In 1987 Dr. Alan Mendelsohn was a newly minted graduate of the fellowship training program at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami. That year he opened his ophthalmology practice in Hollywood and was excited to be a part of what was then a new breed of ophthalmologists who pioneered the practice of out-patient cataract surgery.
Cataract surgery is an out-patient procedure today, but until this moment in history eye doctors admitted their patients into the hospital for three days: the night before the surgery, the day of the surgery, and then one extra night after the surgery. There are several advantages to reducing the length of hospital stays, including: reducing the extra bother and expense; and more importantly, lowering the risk of contracting hospital induced infections. Out of hospital cataract surgery was an attractive alternative right from the beginning.
Dr. Alan Mendelsohn was at the cusp of this new model for cataract surgery. For the next ten years this was standard practice. Then, in the mid to late 1990s another revolution transformed the field of ophthalmology: “No Stitch” cataract surgery. Phaco surgery, short for Phacoemulcification, allowed eye doctors like Alan Mendelsohn to remove cataracts in a far quicker and safer way, resulting in better eyesight overall. In addition, the risks of edema, infections and inflammations were drastically reduced.
Today Dr. Mendelsohn’s practice is experiencing a third revolution: Laser-assisted cataract surgery. This type of surgery not only eliminates the cataract, but also can correct for low or moderate levels of astigmatism. This problem can be either improved or completely eliminated in many cases, resulting in a visual acuity improvement unprecedented from this type of surgery in the past.