You may have routine eye exams performed by your optometrist, but when it is time to address your cataracts, you will need to choose a doctor that is specifically trained in eye surgeries. You will need to select an ophthalmologist. An ophthalmologist is a physician that is trained in routine, medical and surgical treatment of eye diseases and conditions. It is important to select a surgeon that is an experienced refractive cataract surgeon in order to achieve the best possible outcome. When evaluating a surgeon, you should prepare a list of questions for your doctor and the staff.
1. Is the doctor a board certified ophthalmologist? What professional organizations does this surgeon belong to? How long have they been in practice?
Check their credentials. You will want to choose a surgeon who has been in practice long enough to have honed surgical skills but not so long that they have become complacent and are not keeping up with the latest in surgical advances and technology.
2. Is the ophthalmologist dedicated to offering patients the latest in refractive cataract surgical techniques? Do they offer a small incision, no-stitch, minimally invasive procedure such as QuickVision Advanced Cataract Surgery Technique which allows for a faster return to daily activities? Is your doctor proficient in the latest technology such as crystalens® Accommodating Intraocular Lenses and Acrysof IQ ReSTOR® and Tecnis Multifocal™ Intraocular Lenses?
While all patients are not candidates for all types of Intraocular Lenses, if you have been determined to be a candidate for a Lifestyle Intraocular Lens your doctor should be able to offer you choices to optimize your visual outcome.
3. Do you feel at ease with the surgeon? Are they able and willing to spend the time to answer all of your questions thoroughly? Do they personally take time to talk to you and address your concerns?
Your doctor should be able to speak to you candidly and openly about any concerns or fears that you may have going into the surgery as well as be available to you following the surgery.
4. Is your doctor available for you after hours should questions or concerns arise?
Your doctor should live and work in the community that they serve and have 24-hour availability for their patients. They should be able to serve their patients should any ocular emergency arise even if it is unrelated to the cataract surgery.
5. Is your doctor’s staff knowledgeable and friendly? Is there a dedicated individual to help walk you through the preoperative process?
There should be an individual in the office that is your contact person when scheduling your surgery and any pre and postoperative care. This person should be helpful, courteous and able to address any question or concerns that you may have.
Board certified ophthalmologist, David R. Pernelli, MD of the Eye Institute of South Jersey, PC, states, “Choosing the right eye surgeon is the single most important decision affecting the outcome of your surgery.”