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Ophthalmologist Job Description

Shashank Nakate
An ophthalmologist doesn't just treat the eyes, but takes a holistic approach towards eye care and visual system in general. We give you the ophthalmologist job description in this story.
An ophthalmologist is a medical practitioner who treats disorders of the eyes. Along with medical care of the visual system, an ophthalmologist also suggests preventive measures for injuries and various eye problems. The job of an ophthalmologist is extensive and diverse.
It requires the study of many problems associated with vision and also their relation with other aspects of health. The educational programs and training period for this profession is quite lengthy and it takes around 12 years starting from the undergraduate degree course up to the completion of the training period, in order to become an ophthalmologist.

What Does an Ophthalmologist Do?

Ophthalmologists work in the field of medical and surgical care of the eyes. Here's a brief description of the job of an ophthalmologist
  • Eye check-ups and examination are a part of the routine work of ophthalmologists. Such examinations help in the diagnosis of the specific eye problems.
  • Ophthalmologists need to have basic medical knowledge, which they do, in order to be able to diagnose whether an eye problem is leading to or is caused by some other health disorder.
  • Carrying out the treatment of eye infections is one of the responsibilities of an ophthalmologist. Medications that include eye drops and oral medicines are prescribed by ophthalmologists.
  • Making use of therapeutic procedures is an important part of the work of an ophthalmologist, for example laser therapy for vision correction.
  • There are no separate ophthalmologists for adults and children. Treating eye ailments in children is therefore, one of the important responsibilities of these medical professionals.
  • Treatment of the disorders of eyes requires knowledge of the minutest of the details of the eye anatomy and defects in vision. 
An ophthalmologist may be required to work with medical practitioners from other branches such as the neurologists, pediatricians, maxillofacial surgeons, ENT specialists, etc. when eye problems are a result of some other underlying health condition.
  • Ophthalmologists can specialize in subjects like glaucoma, cataract, ocular oncology, ophthalmic pathology, etc. whereby they are specialists in treating those particular eye problems.
  • Many confuse between ophthalmologists and optometrists. The duties and responsibilities of an optometrist are different from those of ophthalmologists. Optometrists are not licensed to practice medicine or perform surgical procedures on the eye, which the ophthalmologists are.

Ophthalmologists Working as Consultants

Ophthalmologists who work as consultants work more in the area of disease prevention rather than regular treatment. An ophthalmologist in this position is also involved in research on eye disorders and their treatments. Conducting training sessions for new or junior ophthalmologists is also a part of the job of ophthalmologists working as consultants.
Getting an idea of the salary range of ophthalmologists should help those who are planning to enter this field.

Educational Requirements

To become an ophthalmologist, it is necessary to complete a 4 year undergraduate degree course in college. This course is followed by a 4 year course in medical school. This medical program has to be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
The authority that certifies this program is the American Board of Ophthalmology. Training for ophthalmologists doesn't stop after earning this degree. One has to work as an intern for 1 year and as a hospital resident for 3 years after studying in the medical school, before he starts practicing on his/her own.
To work as an ophthalmologist, one has to have a thorough understanding of the working of the visual system. An ophthalmologist, unlike optometrists, is involved not just in the primary care of eyes, but also in the maintenance of a healthy-functioning visual system and good eyesight.