Eye diseases may affect the front part of the eye, such as the eyelid, conjunctiva or lens, or the rear section such as the retina or optic nerve. The function of the eye can be impaired by a malformation or refractive error such as an astigmatism. The eye may also be affected by systemic conditions: a rheumatic disease for example can dry out the mucous membranes in the eye, while diabetes can cause retinopathy. When treating diseases of the eye, ophthalmologists thus work closely together with specialists in other fields.
In Germany, the most common type of eye surgery – with over 650,000 procedures being performed each year – is cataract surgery. This involves replacing the lens affected by the cataract with an implant. Other ophthalmological procedures include glaucoma treatment and surgery of the cornea, vitreous body or retina. Surgery as an alternative to corrective lenses is also very popular, such as LASIK, PRK, LASEK and other types of laser surgery.