What Type of Doctor Removes Cataracts?
Millions of people worldwide suffer from cataracts, a condition that causes blurry or cloudy vision in one or both eyes. Over 24.4 million Americans over 40 years old have cataracts — that’s 1 in 6, and one of the first things those with cataracts will learn is that the only true solution to cataracts is cataract surgery.
You might be wondering: Who can even perform this surgery? Where do I turn?
The answer is pretty simple. Ophthalmologists are the only type of doctor qualified and capable of removing cataracts, although your regular eye doctor can help you manage the symptoms. While optometrists do specialize in caring for eyes, it’s the comprehensive medical education and surgical training received by an ophthalmologist that enables them to perform cataract surgery.
With Daniel Sambursky, M.D., you have access to a highly trained and experienced ophthalmologist when you elect to have cataract surgery with us. Read on to learn more about this simple but life-changing procedure.
What are Cataracts?
A cataract affects your eye’s lens. The lens is the transparent tissue that sits behind the pupil, the iris, and the cornea. These structures work together to let light into the eye, which is turned into images by the lens and transmitted to the brain.
Cataracts typically occur naturally over time, as the tissue in the lens starts to break down. Precise arrangements of proteins slip out of alignment, and the lens becomes stiffer and, in turn, cloudy. When cataracts are farther along in their development, they can affect our ability to see clearly.
While cataracts can be caused by certain diseases or physical injuries to the eye, aging is the most common cause. Cataracts are signaled by cloudy or blurry vision. However, symptoms of cataracts can also include issues with color, contrast, glare, perception of light and dark, and double vision. These issues range from barely noticeable to vision-threatening.
What Kinds of Doctors Treat Eyes?
To understand who to trust for cataract surgery, you have to understand the different types of eye care professionals.
There are two types of “eye doctors”: ophthalmologists and optometrists. There are also opticians, who don’t have a medical degree, but work with your vision as well. In their own ways, each one can help you maintain your eye health and manage cataracts as they develop.
What is an Ophthalmologist?
Ophthalmologists are Medical Doctors (M.D.) or Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) who specialize in eyes and eye surgery. They’ve finished medical school, at least 4 years of residency, and likely several internships and on-the-job experiences before practicing on their own. They’re fully licensed to provide medical diagnoses, prescriptions, management, and treatment for eye diseases, all on top of general eye exams. Ophthalmologists can also perform surgeries, but different doctors are trained to specialize in different areas.
What is an Optometrist?
Optometrists are Optometric Doctors (O.D.) who receive education and training specifically in eye health. Optometry school is a 4-year, post-grad program. They provide eye exams, eye condition diagnoses, and vision prescriptions. Because they don’t have the medical training of an ophthalmologist, though, they can only give limited medical and surgical treatment.
What is an Optician?
Opticians don’t have medical degrees. Instead, they earn a degree from a 1 to 2-year program or a certification from an in-house apprenticeship with an ophthalmologist or optometrist. They’re mainly focused on your vision quality rather than eye health, working with your prescription, fitting glasses and contacts, and helping choose and customize eyewear.
What Kind of Doctor Does Cataract Surgery?
When the quality of your vision suffers due to the presence of one or more cataracts, ophthalmologists are the only doctors who can perform cataract surgery. This procedure involves removing your cataract(s) and replacing your natural lens with an intraocular lens, or IOL. It’s a highly specialized procedure that only those with a medical degree and the proper training are qualified to perform.
While ophthalmologists are the only doctors who remove cataracts, optometrists and opticians can still help you manage your cataracts. Optometrists can diagnose, track, and in some cases even evaluate you for cataract surgery, even if they can’t perform the surgery necessary to remove them. Opticians can help you find and fit eyewear that helps address blurry vision or diminished light-dark differentiation.
How Do I Choose a Doctor for Cataract Surgery?
When looking for an ophthalmologist for your cataract surgery, you should be looking for three simple things: experience, specialization, and comfort.
Daniel Sambursky, M.D., has performed over 25,000 cataract surgeries and was the first to adopt and perform several cataract surgery methods. When it comes to comfort, no one in New York’s Southern Tier provides the level of professional and personal care that Dr. Sambursky does.
For extraordinary eye surgery, IOLs suited to your needs, and industry-leading care, Dr. Sambursky is the ideal solution to your vision needs. Call (607) 766-9002 to learn more about what he can do for you.
“I feel like I have a huge weight lifted off me now that I don't have to wear contacts or glasses.”
HEATHER HEGEDUS, NEWS CHANNEL 34