This site is intended for healthcare professionals
Ophthalmology Hero Image
Specialty hub


Containing dedicated Learning Zones, guidelines, trials and news for related conditions in Ophthalmology.
Read time: 5 mins
Last updated: 5th Sep 2023


Ophthalmology is the branch of medicine that relates to the study, diagnosis, and treatment of conditions that affect the eye.

What conditions affect the eye?

The most common eye conditions include refractive errors (for example, myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia), glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Common eye conditions that are apparent from a young age include amblyopia (lazy eye) and strabismus (ocular misalignment).

What eye conditions are inherited?

There are over 350 heritable eye conditions, with up to 60% of blindness among children caused by inherited eye disorders1. Genetic eye disorders include congenital cataracts, congenital glaucoma, and retinal dystrophies such as retinitis pigmentosa, Stargardt macular dystrophy and Usher syndrome.

How are eye conditions treated?

Eye conditions are treated by ophthalmologists who may specialise in one or more eye conditions. Treatments vary depending on the eye condition, and include strategies such as eyeglasses, prescription medications, surgery, photodynamic therapy, and laser therapy or laser eye surgery, amongst others. Gene therapy for eye conditions are also now available to help slow down and prevent blindness for some forms of inherited retinal dystrophies or degenerative eye conditions3.

Related Journal Articles


  1. Gilbert C, Foster A. Childhood blindness in the context of VISION 2020--the right to sight. Bull World Health Organ. 2001;79(3):227–32.
  2. Couser NL, Brooks BP, Drack AV, Shankar SP. The evolving role of genetics in ophthalmology. Ophthalmic Genet. 2021:1-4. doi: 10.1080/13816810.2020.1868011.
  3. Guimaraes TAC, Georgiou M, Bainbridge JWB, Michaelides M. Gene therapy for neovascular age-related macular degeneration: rationale, clinical trials and future directions. Br J Ophthalmol. 2021;105(2):151–157.