At one point or another, many people think about being a doctor, but are not sure which type. An ophthalmologist is a type of doctor that specializes and treats problems of the eyes. These problems can include glaucoma, cataracts, injuries to the eyes, as well as problems with vision such as farsightedness or nearsightedness. Ophthalmologists need to have more specialized training of the eye than a regular family doctor. Ophthalmologists are different than an optometrist as they need to complete medical school and have knowledge of general medicine and surgery.
What is the definition of an ophthalmologist and what are the requirements to become an ophthalmologist? Ophthalmologists are the only type of practitioners who are medically trained to diagnose and treat all eye and visual problems. The length of study to be an ophthalmologist is required to be at least 36 months including an appropriate periods for short vacations, special assignments or even individual circumstances that would be approved by the program director. Someone who is interested in becoming an ophthalmologist will need to complete a 4-year bachelor degree. Following this, a 4-year Doctor of Medicine program will also need to be completed. Additionally, a 3-year ophthalmology residency will have to be completed in a hospital.
There are many medical programs that encourage students to enroll in pre-ophthalmology programs. These programs are very rigorous and prepare students to take an optometry college admission test. These programs usually consist of chemistry, biology, physics and math.
The coursework in a medical program for ophthalmology will consist of the following:
Automated analysis of retinal fields.
In addition to the specialized studies listed above, students will learn about general health studies, anatomy and physiology.
An ophthalmologist is the type of physician that performs cataract surgery and surgery for glaucoma. After finishing residency, if desired, the student can subspecialize in 1-2 additional years of training for the following:
Pediatric ophthalmology and surgery.
Detailed muscle eye surgery.
Ophthalmology is a very broad surgical specialty with many different avenues for a detailed subspecialized practice. The surgical field allows ophthalmologists to treat patients of all ages, perform microsurgery inside the eye and around the eye with facial surgery for reconstructive or esthetic surgery. An ophthalmologist can also treat diseases of the eyes such as retinitis or uveitis. These diseases are usually systemic or inflammatory and involve the retina and vitreous of the eye. The treatment for this includes surgery and laser treatment. An ophthalmologist specializing in this field will need proficiency of micro-surgical techniques, which is generally a two-year fellowship program
With each sub-specialty a good of thing to keep in mind is that there will be specialized training needed for certification, and there will be a time requirement of time spent in residency.