Diabetic Macular Edema
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Dr. Richard J Mackool has the following 1 specialty
An ophthalmologist has the training to do much more than just prescribe glasses. They are physicians specially trained to diagnose and treat disorders of the eyes and vision. These doctors are experts on the complicated anatomy of the eye and are trained to treat eye diseases through both medical and surgical methods.
Some common conditions that ophthalmologists treat are cataracts, glaucoma, strabismus, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and amblyopia. In addition, ophthalmologists can provide prescriptions for eye glasses and contact lenses and perform LASIK surgery and other corrective surgeries for refractive errors like myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness), astigmatism and presbyopia.
Dr. Richard J Mackool has the following 11 expertise
- Lens Implants (Intraocular Lens Implantation)
- Macular Degeneration
- Eye Pain
- Diabetic Retinopathy
- Eye Exam
- Lasik Surgery
- Refractive Surgical Procedures
- Vision Issues
Dr. Richard J Mackool has 1 board certified specialty
See the board certifications this doctor has received. Board certifications provide confidence that this doctor meets the nationally recognized standards for education, knowledge and experience
Dr. Richard J Mackool is Board Certified in 1 specialty
See the board certifications this doctor has received. Board certifications provide confidence that this doctor meets the nationally recognized standards for education, knowledge and experience.
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I was born in the winter of 1937, in a small, poor rural village in a North African country. The weather was extreme, cold and snowy on the mountains in the winter, hot and humid in the summer. There was no sanitation, and flies crawled over babies’ eyes and sleeping adults. The trachoma disease was rampant. At school, in another village about 100 miles away, a single French “rural doctor” examined a half dozen of us and identified the ailment: trachoma. He resorted to a crude treatment, scraping our upper leads with a sharp knife, without any anesthesia whatsoever. This would lead to dire consequences years later, identified by my current ophthalmologist in 2005. The trachoma and the treatment resulted in the permanent scarring of my corneas and eyelids. My vision was distorted, and blurry. I struggled to complete my primary, high school and university education with all the difficulties one can imagine. In the class room, I was forced to sit in the first row to be able to see what was written on the board. When I could not see the small letters, I would ask one of my school mates to show me their notes after the class, and this led me to spend enormous time just to catch up with the various courses taught at the school. During the process of trying to read the writing on the board, I would squint and squeeze my eyes to try to see as much of the writing as I could. This also led to the development of wrinkles on my forehead at an early age. I arrived in New York one day in July 1967. Dr. Castroviejo, a confident mid-size man in his sixties, was of Spanish origin. He taught at various universities in NYC, including Columbia Presbyterian and NYU, where he was a clinical professor. He received me in his Office and following the examination, he confidently declared, “We need to do a corneal transplant. The cornea is irregular, and the vision will improve following the procedure.” When I explained that I had blood vessels in the cornea, and inquired whether this would pose any problem, he answered quickly, “They are superficial.” While performing the procedure on my left eye, Dr. Castroviejo was exchanging jokes in Spanish with his Associate Dr. Luis Uribe. I could see the scalpel slashing the front of my eye while the conversation was continuing. I was a bit concerned that at this stage, thinking that the skilled doctor’s attention might be diverted for a moment and that he could end up making a mistake. But I had taken care of previously reading Dr. Castroviejo’s articles on the procedure and his book, Atlas of Keratectomy and Keratoplasty. His patients and even his peers sometimes referred to him not as a “Surgeon”, but as “an Artist”. Despite the momentary anxiety, I knew that I was in the hand of a most skillful Surgeon. Following the procedure, my vision as anticipated improved significantly. I returned to my work about six weeks after and continued to carry out my responsibilities till I retired in 1997. I then began to lecture, write and travel. I continued to see various Ophthalmologists in the city who checked my vision and prescribed new lenses. Some of them began to notice the thinning of the cornea in my left eye. It had been some forty years since Dr. Castroviejo did the procedure. The vision began to deteriorate. Various Doctors tried to identify the problem but they faced a challenge. In the end, I was both surprised and pleased when two of the most reputed of them independently of each other said that they would refer me to the “best of the best.” It was time once more to find a novel solution. I arrived to the “The Eye Institute and Laser Center” in Queens, NY, one day in 2005, after one eye specialist arranged for an appointment for me with Dr. Richard James Mackool, the Surgeon and Director of the Institute. I had not heard of Dr. Mackool before, but I heard his peers praise him. One of them told me with a smile that he was a "magician." He meant that the Doctor was very creative and successfully treated patients with very complicated cases. I was not surprised to hear that when I learned that Dr. Mackool trained under Dr. Castroviejo and had even operated on the famous Spanish Doctor’s relative. “The Eye Institute and Laser Center” is an elegant town house in Queens, near the famous Steinway Street. The referring Doctor had indicated to me that the Center was large and that Dr. Mackool had a very busy practice. As I entered the building, indeed, it was as if I was watching a bee hive, with patients seated in two large waiting rooms with some sixty seats in total, patients who had just undergone procedures being brought up and accompanied by the Institute personnel, or patients being taken to the operating room where Dr. Mackool Sr. and his son, Dr.Richard Jonathan Mackool, perform surgery around the clock. “He knows