How to Become an Ophthalmologist

An ophthalmologist is a specialist in diseases of the eye, and works to both diagnose problems and treat them with the use of surgery and medicine.

An ophthalmologist is trained in both medical and surgical care of the eye.

If you are interested the eye and want a career in medicine, then you might like to become a ophthalmologist.

To become an ophthalmologist, you will work with patients suffering from a wide range of conditions.

Some could be threatened with blindness, others glaucoma or cataracts.

Sometimes an ophthalmologist will work to correct muscle imbalances in the eye.

Education Requirements to Become an Ophthalmologist

The training to become an ophthalmologist is very long, in fact it can take over a decade to become qualified.

You’ll need to start with a four year bachelors degree in pre-medicine.

Concentrate on achieving a high grade point average, as you will need this to gain a place in medical school.

Entrance is based on college grades, the MCAT, and an interview process.

Medical school takes roughly four years to complete.

You’ll take part in a range of classroom theory work as well as practical experience with patients.

After graduation from medical school, you can apply to become licensed as a medical doctor in your state.

The requirements differ slightly place to place, you can find out the specific requirements for you state at the Federation of State Medical Boards.

You’ll then be ready to complete your one year internship in a hospital, specializing in either medicine or surgery.

After this, you’ll need to complete a ophthalmology residency which can last between three and five years.

To become a certified ophthalmologist, you will need to register with the American Board of Medical Specialties.

Some ophthalmologists will also go on to complete a sub-specialty.

Ophthalmologist Job Description

When you become an ophthalmologist you will work to diagnose and treat disorders of the eye.

An ophthalmologist differs from many other field of medical specialty, as they provide both medical and surgical treatment for disease.

Many cases involve the prevention of blindness, or sometimes the rehabilitation of some conditions.

An ophthalmologist may work in a hospital, they may also work out of private consulting offices or day surgery centers.

Often, they divide their time between hospitals and a private office.

A typical day for an ophthalmologist could involve patient rounds, sessions with patients out of consulting rooms, surgery, and teaching.

Many in this field contribute to teaching, and often also to research in the field.

Some of the tasks of an ophthalmologist include:

  • Meeting with patients in a consulting room
  • Performing a rage of tests
  • Making a diagnosis
  • Making a treatment plan
  • Performing surgery
  • Performing patient rounds
  • Teaching medical students
  • Medical research

Ophthalmologist Salary and Career Path

When you first train to become an ophthalmologist, you will work closely with qualified professionals.

After your residency is complete you will start to work with your own patients.

You could be working out of a hospital, or your own consulting office.

You will also spend time completing surgeries from a day center or hospital.

Many ophthalmologists contribute to teaching and research as a part of their role, but some go on to pursue this full time.

Others may go on to senior management positions within medicine and health.

Others complete fellowships and attain sub-specialties.

The median wage for a specialist medical doctor is $338,000 a year.

Those working in private practice will have the ability to earn more than those in the public system.

Additional income can even be earned through teaching or research.

Some similar jobs to that of ophthalmologist that you might be interested in include:

  • Optometrist
  • Medical doctor
  • Surgeon
  • Neurologist
  • Medical researcher

If you are looking for a challenging role within the field of medicine then you might like to become an ophthalmologist.

While there is much work and responsibility involved, seeing the good results that you achieve through working with your patients can be very rewarding.

There is very secure employment available, as well as the ability to complete charitable work overseas, or to continue your professional development through teaching, research, or further education.

Find a Program