Bronx Neighbor: Richard Dankner

Dr. Richard Dankner
by Patrick Rocchio

After nearly 40 years practicing ophthalmology in Westchester Square, Dr. Richard Dankner continues to expand his knowledge of the most cutting-edge techniques in his field.

At a time when some of his peers may be slowing down or retiring, he continues as an innovator in treating conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma.

The past chief of ophthalmology at the now former Westchester Square Medical Center, he now runs his own practice at 1625 St. Peter’s Ave., next door to the new Montefiore Westchester Square’s emergency department, as well as a satellite office at the Hutchinson Metro Center.

Among this list of firsts, he was the first area doctor to offer laser surgery in an office, and the first doctor to perform intra-ocular surgery (where a lens implanted in the eye is used to treat cataracts or myopia) at the hospital.

“I have always prided myself as an innovator, and now as I reach my 40th year, I am still an innovator,” said Dankner, 72 who is “expanding and adding new technology, where a lot of my peers are not keeping up or deciding that it’s enough.”

Among the benefits of having laser surgery, he said, is that in the case of glaucoma, it could either illuminate or reduce the amount of medications that a person has to take after surgery, techniques for cataract surgery which can allow the person not to wear any glasses after an operation either for near- or far-sightedness.

He also treats diabetes of the eye, called diabetic retinopathy, which he called an “epidemic” in the Bronx.

“Even though there are a lot of changes in medicine, and Obamacare, realistically it has nothing to do with the surgeries and technology we are presenting to our patients, because it is of the finest quality.”

These days, with the population in the Bronx getting statistically older, he has seen an increase in aging eye disease.

He has also seen recovery times from surgery decrease dramatically from the mid-1970s as technology has improved.

He estimated that he has performed or assisted in about 40,000 surgeries, with his experience one of his greatest assets.

“Every patient is unique,” said Dankner, adding that in surgery: “experience is important, because if there is a problem, experience gets you out.”

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3393

More from Around NYC