How To Become An Eye Surgeon
Though your eyes are a small part of your body, they have a big impact on your ability to live your life. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you take good care of your eyes, including getting treatment when needed. Along with regular eye exams, you may find that you need a surgical procedure to correct a problem or improve your eye health. Fortunately, laser eye surgeons like Dr. Gerald Walman of the Walman Eye Center are well-equipped to handle whatever eye care needs they encounter with their extensive education and training.
What is an Eye Surgeon and What do They do?
Eye surgeons, also known as ophthalmologists, are surgeons who specialize in surgical interventions for the eyes. There are several sub-specialties that ophthalmologists can choose, including glaucoma, pediatric ophthalmology, and ocular oncology, among others. The sub-specialties allow eye surgeons to narrow their focus on a particular area of eye care just as other surgeons may specialize in cardiac or spinal surgeries. Eye surgeons spend their training preparing to address eye problems that occur within their sub-specialties so they are able to provide for all patients’ needs.
The role of an eye surgeon in healthcare
The role of an eye surgeon in healthcare is to perform surgical procedures needed to address problems patients have with their eyes. The types of surgeries they perform depend on the sub-specialties they select while going through their education and training. Once you have been given a diagnosis by your optometrist, which may need to be confirmed by an ophthalmologist, you will see an eye surgeon for treatment. Your eye surgeon will also check your eyes after the procedure to make sure you’re healing properly.
An eye surgeon is a doctor who holds an MD (medical degree). Becoming an eye surgeon requires a great deal of education and persistence, just as any other doctoral degree requires. The residency and internship give an ophthalmology student hands-on experience working with patients that can be used in practice. In this way, eye surgeons are very well prepared for their careers.
- After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree, the individual applies to medical school
- Earning a medical degree is a four-year program, which does not include the residency and internship
- Complete a three-year residency in ophthalmology
- Complete a minimum of one year in an internship
Licensing and Skill Requirements
Like any other kind of physician, ophthalmologists also need to pass a licensing exam in order to practice. State licensing requirements vary. Ophthalmologists must have strong physics and math skills as well as a robust medical knowledge. Because many ophthalmologists also own their own practices, good management and administrative skills are also helpful.
Common Services Offered
There are many services that can be offered by an eye doctor. Below is a list of the most common eye care services:
- Laser Cataract Surgery
- Laser Vision Correction with LASIK
- Eyelid Surgery
- General Eye Care
Benefits of becoming an eye surgeon
There are lots of benefits to becoming an eye surgeon. Along with the need for highly-qualified eye surgeons in the healthcare field, the field itself has benefits.
Eye surgery is unique. Though there are other fields that come close to ophthalmology, there is no real overlap with other specialties in medicine. In fact, other surgeons will call in an eye surgeon when needed rather than attempt the surgery themselves. It requires a unique set of skills that make it unlike any other specialty.
Ophthalmology is making great strides in technology. As technology develops, more tools and gadgets are being used in the field. LASIK is a good example of this. The development and application of these technologies provides the ability for eye surgeons to provide more effective treatment for their patients.
The field is in high demand. Eye care is essential for people’s well-being. They rely on their sight to be able to live their lives. That, paired with the unique knowledge and skills required for eye surgeons to be successful, make ophthalmology a field of great demand within healthcare.
The average eye doctor salary is well over six figures, which follows the same trend as other physicians and healthcare practitioners. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median pay for ophthalmologists at $208,000 per year. However, there are other sources that have salary expectations as high as $343,115. The American Academy of Ophthalmology wrote that there are almost 27,500 ophthalmologists currently practicing in the US as of 2018. It is important to note that a large portion of these doctors are 55 or older (47% to be exact), meaning there could be a shortage in the near future. This has the potential to significantly impact the ophthalmologist job outlook, which the BLS projects to increase by 13% from now through 2026.
How To Become An Eye Surgeon
The ophthalmologist career path is a quite satisfying one that allows you to make a real difference in the lives of patients from newborns to teenagers to the elderly. The difficult ophthalmologist education requirements mean this career is not for everyone, but if you work hard, there’s no reason why you can’t become a certified eye surgeon. Be sure to fully understand your education requirements before starting down this career path to ensure you are prepared to take on the challenge. This profession does indeed require a great deal of education, but it offers great rewards with a generous salary in the end.