Education & Training
Sure… it takes hard work and brains to get into any medical school. But getting into a top-tier medical school is even more difficult. The same goes for residency training programs. The top-ranked Ophthalmology residency programs are extremely difficult to get accepted to. Residency training is a crucial period of learning and developing skills. Doctors know that the quality of education & training at top-ranked programs will prepare them well for their future as practicing surgeons.
While Education & Training alone are not enough on their own to qualify someone as a “Best Surgeon in America”… it is a good foundation & indicator that they have sustained a high level of achievement over a long period of time.
Pictured above: Top Ranked Ophthalmology Residency Programs.
There are two main aspects we consider when considering a surgeon’s Experience — Quantity & Quality:
1.) Surgeons are required to have at least 5 years of experience in clinical practice after the completion of their residency training to be Eligible.
Why do we set the cut-off at 5 years? When we consider the learning curve of the cataract surgeon, most residency trainees are required to perform approximately 100 cataract surgeries in their training. No one would consider a surgeon to be an expert on their first day of unsupervised surgery after completing their residency training. It takes about 5 years for many cataract surgeons to get their first 1,000 cases completed. For reference, 1,000 unsupervised cases are over 10 times the number of cases it takes to complete an accredited ophthalmology residency training program. In our opinion, this is an appropriate level of experience after which an otherwise exceptional individual who focuses his or her practice on cataract surgery can achieve a level of expertise to be eligible for consideration.
Since it takes 4 years of practice after medical school to complete an ophthalmology residency program, and we require at least 5 additional years of independent practice after the completion of residency, this means that physicians on our list must be in their 10th year of practice after medical school.
2.) In addition to the “Quantity” of the surgeon’s experience, we consider the “Quality” of the surgeon’s experience as even more important.
All great surgeons learn from great mentors, and spending years in a reputable practice with highly-respected senior mentors speaks volumes about the surgeon under consideration. Being able to discuss techniques, challenging patients, and advances in research & technology with expert colleagues on a daily basis makes doctors better.
Cataract surgeons also improve the quality of care they provide patients by being members of professional societies. Maintaining active membership in societies such as the ‘American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery’ & the ‘Refractive Surgery Alliance’, as well as maintaining certification from the ‘American Board of Ophthalmology’, are key indicators that a surgeon is remaining up-to-date with the best practices in modern cataract surgery.
There are two aspects to how we evaluate a surgeon’s reputation:
1.) Peer Recommendations
We value the input of recognized experts in cataract surgery across the country. When we receive a recommendation for a surgeon from a trusted leader in the field, we take it seriously.
2.) Patient feedback
It’s not enough to be beloved by other doctors… it’s perhaps even more important to be beloved by patients. We monitor the online reviews of surgeons. We expect them to have stellar reviews, and less-than-stellar reviews count against them. We also invite patients to send us feedback about their surgeon. We want to know directly from patients about excellent surgeons deserving to be named a “Best Cataract Surgeon”, as well as those who may have underperformed expectations.
Technology & Equipment
“A carpenter is only as good as his tools.”
Modern cataract surgery relies on a multitude of expensive, state-of-the-art technologies. Surgeons who aren’t truly specialized in cataract surgery often simply can’t afford the financial investment required to stay up-to-date. Various crude forms of cataract surgery have been performed for hundreds of years… and trust us… you don’t want those.
Being up-to-date with state-of-the-art equipment, such as modern lens implants, microscopes, and diagnostic equipment, is an indicator that your surgeon is a true specialist in cataract surgery, and has the tools to deliver to you the gift of great vision. A surgeon that does not offer state-of-the-art technology can simply not achieve the same outcomes as an expert surgeon who does.
Quality Of Overall Practice
“You’re only as strong as your weakest link.”
While the individual surgeon is important, there are many other people involved in the delivery of your eye care who are critical to the success of your surgery.
From the front desk staff to the technicians, counselors, and surgery center staff… and the list goes on… Many expert cataract surgeons also practice closely with optometrists who often provide much of the routine post-operative care. Your surgeon may also have partners in their practice with who they share on-call & emergency responsibilities. It takes a dedicated, high-performance team to deliver high quality modern cataract surgery outcomes.
Your experience as a patient, and the success of your surgery, depends on all of these people. Surgeons who are considered the “Best in America” are expected to be leaders and take responsibility for all of the members of their organization. It takes an exceptional team to provide exceptional surgical care. In our assessment of surgeons, we expect their entire team to be outstanding.
Feedback From You!
Our organization & this website are designed to advocate for patients to get the highest quality in their cataract surgery… so naturally, we take your feedback seriously. If you’ve had a good or bad experience with a surgeon… tell us about it.
Who Are The Best Cataract Surgeons Near You?