Parent Q&A

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  • Pediatric Cataracts Surgery

    (4 replies)


    We were just told that our 3-year-old has cataracts in one eye and needs surgery within the next weeks. From what I read, the doctor's experience is paramount in this kind of surgeries.

    Any parent out there who went through the same and/or can recommend a doctor specialized in pediatric cataracts that we can get a second opinion from? 

    Thank you so much

    I don’t have any recommendations specific to pediatric cataracts. But we were referred to Dr. Rona Silkiss (link to bio below) about 5 years ago by my son’s pediatrician. She said at the time she thought Dr Silkriss was the best surgeon in the Bay Area for pediatric eye issues. We were impressed with her competence and skill with my son’s surgery. We also had a great experience with the outpatient surgery center next to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland. Everything went smoothly. Good luck to your family.

    Yes! Dr. Alejandra de Alba - Campomanes at UCSF. She is lovely, approachable, thoughtful and very skilled, therefore busy! Hopefully you can get in soon, but if not with her, then any of the pediatric ophthalmologists at UCSF (Mission Bay) are terrific- also Dr. Ying Han. The bonus of going to UCSF is that your child will be cared for by their excellent pediatric anesthesiologists during his/her surgery - which is reason enough to go to there, IMO. Best of luck. 

    I'm sorry your little one has to go through this. Our daughter had eye surgery for strabismus at age 2. It was a bit nerve wracking, but we felt confident putting her in the care of pediatric ophthalmologist Dr William Good. I did a lot of research and he was recommended many times as the best in the area. After 14 years of having Dr Good care for my daughter's vision, I can second that. Aside from his medical expertise, he also happens to be a lovely person who has shown genuine interest in watching our daughter grow over the years. He's always answered our questions thoroughly and thoughtfully and has a wonderful calm demeanor with children.

    We see Dr Good in San Francisco, but I think he also has offices in Marin and San Ramon. His San Francisco # is 415-202-1500.

    Hello - don't have experience with cataracts, but our son saw Rona Silkass from age 6-18 months for chronically blocked tear ducts that led to lots of eye infections. She ended up operating to insert a tube when he was 9 months after a few consultations, and removed it when he was 18 months. She doesn't have the warmest demeanor and doesn't specialize in pediatrics, but seemed really solid and experienced. I would warn you to schedule morning appointments since her office became incredibly busy with stupid-long wait times some afternoons. She was referred to us by our pediatrician, who is VERY careful about her referrals, so I put a lot of stock in that referral. But probably also worth asking for a referral for someone at Children's Hospital of Oakland, too. Best of luck to you!

  • Cataract Surgery at Kaiser Oakland

    (3 replies)

    Hi there - has anyone had cataract surgery at Kaiser Oakland?  If so any feedback on your experience and doctor would be appreciated!  thanks!  Cloudy Eyeballs

    I had cataract surgery at Kaiser, Dr. Snyder. It was a very good experience. Let me know if you have any specific questions. It was about 6 years ago.

    I used Dr. Chandra at Shadelands Walnut Creek Kaiser, but that was only because Dr. Vora at Oakland Kaiser was away doing special studies. Dr. Vora's your man. The surgery is really a no-brainer, the drops before and after being the only irksome part. And you'll need a ride to and from. But really, as everyone will tell you, a piece of cake. Good luck!

    I had Dr Vora at Kaiser Oakland for both eyes as well as a vitrectomy. (3 different procedures at 3 different times) He knows his stuff, and the surgeries were a piece of cake. The vitrectomy wasn't as easy for recovery as the cataract surgery, but it wasn't bad. You will LOVE your new vision afterward. The world will look amazing.

  • I've been told that I have a "retinal wrinkle." I was referred by my opthalmologist to a retinal specialist, who said surgery is not necessary but he recommends it, if this is bothering me a lot. There is a slight distortion in my vision but I felt comfortable putting it off, until the opthalmalogist said that a cataract in the same eye is complicating matters. He said I could either have the cataract removed first and see if that solves my vision problem, or have both the cataract and the wrinkle taken care of at the same time. Both he and the retinal specialist now recommend the latter. 

    I researched both conditions and I feel that the cataract is the main source of my discomfort while driving, etc. It seems like I always need to clean my glasses - it's like a cloudy lens (which, in fact, I understand a cataract really is). The slight distortion from the retinal wrinkle I don't think is bothering me that badly.

    I would consider having both done, to avoid two surgeries (in case the retinal surgery does seem necessary later), except in researching the retinal surgery, I find it scares me to death. They remove the entire vitreous gel and then "scrape" the wrinkle (scar tissue) off the retina. Yegads. The possible complications are rife and apparently you can only generally expect a 50% improvement in vision, if that. Plus, you're awake the whole time, only under sedation.

