The Myth of "Simple Surgery"
Do you remember when Cpt. Sully Sullenberger saved his passengers after a flock of geese hit his airplane? The important part of that story is not that Cpt Sullenberger knew how to fly under normal circumstances, it is that he knew what do to when everything went wrong. Think about that the next time you consult with a Surgeon.
Whether you are undergoing open-heart surgery or having “lumps and bumps” removed from around the eye, remember that every surgery is serious. Every surgery leaves a scar, and every surgery involves risk. To put it bluntly, there is no such thing as a simple surgery.
Like Sully, a medically trained, experienced Surgeon knows what to do when disaster strikes. Emergencies can and do happen. As a patient, you deserve to know that your Surgeon has the necessary years of training and experience to perform the surgery and handle emergencies.
During medical school and residency training, a future Surgeon learns to have a deep reverence for the body and for the diseases that can harm it. A skilled Eye Physician can make surgery look deceptively easy, but it never is easy.
Per Texas law, any breach of the tissue qualifies as surgery. This includes the use of scalpels, lasers, and needles. And per Texas law, only physicians such as Ophthalmologists may perform scalpel, laser, or needle surgery on or around the eye. The eye and eyelid are delicate organs – there is little margin for error.
Don’t underestimate a stye or cyst – that little “lump or bump” should be taken seriously as it could be masking a deeper disease such as a cancerous tumor. Only Physicians have the education, training and experience to safely perform surgery such as removing and examining tissue from around your eye. Remember that there is no such thing as a simple surgery.
What Is an Ophthalmologist?
An Ophthalmologist is a medically trained Physician (Doctor of Medicine, M.D., or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, D.O.) who specializes in the examination and treatment of the eyes.
To become an Ophthalmologist, one must attend medical or osteopathic school after college and serve an internship in general medicine. After the internship, the individual must complete a residency program in ophthalmology which is generally three years long and includes between 5,000 and 15,000 encounters with patients.
Though most Eye Physicians and Surgeons practice what is known as "general" or "comprehensive" ophthalmology, some choose to specialize in a particular part of the eye (such as the retina or the muscles around the eye) or type of condition or disease (such as glaucoma). If the Ophthalmologist wishes to specialize, he or she often must complete a fellowship of an additional year or more. Learn more here.