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Careers in Ophthalmology
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What is an Eye M.D. (Ophthalmologist)?

An Eye M.D. is an ophthalmologist, a medical or osteopathic doctor who specializes in eye and vision care. Eye M.D.s are specially trained to provide the full spectrum of eye care, from prescribing glasses and contact lenses to complex and delicate eye surgery. Many Eye M.D.s are also involved in scientific research into the causes and cures for eye diseases and vision problems.

Eye M.D.s are an essential part of the eye care team. For more on the eye care team and other eye-health information, visit GetEyeSmart.org.

Education and Training

In addition to four years of medical school and one year of internship, every Eye M.D. spends a minimum of three years of residency (hospital-based training) in ophthalmology. During residency, Eye M.D.s receive special training in all aspects of eye care, including prevention, diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment of eye conditions and diseases.

Often, an Eye M.D. spends an additional one to two years training in a sub specialty, that is, a specific area of eye care (for example, glaucoma or pediatric ophthalmology.)

Board Certification

Many (but not all) Eye M.D.s are board certified. A board certified Eye M.D. has passed a rigorous two-part examination given by the American Board of Ophthalmology designed to assess his/her knowledge, experience and skills.