Preparing for Surgery and Recovery

At Columbia Ophthalmology, we perform surgeries for a wide range of eye conditions, utilizing cutting-edge, state-of-the-art technology. Our physicians and nurses are dedicated to providing patients with high quality-eye care in a caring, compassionate environment. Learn more about the basic information regarding the surgery process at the Harkness Eye Institute. Your surgeon and surgical coordinator will provide you with more detailed information about your specific procedure. The following eye surgeries are performed by our surgeons: 

Frequently Asked Questions

Before Your Surgery

What do I need to do to prepare for surgery?

You should see your primary care provider or cardiologist within 30 days of your surgery date. At this appointment you should obtain:

Where should my medical clearance documents be sent?

Please make sure your medical clearance documents are faxed to your surgical scheduler at (212) 305-0351.

What do I do if I do not have a primary care physician?

Please contact your insurance company for primary care physician referrals.

When and where should I get my COVID-19 test done prior to my upcoming surgery?

You are required to have a COVID-19 PCR or Rapid test within 5 days of your scheduled surgery.

No at-home COVID-19 tests are allowed.

Your surgical coordinator can assist you in scheduling your COVID-19 testing appointment at the following locations:

  • Columbia Midtown- 51 West 51st Street
  • NYP Milstein Heart Center- 173 Fort Washington Avenue
  • Columbia Tarrytown- 15 White Plains Road

If you are unable or do not wish to be tested at any of the facilities listed above, you may be tested at an outside facility of your choosing. 

Results must be faxed to your surgical scheduler by 9:30 AM at least one business day prior to the scheduled surgery.

  • Fax Number: (212) 305-0351

According to hospital policy, your surgery may be canceled if we do not receive your COVID-19 results in time.

Where will my upcoming surgery be performed?

Your eye surgery will be performed at one of the following locations. This will be dependent upon your surgeon.

Edward S. Harkness Eye Institute

  • 635 West 165th Street, 4th Floor New York, NY 10032

NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital

  • 3959 Broadway, New York, NY 10032

Milstein Hospital

  • 177 Fort Washington Ave, New York, NY 10032

NewYork-Presbyterian David H. Koch Center

  • 1283 York Ave New York, NY 10065

Is there parking available nearby?

For surgeries at the Eye Institute, the Fort Washington Garage is available for parking.

  • Location: 115 Fort Washington Avenue, between 164th and 165th Streets
  • Hours of Operation: Open 24 hours, 7 days a week.

When should I expect a phone call from NYP to confirm the time of my surgery?

You will receive a phone call from a nurse one business day prior to your scheduled surgery.

What are the standard fasting guidelines that I should be following prior to my upcoming surgery?

Do NOT eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery or on the day of surgery, unless otherwise advised by your nurse.

Exceptions

  • A small sip of water with any medications that you take at any time of the day of surgery

Your nurse will review your specific fasting requirements one business day before your scheduled surgery.

Should I take my regular medications and supplements before surgery?

Please discuss any change in your medication regimen with your routine prescribing physician (e.g. internist, cardiologist).

Please note that in select cases, your surgeon may ask you to discuss stopping blood thinners with your routine prescribing physician, so as to best weigh safety and risk profiles.

After Your Surgery

How will I get home after surgery?

Someone must be available to take you home on the day of surgery. If you do not have someone to take you home, your surgery will be canceled. 

Your escort can accompany you and wait in our waiting room.

If you require assistance finding an escort to take you home, you may hire a healthcare escort via VNS Health at (888) 735-8913.

When should I expect to see my doctor post-surgery?

You will need to see your doctor after surgery. These visits are made in coordination with your surgery date. If you have scheduling restrictions, please discuss with your surgical coordinator.

When should I expect to take the medications prescribed to me?

If eye drops, ointments, or pills are prescribed for post-surgical care, please refrain from using them prior to surgery. 

You will receive specific instructions when you are discharged from surgery and at your subsequent post-operative visits.

What are my restrictions after surgery?

Although this may very slightly depending on your surgery, these are the general restrictions to follow after eye surgery for at least one week post-surgery:

  • No head under water
  • No travelling
  • No strenuous exercise
  • No eye make up

Who should I contact if I have more questions or concerns regarding my upcoming surgery?

Please contact our surgical scheduling division at (212) 305-3069.