time in Spain) from 17 to 19 June. Founded in 1857, it is the oldest international medical congress and the most important in its field.

This year, on the occasion of its 36th edition, it hopes to bring more than 10,000 eye specialists from 140 countries together and has a first-rate science programme with 350 sessions and 70 conferences on innovation, along with training programmes for the latest technology for surgery and testing.

Among these, there is the 3D Live Surgery conference hosted by the experts at Barcelona’s Clinica Barraquer, which will show new techniques and instruments for corneal transplants and operations for cataracts, with refractive, micro-invasive and vitreoretinal surgery.

More prevention

Nearly three out of four Spaniards (72%) suffer visual impairment, especially after the age of 45. Even so, according to a study by the Clinica Baviera, 21% of the population have never had their eyes tested.

Uncorrected refractive errors (myopia, hypermetropia or astigmatism) (53% of cases), followed by untreated cataracts (25%) and glaucoma (8%) are the main pathologies that cause visual impairment and blindness worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Today there are 36 million blind people in the world and more than 80% of cases of visual impairment can be avoided or cured.

This is why experts insist on the importance of prevention in eye health, by visiting the ophthalmologist once a year, protecting your eyes from the sun and electronic devices, keeping your eyes moist and eating sensibly.

Barcelona, ciudad de oftalmólogos

Barcelona has a solid tradition in ophthalmology. It has been a centre for renowned professionals and the home of some of the best-known specialist centres, receiving patients from around the world.

Among them was doctor Ignasi Barraquer (1884-1965) who set up his famous clinic, the Clínica Barraquer, in 1941. His sons Joaquim (1927-2016) and Josep (1916-1998) continued their father’s tradition and were succeeded by his grandchildren, Elena and Rafael Ignasi.

In 1968 Josep Barraquer founded the Clínica Barraquer in Bogotà, Colòmbia, which is a reference in South America. His family continue to manage the clinic and school of ophthalmology there.

The Arruga family are another important dynasty in the field of ophthalmology. Their history began with Eduard Arruga, continued with his son Hermenegild (1886-1972), his grandson Alfred (1920-2008) and great-grandson Jordi.

Besides the Clínica Barraquer, Barcelona is also the home of other leading centres such as the Institute of Ocular Microsurgery, the Catalan Retina Institute, the Vall d’Hebron hospital and outstanding names such as Borja Corcóstegui or García Arumí, among many others.

M.G.D. / R. P.