What Special Training Do Cataract Surgeons Need?

What Special Training Do Cataract Surgeons Need?

June 12th, 2024

When you need cataract surgery, it makes sense to want the most qualified person to perform the procedure. The very idea of eye surgery causes some anxiety for valid reasons!

You can rest assured that any eye doctor performing cataract surgery has undergone nearly a decade of comprehensive and rigorous training. Cataract surgeons must be board-certified to perform cataract surgery.

Keep reading to learn more about the special training needed to perform cataract surgery!

The Difference Between Optometrists and Ophthalmologists

There is often some confusion when it comes to the difference between optometrists and ophthalmologists. Their titles sound similar, but they have different training and offer different services. 

Optometrists are professionals who have four years of postgraduate training in vision care and primary health care for the eye. They can diagnose vision issues and prescribe glasses or contacts.

They are not trained to perform eye surgery. If you have been seeing an optometrist, you will be referred to an ophthalmologist if you need cataract surgery

Ophthalmologists are eye doctors who can diagnose and treat all eye and visual problems, including prescribing glasses and contacts, treating and preventing medical disorders of the eye, and performing eye surgery. Since ophthalmology is a medical specialty, it requires extensive, rigorous training.

The process of becoming an ophthalmologist starts with four years of medical school. During med school, all the students undergo the same training, regardless of which specialty they enter.

Your ophthalmologist took the same classes as a heart surgeon or brain surgeon at one point, but this doesn’t mean they are trained in brain or heart surgery. After medical school, doctors who decide they want to specialize in ophthalmology would then complete at least four years of additional specialized training.

This is the portion of their training where they focus on eye health and learn to perform eye surgery. 

Surgical Training

Ophthalmology students and residents learn cataract surgery from qualified, experienced surgeons. They study the process to understand what happens during surgery and why each step is necessary.

They observe procedures done by certified eye surgeons and then assist those surgeons before doing the procedures themselves. They always work under supervision to ensure patient safety as new doctors refine their surgical skills. 

Board Certification

Many ophthalmologists are certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO). Earning certification requires passing a rigorous two-part examination that assesses knowledge, experience, and skills.

To maintain their certification, all ophthalmologists must complete continuing medical education courses, participate in quality improvement activities, and pass periodic assessments. Board certification is an indication that your eye surgeon is highly trained and skilled and is up to date on the latest medical and surgical advances. 

If you have questions about your eye doctor’s training or qualifications, you should feel free to ask. A qualified ophthalmologist will share their background and explain their experience performing cataract surgery.

If necessary, you can ask for references from colleagues or patients to get a complete sense of their professional profile. Dr. Lee is a board-certified ophthalmologist specializing in corneal and refractive surgery.

He has extensive experience with cataract surgery. Dr. Lee provides all of his patients with a thorough consultation, and he can answer any questions during that appointment. 

Do you want to learn more about cataract surgery? Schedule an appointment at Laser Eye Center in Huntsville, AL, today!