main hospital building at night


CCH Enhancing Access to Cataract Surgery and Ophthalmology Care


Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures offered at Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH), where we have a dedicated team of expert nurses and ophthalmologists who perform cataract and eye trauma surgeries using state of the art equipment and modern techniques.

Dr. Tarek Youssef, an ophthalmologist at CCH who specializes in cataract surgery, says having the procedure done promptly, once it becomes a problem, is important to make sure it doesn’t get worse.

“Normally, the lens of your eye is clear, but a cataract causes the lens to become cloudy, which eventually affects your vision. At that point we would suggest cataract surgery, which is a procedure to remove the lens of your eye and replace it with an artificial lens,” explains Dr. Youssef.

Hospital cataract surgery is an OHIP covered outpatient procedure. The surgeon uses a special microscope to see your eye. They create tiny incisions to reach the clouded lens, which is prepped with a tool and suctioned out for removal. Finally, a small, rolled-up intraocular lens is inserted that will slowly and gently unfold in your eye.

Most hospitals and clinics perform surgery on both eyes on different days. In 2009, in consultation with Dr. Youssef, the hospital implemented bilateral same-day cataract surgery for situations when patients have cataracts in both eyes.

“The advantages of bilateral same-day cataract surgery for patients include not having to come back for a second surgery and not having to recover from two separate surgeries,” says Dr. Youssef.

Despite the fact that cataract surgery is an extremely common surgical procedure in high demand, it has largely been impacted by the pandemic and numerous closures of operating rooms. Prior to COVID-19, nearly 2,000 cataract surgeries were being carried out annually at CCH; but only 600 cataract surgeries took place last year as operating rooms paused non-urgent procedures so that staff could be redeployed to other areas impacted by the pandemic.

“The good news is that bilateral same-day cataract surgery has also proven to be especially effective as we recover and ramp up from the COVID-19 pandemic. With bilateral same-day cataract surgery, we can perform 28 cataract surgeries on 14 patients in a single day, which has allowed us to efficiently reduce our surgical backlog,” adds Dr. Youssef.

As CCH works to enhance access to care following the pandemic, we’re excited to announce that Dr. Ahmed Asholi, an ophthalmologist with more than 15 years’ worth of experience, will be joining the CCH team next month.

Dr. Asholi will be specializing in cataract surgery alongside Dr. Youssef, but will also treat diabetic eye disease, glaucoma and different retina diseases.

“I’m looking forward to treating my new patients at CCH and working alongside the staff and physicians,” says Dr. Asholi, adding that he “also believes the move the area will be positive for me and my family.”

Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, CCH performed over 4,900 surgeries last year and today our operating rooms are open and running at full capacity.