Introduction introduction
[left]Back to Table of Contents
Forward to Application Process[right]

1. Introduction

This is the Ophthalmology Frequently Asked Question list (FAQ). It attempts to answer some of the most frequently asked questions relating to applying for an ophthalmology residency position in the Early Match. The following is an excerpt from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO):

The Practice of Ophthalmology

Most ophthalmologists practice a mixture of medicine and surgery, ranging from lens prescription and standard medical treatment to the most delicate and precise surgical manipulations. The average American general ophthalmologist spends approximately 4 days per week in the office performing primarily medical ophthalmologic functions and one day in the operating room. In a typical workweek, the ophthalmologist will see over 100 patients and perform two major surgical procedures. Cataract removal is the most commonly performed ophthalmic surgical operation.

In addition to managing local ocular disease, the ophthalmologist also needs to interact with other physicians. Many systemic diseases have ocular manifestations, and the ophthalmologist may be prominently involved in both the diagnosis and management of these conditions.

A prospective ophthalmologist should keep in mind that a typical ophthalmic practice involves the treatment of patients with vision-threatening diseases. These patients often believe (correctly or incorrectly) that they are going blind. Dealing with the prospect of vision reduction or loss presents a unique challenge that can be highly stressful and frustrating for both physician and patient. The ophthalmologist must be prepared to offer the patient compassion and understanding as well as clinical expertise.

Those considering the field should also be aware that certain visual and motor abilities are necessary for effective clinical and surgical practice. Ideally, an ophthalmologist will have good fine motor skills, depth perception, and color vision. Impairment of these abilities may interfere with the effective use of essential ophthalmic instruments, such as the indirect ophthalmoscope and the operating microscope.

Like many other specialties, ophthalmology has undergone considerable subspecialization. At first glance, the proliferation of subspecialties dealing with such a small sensory organ may seem excessive. However, the development of many highly sophisticated methods of diagnosis and therapy has resulted in the establishment of many detailed discrete areas of interest. Although most ophthalmologists choose to practice general ophthalmology, many decide to pursue a subspecialty area. Residents who are interested in working in an academic center or as part of a multispecialty ophthalmology group frequently choose to take additional post residency training (i.e., a fellowship) in a subspecialty area.

  • The full text from AAO can be found here

  • Click here to read about the AMA Physician Workforce Survey for Ophthalmology
    [left]Back to Table of Contents
    Forward to Application Process[right]

    Rohit Krishna, MD ([email protected])
    Sabates Eye Center