Eyelid surgery is delicate, precise with small room for error. Most often some procedures that are performed such as blepharoplasty or cosmetic eyelid surgery are performed by many different surgeons (from plastic surgeons to ophthalmologists). As an eyelid specialist in Denver I see many doctors self proclaim to "specialize in the eyelid". What does it mean when your surgeon is a member of the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic Surgeons?
1. Certified Fellowship trained
The American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic Surgeons was created out of a desire to create a standardized training program for ophthalmic plastic surgeons. These are surgeons who perform surgery on the eyelid, tear duct and eye socket. There were many fellowships before that time that were not standardized. Many doctors would perform a three month “fellowship” and self proclaim themselves “experts in eyelid surgery”. As a result ASOPRS decided to create a standardized system to offer the public a certain caliber of trained specialists in the eyelid.
2. Certain number of eyelid procedures performed
One of the requirements of oculoplastic surgery fellowships certified by ASOPRS are the number of surgeries performed by these doctors in training. ASOPRS members have performed a certain number of eyelid, tear duct and eye socket procedures. They also have performed other surgeries on the face such as eyelid cancer.
3. Quality of Care
After completion of the fellowship, membership in the society of eyelid specialists is not guaranteed. The doctors must then complete a thesis along with a written and oral exam in oculoplastic surgical techniques such as blepharoplasty, eyelid reconstruction, tear duct surgery and eye socket surgery. Passing of this rigorous oral and written exam only then allows surgeons to have membership in this society.
4. Access to resources
ASOPRS has a number of resources for its surgeons which includes a listserv to discuss difficult eyelid, tear duct or eye socket cases with the 300 other "eyelid specialists". As a result, difficult cases can be run by masters and experts in the field.
To find out if your surgeon is a member of ASOPRS, go to ASOPRS.org website and look up a surgeon by location. As an ASOPRS member, I know when it comes to eyelid, tear duct and orbital surgery my ASOPRS colleagues offer a certain level of care, knowledge and surgical skill. The best analogy would be a graduate degree. Are there some high school graduates who know more about subject compared to someone who has a Phd in that subject..Possibily but highly unlikely. With ASOPRS members, there is a certain level of care that exists for cosmetic procedures along with dealing with the complications of those procedures which is extremely important.