Choosing you specialty: Ophthalmology

If you fancy taking on a specialty that is a mix of both medical and surgical aspects, then ophthalmology could be the area for you, as you will be caring for patients who have acute eye conditions, as well as managing patients who are suffering from long term eye disease. Many ophthalmologists will also have a sub specialty interest, so this adds further diversity to your work – this could be surgical or non surgical.

eye image

You will need to be ready to deal with cases such as intra-ocular inflammation, raised eye pressure and neurological problems, as well as manage patients with minor and major eye injuries, patients with long term diseases of the eye such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.

Mainly a nine-to-five specialty, most consultant ophthalmologists have two or three operating sessions per week, and three or four clinic sessions (which may include treatment clinics). Acute clinics (eye A&E) tend to be managed by staff doctors and trainees with senior advice available as required. Work is based in operating theatres, outpatient clinics and increasingly in community clinics. There is a small amount of ward work.

Is this specialty for you?

Surgeries you may be required to perform include:

  • cataract surgery
  • glaucoma surgery
  • surgery for retinal disorders
  • corneal transplantation
  • oculoplastic surgery

Key skills required for this specialty include:

  • Excellent vision
  • Good hand-eye coordination
  • Excellent manual dexterity
  • Ability to emphasise and see person as a whole