What does an ophthalmologist do?
Ophthalmologists take on patient referrals from optometrists when symptoms of eye disease are detected. They are able to diagnose diseases and disorders of the eye and visual system and recommend treatment options for their patients. Ophthalmologists can choose to work in a variety of settings, including hospital operating theatres, out-patient clinics or community care centres.
- Operating specialist equipment including slit lamps, ophthalmoscopes, and lenses
- Performing microsurgery on the eye
- Providing diagnoses and treatment plans for eye diseases and disorders
- Managing the care of patients with chronic eye disease
- Working with other medical specialists, nurses and care providers
What skills do I need to be an ophthalmologist?
It’s useful to be detail oriented and well organised in your daily practice as an ophthalmologist, juggling many patient records and staying up to date on research. Hand-eye coordination is important for performing microsurgery and other treatments on patients, often in low-light conditions. As you will be working closely with different medical practitioners, nurses, patients and their families, it’s essential that you are an effective communicator.
- Attention to detail and organisational skills
- Able to perform well under pressure
- Exceptional dexterity necessary to perform microsurgery
- Interpersonal skills to communicate with patients and other medical practitioners
- Strong research skills to develop your specialist knowledge
Ophthalmology is an interesting medical profession as it provides patients requiring both surgical intervention and non-invasive medical treatments. As your career progresses, you can elect to specialise your practice to suit your interests. Some ophthalmologists will specialise in oculoplastic and laser procedures, cataract surgery or specialise in other surgical work like vitreoretinal surgery. There are also options to work exclusively in research or consultancy.
Study pathways for ophthalmologists
Ophthalmology requires a minimum of twelve years of tertiary study, first attaining a medical degree, completing internship and residency as a doctor and then undertaking further specialist study as an ophthalmologist.
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Practicing ophthalmologists will receive their certification from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists following successful completion of their examinations.
Getting a job after graduation
Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your ophthalmology career. Take a look at our sample resume and cover letter and put your best foot forward when you apply for ophthalmology jobs.
Job Prospects and Salaries
There is a high demand for ophthalmologists, especially in remote and rural areas. Projections predict growth in this field over the coming years.