One of the most beautiful aspects of the cataract surgery procedure is that no two surgeons do exactly the same thing. Despite recent advances in surgical tools and automation, cataract surgery is still a highly personalized creative and artistic endeavor. Each surgeon places a unique style and signature on his or her patients’ eyes. We all have different levels of experience, training, and talents, and we all use similar yet different instruments and machines to accomplish the same goal.
Cataract surgery around the world still ranges from the higher risk and still frequently performed extracapsular procedure, which can take up to an hour, to the highly automated 3-minute laser cataract surgery procedure, with patients’ recovery to 20/20 UCVA within hours. Regardless of where you fall along this surgical spectrum, all surgeons are aligned in that we are all doing the best we can with the skills and tools we have available to us to help patients see better. Additionally, we are all trying to be better, case by case, day by day, year by year.
A series of articles in this issue is intended to help us all look behind the curtain at what some of the most talented, efficient, and successful cataract surgeons in the United States are doing in the OR and the tools that they are using to do what they do. The hope is that by not just watching their surgery, but also hearing directly from the them about the tools and tricks they use, we may all benefit from their wisdom. This cover series is not intended to dictate what is right or wrong, but rather to elucidate what is working in their hands to allow them to be the highly efficient and successful surgeons they are.
There are very few surgeons who have risen to the level at which they can perform 80 to 100 cataract surgeries per week safely, efficiently, with compassion, and with repeatable near-perfect outcomes for their patients. Those rare surgeons who are capable of performing 5,000 cases or more per year truly have a competence and a gift that is to be respected, admired, and learned from. Hopefully the pearls and knowledge that our authors share in this issue will help us all in our endeavors to become better surgeons. Their generosity in letting us take a peek behind the curtain is a symbol of their dedication to their craft and their desire to have an impact on more patients than those they can help directly with their own hands.