The job of an ophthalmologic surgeon is to use his or her education in performing necessary surgery on all parts of the eye. These medical professionals often see patients of all ages, though some may choose to specialize in specific areas, such as pediatric ophthalmology. While there are many types of eye surgeries an ophthalmologic surgeon can perform, the majority of them are needed for disorders or dysfunctions, including to repair damaged eye muscles, remove cataracts, and possibly to treat eye cancers. During every surgery, there are specific requirements that must be met in terms of the operating room layout, the tools to be used, and how anesthesia is administered.
This type of eye doctor usually sees and treats all types of patients from every age group. These patients typically fall into one of two groups: those who need surgery to repair damage caused by an eye disease such as cataracts or glaucoma and those who choose to have their vision corrected surgically to forgo the use of contacts and glasses. In every case, the health of the patient and the health of the eyes must be carefully evaluated before surgery is performed.
There are several types of eye surgery an ophthalmologic surgeon is capable of performing. One of the most common is refractive surgery, which is performed to change the shape of the eye's cornea using lasers. This surgery is used to correct the patient's vision and is only performed on healthy eyes unaffected by disease. Another type of surgery commonly performed is laser photocoagulation, which is used to treat age-induced macular degeneration by burning blood vessels to halt leakage from abnormal blood vessels in the eye. Additionally, a trabeculectomy is performed to treat glaucoma or an imbalance of the pressure between the anterior and posterior chambers of the eye by using lasers to unblock the canal of Schlemm to allow for easier flow of the aqueous humor.
When an ophthalmologic surgeon sets to work, the operating room is equipped with nurses, an anesthesiologist, and assorted medical equipment. For most eye surgeries, the patient is only given a local anesthetic and remains awake, though sedated, through the procedure. For certain procedures, the patient may be asked to focus on a specific place, usually indicated by a light on a microscope. As with any surgery, the patient's blood pressure and heart rate, along with oxygen levels, will be monitored throughout the procedure. Ophthalmologic surgeries can last from a few minutes to several hours depending on the complexity of the procedure.