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Ophthalmology Team

John S. Sapienza, DVM, Dip. ACVO

sapienza.jpgDr. Sapienza is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists since 1993, and he is the consultant veterinary ophthalmologist at the Bronx Zoo and the N.Y. Aquarium. Dr. Sapienza is the head and department chairman of the ophthalmology section at New York’s largest private practice referral center Long Island Veterinary Specialists (LIVS) in Plainview, New York. Dr. Sapienza’s special interests are cataract surgery with phacoemulsification, intraocular lens implantation, laser glaucoma therapy, glaucoma implants, and reconstructive eyelid procedures. He was the first veterinary ophthalmologist to perform phacoemulsification and intraocular lens implantation in animals on Long Island, New York.

Dr. Sapienza was the first veterinary ophthalmologist in the USA to perform injectable foldable acrylic intraocular lens implants in dogs. He has conducted extensive studies on the effect of laser energy in eyes with glaucoma, and has published several articles on glaucoma therapy, Golden Retriever (Pigmentary) uveitis, and ocular reports in exotic species. Dr. Sapienza is the first and only veterinary ophthalmologist to perform laser glaucoma therapy on Long Island pets (dogs, cats, ferrets and horses included!). Dr. Sapienza's special surgical interests include: endolaser glaucoma therapy, glaucoma implants, vitreoretinal surgery with repair of retinal detachments as well as cataract surgery and intraocular lens implants. Dr. Sapienza currently is the only veterinary ophthalmologist in the Northeast USA who performs repairs of detached retinas in dogs, and has received referrals for retinal disorders from all over the country.

He has lectured extensively throughout the Continental United States, Hawaii, Japan, Europe and South America. Dr. Sapienza speaks fluent Spanish, and is a frequent lecturer in Spain, as well as North and South America, for interactive advanced courses in Spanish. John received national attention for his medical treatment of “Ashley” the cat, owned by Regis and Joy Philbin, resulting in an appearance on the “Live with Regis” show.

John is married to his lovely wife, Dr. Angels Prades-Sapienza, a veterinarian from Barcelona, Spain, and they have two wonderful children, Marc and Angelina. The Sapienza family enjoys their extended pet family of 2 dogs, a guinea pig, a lizard, a bee hive and 6 laying hens. John enjoys traveling with his family and in his down-time, tending to his garden, fig trees and grape vines.


kim.jpgDr. Kay Kim grew up in northern New Jersey as the middle child of three. She benefited from the perks that come with life outside the city, such as trips to Broadway musicals, concerts at Lincoln Center, and renowned museums while still enjoying the quiet of small town suburbia. Although she always had a love for animals, Dr. Kim did not initially plan on being a veterinarian, and graduated with honors from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. After graduation, Dr. Kim worked for three years as a veterinary assistant in a small animal hospital on the Upper East Side of New York City. This job changed her life, as it allowed Dr. Kim to realize that caring for animals and their owners would be an inspiring, challenging, and rewarding career.

She received her Veterinary Medicine Doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008. Following completion of a one-year internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Kim joined Long Island Veterinary Specialists in 2010 for a one-year ophthalmology internship under the mentorship of Dr. John Sapienza. In 2013, Dr. Kim completed a three-year residency program in comparative ophthalmology at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and achieved board certification as a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists.

Dr. Kim returned to LIVS in September 2013 as a staff ophthalmologist. Her areas of special interest include infectious corneal disease and cataract surgery. While the majority of her patients are of the cat/dog variety, Dr. Kim has examined the eyes of creatures of all shapes and sizes, ranging from geckos to guinea pigs to horses and even reindeer. As an active member of the New York State Veterinary Medical Society and Long Island Veterinary Medical Association, she hopes to continue sharing her knowledge of veterinary ophthalmology with her colleagues through continuing education. 

Dr. Kim is excited to be returning to the New York metro area, where many of her friends and family still reside. In her spare time, Dr. Kim enjoys reading, kickboxing, hiking in Harriman State Park with her Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Maddie, and napping with her two cats, Luke and Linus.



Just as in human medicine, veterinary ophthalmologists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the eye and surrounding structures in all animal species. The board-certified specialists in the Long Island Veterinary Specialists ophthalmology department diagnose and treat conditions such as corneal ulcers or infections, glaucoma, cataracts, eyelid abnormalities, uveitis, blindness, and ocular trauma and tumors.  Early recognition and timely treatment are important to restore sight, to minimize pain, and to offer the best eye care for our patients.


LIVS’s own board-certified ophthalmologist, Dr. Sapienza, was the first veterinary ophthalmologist in the USA to implant an injectable, foldable intraocular lens in dogs after removal of a cataract. Pioneering cataract surgery is just one of the many reasons to choose LIVS when your pet needs a veterinary ophthalmologist.

Diagnostic Procedures and Ophthalmic Services

  • Adnexal cytology
  • Applanation tonometry (intraocular pressure)
  • Aqueous and vitreal centesis
  • Binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy
  • CERF examinations
  • Conjunctival biopsy
  • Dacryocystorhinography
  • Doppler blood pressure)
  • Direct Retinal Examinations
  • Electroretinography
  • Equine and large animal examinations
  • Equine lavage
  • Exotic animal examinations: rabbit, ferrets, small mammals, non-venomous reptiles, farm animals
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Fluorescein staining of the Cornea
  • Gonioscopy
  • High Frequency Ocular and Orbital Ultrasonography
  • Red and Blue Pupillary Light Test: SARD's Test
  • Nasolacrimal Flushes
  • Ocular Photography and Retinal Photography
  • OFA Eye certifications Examinations
  • Slit-lamp biomicroscopy
  • Soft Contact Bandage Lens Placement
  • Superficial Corneal Keratotomies


Surgical Procedures

  • Cataract extraction via phacoemulsification
  • Conjunctival grafts
  • Corneal transplants
  • Corneal ulcer grafts
  • Cryosurgery for distichiasis, ectopic cilia, ocular tumors and retinopexy
  • Enucleation (eye removal)
  • Eyelid reconstructive surgery
  • Glaucoma implants: Ahmed valve, Cullen shunts, Ex-press shunts, gold implants
  • Intraocular lens implantation: foldable, injectable and rigid IOL’s
  • Intrascleral prosthesis
  • Laser glaucoma: endolaser and transscleral
  • Laser retinal therapy: direct, indirect and via endolaser
  • Luxated lens removal
  • Orbital implants
  • Repair of detached retinas
  • Repair of prolapsed nictitans gland (cherry eye repair) 
  • Repair of traumatic injuries to the globe
  • Sulcus IOL suturing
  • Superficial keratectomy

The LIVS facility also houses several cutting-edge tools to help in diagnosis and treatment of various ophthalmic conditions, including:

  • High frequency ocular ultrasonography
  • State of the art Stellaris-PC combination phacoemulsification and vitreoretinal unit
  • Micropulse laser for glaucoma therapy
  • Two Millenium phacoemulsification cataract units
  • Two Storz phacofragmentation cataract units-Never a back-up failure or issue with equipment
  • Zeiss Visu 2- surgical operating microscope with teaching head and video/TV camera adapter
  • Contact diode laser
  • Indirect laser diode retinopexy headset
  • Melan pupillometer test
  • Cryotherapy: liquid nitrogen and nitrous oxide unit
  • Electroretinography
  • Endolaser: the FIRST and most experienced one in Long Island!
  • Storz-Urban and Weck Troutman surgical operating microscopes.
  • Vitreoretinal capabilities

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