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  • Chris Thiagarajah MD

The Eyelid doctor of Denver:  What is an eyelid specialist?



Patients who have complications with non eyelid specialists who come to my office often ask “what is an eyelid specialist?”

Oculoplastic Surgeons are eyelid specialists. The certifying organization for eyelid specialists is ASOPRS or American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic Surgeons. Membership into this society requires a thesis, written and oral examination along with submission of a surgical log showing experience in a high volume of oculoplastic surgeries. In each state one can look at the ASOPRS surgeons at www.ASOPRS.org.

Certification

Certification for eyelid specialists is through ASOPRS. There are roughly 500 ASOPRS surgeons in the country and world. Entrance into this society is stringent where quality is emphasized over quantity.

Self Proclaimed Specialists

Physicians have the ability to self proclaim themselves as “specialists” without any actual training. In fact if I choose to I can proclaim myself as “Cancer specialist” or “Anti-Aging Specialist”. There is no certification or testing that needs to be done for that to occur. There are physicians who take a weekend course or watch a couple surgeries and then self proclaim themselves as “oculoplastic surgeons”. Though they have every right “technically”to describe themselves as specialists, for ASOPRS oculoplastic surgeons know that there has been no vetting for these purposes. There can be a lot of variability in experience and skill in terms of non-ASOPRS oculoplastic surgeons. There was a local surgeon in Denver who used to ask ASOPRS surgeons to come proctor them on complicated eye socket surgeries. The funny thing was the local surgeon would advertise themselves as an “oculoplastic surgeon” to the public!

What is the difference between ASOPRS oculoplastic surgeon and other surgeons?

The bottom line is that there can be some very good non-ASOPRS oculoplastic surgeons or even surgeons who do eyelid work. There just tends to be more variability for these surgeons and their experience and skill. ASOPRS surgeons like a certified pilot tend to have a certain minimum level of skill and experience. I am sure there are some people in America who have the physical and mental fitness and skill with a firearm as a sniper in special forces but have never been in the army. Being an actual member of special forces as a sniper establishes a certain level of skill and expertise. Back to eyelid surgery, what are the questions one should ask a surgeon before performing eyelid surgery on themselves?

How many eyelid surgeries have you done in your career?

How many eyelid surgeries have you done last year?

This can give a good idea of the experience and skill of the surgeon that you will have. Remember, the biggest component of happiness with a surgeon is connection and comfort. Makre sure that is great as well!


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