The history of the Ostschweizerische Pleoptik und Orthoptik Schule in St. Gallen
In judging the achievements of Alfred Bangerter in treatment and research of amblyopia it is easy to conclude that his pleoptic exercises have been forgotten because occlusion therapy is more effective and cheaper. However, Bangerter introduced the visuscope to determine the point of fixation directly on the retina, he started the first “school” (exercise treatment facility) for pleoptics and orthoptics in St. Gallen only 18 years after Mary Maddox did so in London and he started a training program for orthoptists. In 1957 the Genossenschaft Ostschweizerische Pleoptik-und Orthoptik-Schule, the OPOS Society, was founded, that in the following years built a clinic especially for the treatment of amblyopia. The idea was to treat children not in a clinic but in a home for children that offered optimal treatment but also adequate lodging and care for the children with amblyopia. The Cantonal government contributed by donating a right to build on the premises of the Cantonal Hospital. The new OPOS Clinic measured more than 500 square meters, had 4 floors and a cellar, and contained outpatient treatment facilities, two operating theatres, patient bedrooms, pleoptic and orthoptic exercise rooms with many devices and classrooms for orthoptic students. There were 56 beds for children. After Bangerter retired as chief physician of the Eye Clinic in 1974, he continued and expanded his clinical and surgical activity in the OPOS Clinic next to the Eye Clinic. After his successor in the OPOS Clinic retired in 1987, the OPOS Foundation sold the OPOS Clinic to the Canton that reintegrated it into the Eye Clinic. In the meantime, Bangerter had continued to pursue his ideal of amblyopia treatment and built a new clinic in Heiden in the neighbouring Canton Appenzell Ausserrhoden, for pleoptics, orthoptics, strabismus surgery, plastic eye surgery, but also for controversial treatments for macular degeneration and other retinal disorders. This Rosenberg Clinic opened in 1982 but Bangerter already stepped down in April 1983 and opened a day clinic in the Rosenbergstrasse in St. Gallen some years later instead. Strangely enough, one of the reasons he had moved to the Rosenberg Clinic was that he insisted on lengthy clinical stays for the treatment of amblyopia, but exactly that was one of the main causes of financial problems.
|Persistent URL||dx.doi.org/10.1080/09273972.2019.1602304, hdl.handle.net/1765/121175|
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Simonsz, H.J. (2019). The history of the Ostschweizerische Pleoptik und Orthoptik Schule in St. Gallen. Strabismus (London), 27(2), 114–119. doi:10.1080/09273972.2019.1602304