    My questions: has anyone ever had this retinal surgery, and/or cataract surgery done? What's it like? What were the results? Are there any surgeons you would recommend? The retinal specialist I went to (I won't name him) seems very smart and competent but also a little intimidating and scary. I guess I'm just freaked out by the whole thing. Looking for experiences, information, and doctor recommendations in general for both surgeries. My impression so far is that the cataract removal is pretty much piece of cake, especially compared with the retinal surgery. But that the retinal surgery may result in significant complications.

    I had right eye cataract surgery three years ago, and am very pleased with the result. However I spent considerable time researching the procedure in the health library, comparing the studies, and learning about the type and power of replacement lens that was right for me. I also visited three different ophthalmic surgeons before I made my choice. Since cataracts develop slowly as the lens becomes more and more opaque there is time to do your research and get recommendations. Driving at night was the worst, with the streetlights, and headlights making halos and refractions. Night driving is fine now. I probably will not have surgery on the other eye, for several reasons. 1. It is more convenient for me to have one eye with excellent micro vision, which is lost with the interocular lens. I wear a contact lens on that eye for daytime use, but can remove it for in-bed reading, or plucking eyebrows or some very close work. The DMV permits driving with only one good eye, but you must take your behind-the-wheel test.

    I had cataract surgery 2 weeks ago (I am 55) and it is "a price of cake". Very little pain, very quick, and quick recovery. I don't think the retinal surgery you described sounds worth it if your vision does not bother you. It sounds invasive, scary, and with a 50% success rate? No thanks.

    Hi! I have had similar issues. I had my first cataract surgery at 38, then the next one a few years later (age 43 I think.) I also had a vitrectomy because I ended up getting a huge blood clot in my eye that wouldn't reabsorb. None of these surgeries were awful. I also have "wrinkly" retinas, where there is a bit of "pull" at the edges. Mine hasn't prompted my retinologist to do anything about it because it's not affecting my vision. But if I were you, I would do both surgeries at the same time. I thought that the vitrectomy was kind of cool. I saw interesting golden colors and lights during it (but of course I had no pain.) The cataract surgery was a piece of cake. The vitrectomy felt more involved but if I had to do it again, I definitely would. Everything will look so clear when you're done with this, and you will really appreciate how you can see better.  I had mine done through Kaiser Oakland with Dr. Vora. He was excellent. I hope my response is helpful. Good luck!

    Have you considered getting a second opinion at the UC Optometry school? I have some complicated eye stuff going on, and felt like they were pretty clear.

    My husband had a detached retina and the surgery was done by Allen Verne at Bay Area Retina Associates in Oakland at 832-6554.  He didn't have time to shop for a doctor as this was urgent, but he feels very lucky that he had some of his vision restored.  The office is always busy and often feels rushed, but I've heard that the retina specialists are all pretty busy and he feels like he had an excellent surgeon.  The doctor he first saw when this occurred is Erich Horn at East Bay Eye Specialists in Oakland at #836-3773.  Dr. Horn is seen by many of my clients (all older adults) and he also did my husband's cataract surgery (just about all patients who have a detached retina repaired will develop cataracts within a year).  My husband gained back a good amount of vision after the cataract surgery.  Husband's vision is still very slowing gaining after a year and a half.  Good Luck!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Opthamologist for Cataract Removal

May 2005

My elderly mom has to have a cataract removed from one eye. She just moved in with us a little while ago from the east coast and has no doctor network to tap into. She is also a heart patient, has a bad back, etc so I would like to find her an extremely good and thoughtful opthamologist. I would also love to hear from anyone who has had to have a cataract removed or has a close familiy member who has. What was the experience like? Were they bedridden for a day, a week? How quickly did they recover? Is it an in and out procedure? Any information would be most welcome. Thanks, Anna

Dr. Mark Mandel is very well-known for performing LASIK surgery, but he is an equally excellent cataract surgeon. His office phone number is (510) 886-3937. I suggest that you take your mom there for a cataract evaluation. He will educate you about the process.

The actual surgery takes about 12 minutes, but you will spend 2- 3 hours at the office. It is an out-patient procedure. Your mom should be resting after her surgery, and she will go back in to the office the following day for a check-up. She should be feeling pretty comfortable and starting to see better that next day. She will be on some eyedrops for a few weeks, and within a month, the eye should be stable enough to get new glasses prescribed. Patients are usually doing normal daily activities right away--no heavy lifting or bending over too far. Cataract surgery tends to be highly successful. suzie

Experience with Cataract surgery?

March 2005

I would like to hear people's experience with cataract surgery. If you have any feedback about Dr. Robert Sorensen of Berkeley, I would like to hear it too. Thanks! A nervous cataract patient

I had two cataracts removed in the past two months and my sight is fantastic. The surgery took about 20 minutes and the recovery took no time at all; I was driving on the second day. The only side effect was a black/blue eye after each surgery due to the injection to numb the region. I recommend Dr. Richard Lee in Oakland,. He is communicative and is very skilled at this surgery. linda