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Institut Comtal d'Oftalmologia (ICO)


Barcelona, Spain

Institut Comtal d'Oftalmologia (ICO) - Overview

Institut Comtal d’Oftalmología is a medical organisation specialising in visual health care that has been providing medical care in Barcelona for more than 25 years.


Today it comprises four different entities:

ICO 1: At Vía Augusta 61, where you will find our 24-hour, 365 days/year A&E department and our specialty and sub-specialty outpatient clinics.

ICO 2: At Vía Augusta 48, where our Optometry Services and Paediatric Ophthalmology Service are located.

CEM Clinic: At Balmes 253, where we have our Surgical Services and the Diagnostic Testing Service.

Fundación VER: Which manages all international cooperation and research activity.


Institut Comtal d’Oftalmología is ISO 9001 certified, a globally competitive health care facility.

Looking Out for Your Eyes

Institut Comtal d’Oftalmologia is the result of the ongoing efforts of many professionals, both medical and from other areas, with the aim of meeting their patients' expectations. Since the launch of its professional activity, this objective has been the basis of all strategic business decisions.

Institut Comtal d’Oftalmología offers an extensive list of services that accurately reflects the efforts of our organisation to cover a full spectrum of services within the field of ophthalmology in the present day.

1)  Outpatient clinics: where patients attend appointments for all specialties and sub-specialties:

Glaucoma Unit

Vitreoretinal Unit

Crystalline Lens (Cataract) Unit

Refractive Surgery Unit

Paediatric Ophthalmology Unit

Oculoplastic, Orbital and Reconstructive Surgery Unit

Ocular Genetics Unit

Neuro-Ophthalmology Unit

Cornea and Ocular Surface Unit

Ocular Trauma Unit

Uvea Unit

Optometry Unit

Contact Lens Unit

2)  24-hour A&E Department, 365 days a year: Continual care increases patient safety and peace-of-mind.

3)  Diagnostic Tests: All the latest diagnostic technology available in the field of ophthalmology.

IOLMaster Optical Biometer

Topcon Imagenet for Angiography/Retinography

Orbscan corneal topographer

CSO corneal topographer

HRTII Optic Nerve Head Analyser

CIRRUS OCT Optical Coherence Tomography system

Topcon corneal endothelial cell analyser

4)    Operating theatres: And we come full circle to our operating theatres located at our CEM Clinic. We have two Outpatient Major Surgery theatres and one theatre with our AMARIS excimer laser.


Frequently Asked Questions

Does someone have to come with me when I have surgery?

This is compulsory because since you will be having Outpatient Surgery, once the surgical discharge report has been signed by the attending doctor, your escort enters into our patient care protocols as a precaution.

While the patient is in the operating theatre, can the escort leave the Clinic?

Our patient care protocols recommend that the escort should remain at our clinic just in case any type of incident occurs.

Do I have to take all my clothes off to enter the eye surgery operating theatre?

You do not need to take everything off. You can leave your underwear on, except for bras with metal underwire in the case of female patients. You have to wear a blue paper gown that fastens at the back, shoe covers/booties over your socks and a white cap on your head to hold your hair out of the way. It is also recommended that you leave any jewellery (especially if an electric scalpel is to be used) and hearing aids with your escort or in the changing room locker, although we assess whether to leave one hearing aid in if your hearing is very poor without them.

Do I have to be admitted after the surgery?

No, at present most surgeries within the field of ophthalmology do not require hospital admission. The patient must be accompanied by an escort on the day of the operation and will be able to go home shortly after the surgery. This is known as Outpatient Surgery.

Is it possible that my eye will hurt during the operation? Will I be able to see out of the eye that is being operated on?

The objective of any operation is to eliminate or minimise feeling so that the experience is always satisfactory. However, if you notice any discomfort or if you feel nervous during the operation, please do not hesitate to let us know so that the anaesthesiologist can give you more anaesthetic or sedation. As there are different anaesthetic techniques, perceptions may vary. It is common to perceive lights, shadows and movements under the glare of the microscope light.

How do I know they will not operate on the wrong eye?

Many steps and procedures are followed to ensure that the correct eye is operated on during each operation. Revision of the digital medical record by the nurse, the anaesthesiologist and the surgeon himself ensures that everyone is aware of which eye is to be operated on. In addition, before entering the operating theatre, the skin on the eyelids, cheek and eyebrow is painted in the pre-anaesthetic room with an iodine-based antiseptic solution that is a dark brown colour. You are therefore 100% guaranteed that when you enter the operating theatre, nobody should be thinking about asking which eye is to be operated on.

