Explore A Career As An Ophthalmologist

February 11, 2015

A Gap Medics student learning about Opthalmology An ophthalmologist is a highly skilled eye doctor who treats acute eye diseases and also manages long-term eye conditions. This is essentially a mixed specialty that combines medicine and surgery.

Ophthalmologist Job Duties

Ophthalmology is an extensive and varied field that deals with several different sub specialties ranging from raised eye pressure and intra-ocular inflammation to neurological problems.

You may choose to practice as a general ophthalmologist or you could specialise in treating either a specific condition or a particular age group. For example, a paediatric ophthalmologist specialises in treating children with congenital eye diseases or abnormal vision development. As a general ophthalmologist you will interact with people from a wide range of age groups, right from new-born babies born with congenital vision problems to old people struggling with their decreasing visual capacity.

Not all ophthalmologists conduct surgeries. If you have a steady hand and an eye for details, you may choose to conduct surgeries while others may not. Some of the common surgeries include cataract surgery, corneal transplants, glaucoma surgery and surgeries conducted for retinal disorders.

For those who like interacting with people, ophthalmologists can work alongside other doctors and nurses as well as interact with a number of patients. Most ophthalmologists work with an optician, some of them in larger settings work with specialised nurses or registered nurses and some work with orthoptists. For those who want to get into public health, they will often work alongside a social worker. Certain ophthalmologists also like to work with photographers who help them publicize their work.

For many practitioners, one of the appealing aspects about this specialty is that a very small percentage of cases are life threatening and need immediate attention. This means that the ophthalmologist has the liberty to set his or her own timings and take time off when needed.

Specialties And Procedures In This Field

The majority of ophthalmologists choose to train in a sub-specialty in this field. Some of the common sub-specialties include glaucoma, paediatric ophthalmology, medical retina treatment, surgical retina treatment, neuro-ophthalmology and oculoplastic surgery.

One of the most common procedures that are carried out by ophthalmologists is cataract surgery. This surgery is in high demand since a number of people in their old age suffer from this problem. Another reason for the huge popularity of this surgery is its excellent success rate. Other surgeries and treatments in this field are also advancing at a fast rate thanks to new technologies and procedures.

Opportunities and Challenges in Ophthalmology

With huge advancements being made in ophthalmology, this is a specialty where it is important to stay up-to-date with the latest techniques and procedures in order to provide patients with the best care possible.

For experienced professionals, there is also plenty of potential in research and teaching with a growing demand for teachers willing to groom future generations of medical students in Universities around the world. If you have a keen interest in new technology and innovation, you will find ample research opportunities to participate in exciting studies pertaining to areas such as artificial vision and genetic therapies.