all that should be known”, said to me the proud father of his son. And obviously, he has prepared him to carry on the torch. A number of “Technicians” call the names of the patients and guide them to see Dr. Mackool’s two other Associates, including the Spanish speaking Dr. Vivian Monsanto. Indeed, one notices immediately that this is an unusually busy practice. Dr. Mackool greets me while bending slightly. He quickly looked at my eyes and also quickly dictated to his Assistant the diagnosis and treatment. One cannot fail to sense the most remarkable qualities of the man: his humility, and his ability to quickly identify the problem. In my case, the cornea developed cracks and the eyes were very dry. “The bacteria develop rapidly. They love the cracks”, Dr. Mackool told me confidently. He prescribed certain drops. The problem resolved a few days after. My vision improved. One day I dared to ask Dr. Mackool this question, “Where does his confidence come from?” From his parents, his training, his experience, his creativity, or from all of them? He simply smiled, and said, “Thank you.” While seating in the waiting room, listening to Dr. Mackool and his son describe a cataract procedure in a video on the TV screen on the wall, I often hear patient discuss their case with an accompanying member of their family or a friend. They comment on how they were referred to Dr. Mackool. They came from close and from a distance, California, Florida, Australia and Europe. They speak a variety of languages. “You know”, I overheard one of them say, “he does complex cases”. The lady who was speaking explained that her surgery done somewhere else was a failure. Nobody would touch her after that. She came to Dr. Mackool. He said, “We will take care of the problem.” And he did, successfully. Dr. Mackool performed a cataract procedure on my left eye on February 19, 2011. The vision became bright, and the blue colors pronounced. On June 6, 2012 (I call that day “The D” since it was close to the date of the invasion of Normandy on June 4, 1944), he performed a partial corneal transplant on the same eye. Before that, the vision was deteriorating to the point when I could not read. I told him that I could no longer function. He answered, “We have been following you for a long time, and we knew that day will arrive.” When I asked him what he expected from the corneal transplant, he again characteristically replied with confidence, “We expect to bring back your vision to what it was before.” That is exactly what happened. My vision again improved, and continues to do so to this day. When I saw Dr. Mackool, on February 5, 2013, he examined my eyes and commented, “It looks beautiful. Sometimes when I look at the eye, I wonder if it was me that did it.” When I reported to the “The Eye Institute and Laser Center” on 24 April 2013, I was told that the Doctor was in Chicago to receive an Award. I subsequently learnt that it was the prestigious Charles D. Kelman Innovator’s Award. I thought to myself: the man certainly deserves that Award. He is so creative and so skillful. And as a patient, one can only be proud of his accomplishments, and express one’s gratitude. Since then, I continued to visit the Institute during the years 2014-2017, for routine checkups and occasionally for surgery. At some point, my vision in the right eye began to deteriorate. Dr. Mackool senior recommended that he or his son, Dr. Richard Jonathan Mackool ( R J) could do the procedure of partial corneal transplant. I did not hesitate in my answer. RJ could perform the procedure. The operation was undertaken on May 2, 2017. And as anticipated by Dr. Richard Mackool senior, the vision returned gradually to my right eye. Shortly after, I saw Dr. Mackool senior in front of the Institute, dressed simply. He was going to California to lecture. I learned later that the auditorium was full, with many attendees standing in the corridors. When I asked Professor Mackool if he saw his mother who lives in California, he answered with a smile that he indeed saw her. He added: “She is 94.” I said: “God bless her”, and he thanked me. Professor Mackool displays human qualities even under severe pressures. I saw both Professor Mackool and Dr. RJ on May 22, 2017. Both were pleased with the outcome of the procedure in my right eye. The vision continued to improve. Another success! The father trained the son in the best way possible. “He has learned everything that one can possibly learn”, says proudly the senior Doctor. The torch at the Mackool Institute is now shared. The patients are lucky. Someday, it will pass on to the son. New York, October 2017 *The writer, a PhD, wishes to remain anonymous.
I had cataract surgery on 9/6/17 with Dr. Mackool. Everything, from the time I arrived to the time I left went smoothly. Office staff and operating room staff courteous and efficient. It is over a week now since the surgery and my eye is perfect! I will do the other eye in a month or two, and of course, with Dr. Mackool again! I am very grateful that he was recommended to me by a friend. He is the best!!
Patients' Choice Award (2014, 2018)
Patients' Choice recognition reflects the difference a particular physician has made in the lives of his/her patients. The honor is bestowed to physicians who have received near perfect scores, as voted by patients.
Compassionate Doctor Recognition (2018)
Compassionate Doctor certification is granted to physicians who treat their patients with the utmost kindness. The honor is granted based on a physician's overall and bedside manner scores.
Castle Connolly Top Doctors: New York Metro Area (2017)
Castle Connolly Top Doctors: New York Metro Area™ are specialists and primary care physicians who are highly recommended by their peers and other healthcare professionals. The Castle Connolly research staff reviews both professional qualifications and professional reputation prior to Top Doctor status being awarded. This recognition identifies the top physicians in the New York Metro Area who possess a high level of medical skill and expertise.
Dr. Mackool is affiliated (can practice and admit patients) with the following hospital(s).
- New York University School Of Medicine
New York University
Dr. Richard J Mackool accepts the following insurance providers.
- Empire PPO
Locations & DirectionsMackool Eye Institute And Laser Center, 3127 41st St, Astoria, NY
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