Do I have to take my hearing aid out to enter the ophthalmic operating theatre?

In most cases, eye surgery is performed with the patient sedated but conscious so the patient will be able to communicate verbally with the theatre staff. The patient will need to be able to listen to the surgeon's instructions or the anaesthesiologist's questions about his health during the surgery. That is why we recommend that you still wear the hearing aid in the ear on the opposite side to the eye operation.

After the operation, will my eye hurt when I get home? What can I take?

You may possibly feel discomfort or even mild pain in your eye once you get home. If there is no contraindication, simply take one paracetamol or ibuprofen tablet and wait for it to have an effect.

If the pain is more intense or persists for more than one hour after taking the painkiller, we recommend that you come in to our A&E Department or at least call us to explain your symptoms.  In most cases, the problem tends to be fairly minor but early diagnosis of high eye pressure, inflammation or any superficial injury will allow us to treat the problem successfully without serious consequences.

How soon can I eat after the eye operation?

As soon as you leave the clinic, you can consume both fluids and solids. You may be hungry due to fasting prior to the operation but we recommend that you avoid heavy meals and alcoholic beverages until the following day.

How should I sleep after the eye surgery?

You can generally rest or sleep by lying face-up or on the side that was not operated on. After certain surgical procedures, you may be recommended to sleep propped up on pillows to prevent inflammation. In most cases, your eye will be protected with a plastic shield so that no pressure is put on the eye. Following operations for retinal detachment with intraocular gas, you may be told to adopt a special posture and you should follow the instructions given to your relatives by the retina surgeon as documented in the report given to you upon leaving the clinic.

Is the eye covered up after the eye operation?

The need to use a dressing on the recently operated eye usually depends on the type of anaesthetic used. If the operation is performed under topical anaesthetic (drops), as is the case for many cataract surgeries, your eye will not need to be covered, although it is a good idea to protect it from any type of bump or pressure using a clear plastic shield. Following operations requiring anaesthesia of the eyeball, as in the case of retinal or glaucoma surgery etc., it is necessary that the eye is protected and closed with an antibiotic ointment. The eye may remain half-open for a few hours, which could cause major problems if a suitable dressing is not used.

Will I be admitted to the clinic after the eye operation?

These days, eye surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis, i.e. the patient goes home approximately 1 hour after the surgery. Your surgeon will give you instructions on the Surgical Discharge Report that you must follow, including administration of eye drops or other treatments and necessary recommendations. For most operations, a check-up visit will be scheduled for the following day.

How long will it take to regain clear vision after my pupil has been dilated?

Four to six hours, depending on each person......and also on the drops being administered. Dilating drops can have two effects: they can make the pupil larger and they can paralyse the near-distance focusing muscle (ciliary muscle). That is why strong light is more uncomfortable and it is harder to read under the effects of these drops. When maximum dilation of the pupil is not required, we use tropicamide eye drops as sight is then regained in less than 3 hours in most cases.  Cycloplegic eye drops (cyclopentolate) are stronger and have a longer-lasting dilating effect. For children, we use other longer-lasting drops, which generally last for 12 hours. The effects of atropine eye drops may take 1-2 days to wear off.

If I am given eye drops to dilate my pupil, can I drive?

Although the effects may be mild and short-lived in most cases, prudence should prevail. It is recommended that you do not drive or operate heavy machinery until the effects of the drops have worn off. You should ask about the estimated duration of the effects based on the type and amount of drops administered. We therefore always recommend that you are accompanied to the clinic by someone who can drive whenever you have an appointment for a diagnostic test or dilated fundus examination.

Are the tests done at ICO or CEM confidential?

All documents and tests carried out on the patient at our centres are completely confidential and private in compliance with the LOPD (Spanish Personal Data Protection Act). If your doctor is interested in using any of your images or test data exclusively for scientific purposes, you will be asked explicitly for your written permission. The patient's anonymity is always guaranteed when using clinical documents for scientific purposes.

I am going to move house. Can I get a copy of my previous tests?

Documents are saved in our databases so patients can come and collect a copy of their tests at any time.


  • Personal escort available
  • Visa arrangements
  • Electronic medical records
  • Insurance coordination


  • ISO 9001


  • Arabic
  • English
  • French
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Italian
  • Romanian


  • Doctors have liability insurance
  • Hospital has liability insurance


  • Number of doctors: 35
  • Year established: 1989
The data provided in this page was collected from the Institut Comtal d'Oftalmologia (ICO)  website ( , and other internet sources. last updated on Apr 6, 2016.
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