Entering The Eye Medical Profession
An ophthalmologist is often a doctor who specializes in the care of vision-related conditions and diseases. Like any other doctor, he or she completed four years of graduate school and spent another eight years in eye hospital residency, receiving specialized training in eye surgery, diagnosis, and treatment of glaucoma, cataracts, and vision loss. The doctor must also have a certain amount of expertise in managing intraocular pressure, or IOP, in addition to treating eye disorders.
about one-third of all eye doctor visits in the United States. In addition to being a primary care doctor, an ophthalmologist can order diagnostic tests, prescribe corrective eyewear, provide annual eye exams, refer patients to an eye surgeon, treat eye infections, and refer their patients to an optometrist for glasses or contact lenses. In many ways, an ophthalmologist performs more functions than an optometrist. He or she might even be the same doctor who directs an optometrist’s office. However, there are some key differences between the two doctors that make an ophthalmologist valuable to many patients.
Unlike an optometrist
an ophthalmologist must have received four years and studied for his or her degree at an accredited college and have passed all requirements for medical licensure. Unlike an optometrist, who can choose to take courses in any specialty, an ophthalmologist must begin his or her schooling in an eye care school. Once he or she pass the state board exam, he or she will be licensed to practice. Although many people start as an ophthalmologist looking to expand their practice later, many choose to stay within the scope of vision and work with one eye rather than a pair.
Because the field of ophthalmology
is so involved and requires such a specific level of training, an ophthalmologist often serves as the primary provider for eye care in his or her office. He or she will administer eye exams and prescribe treatment when necessary. He or she will also often give lectures on corrective vision improvement techniques that will help in reducing the need for glasses or contacts. Ophthalmologists also commonly perform surgeries and examinations on their patients. Depending on his or her experience, he or she may be capable of performing surgery or administering anesthesia.
Because of the very specific tasks involved in ophthalmology
an ophthalmologist should have a highly skilled skill set and should enjoy helping others. Since it takes many years to learn the required skills to become an ophthalmologist, many people wanting to enter this profession elect to take short-term courses to get their feet wet. These courses can give them the foundation they need to embark on a career that will put them in touch with an array of interesting and challenging people. Many students find that being involved in the coursework helps them build important relationships with other students, which further their educational and professional development while providing them with a sense of purpose and direction.
Many young ophthalmologists begin their careers as medical residents
working in the lab of a surgeon before moving into a clinic dedicated to ophthalmology. The more experience that a young doctor has under his belt, the more likely he or she will be able to break free from a day job and open an office devoted solely to vision care. Ophthalmologists make up a significant part of the field, and their expertise in diagnosing, treating, and preventing eye disorders will continue to be a key part of the medical community for years to come. For this reason, young ophthalmologists often choose to put themselves through the experience of attending school, doing internships, and then establishing a private practice.