Ophthalmology is all about investigation, diagnosis, prevention and treatment both medical and surgical of diseases of the eye. The word ophthalmology comes from the Greek words ophthalmos meaning eye and logos, meaning word, thought or discourse.
Ophthalmologists study the techniques for the prevention of eye disease and injury.
They examine the eye with special equipment and check visual acuity (the ability to see). If a patient’s visual acuity is less than normal, they usually do a check to determine whether the decrease in vision can be corrected with glasses.
If glasses don’t help, they perform the necessary operation such as removal of cataracts (clouding of the lens of the eye). They may perform other types of operations that include surgery to correct strabismus (eye misalignment) or other muscle disorders of the eye.
6.30am: Yoga/ morning walk
7.30am: Have breakfast
8am: Leave for work
8.30am to 10am: Operate on patients
10am to 1pm: Consultancy starts. Treat patients in OPD
2pm: Work varies, depending on the requirement OT / lasers/ meetings/ clinical CME etc. Or go home to spend time with children
5pm to 8pm: Treat patients in the OPD
9pm: Call it a day
At the entry level (after MBBS while undergoing specialisation), you can expect a monthly salary between Rs 50,000 and Rs 80,000 a month which can rise to Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh a month when you start your practice.
At a senior level, you can draw a monthly salary above Rs 5 lakh a month in a private set-up, and around R2 lakh a month in a government set-up. Salaries depend on your employer and experience
S/he should have an aptitude for surgery
S/he should have good hand-eye coordination, which is essential in microsurgery
S/he should be dedicated, calm and ever ready to relate to the patient’s need
S/he should have good level of patience
Take up physics, chemistry, biology in Class 12. Take the pre-medical entrance examination conducted by the Central and state bodies. After completing MBBS and compulsory resident internship, sit for the postgraduate entrance exams at national or state level.
There are three-year postgraduate degree (MD, MS) and two-year PG diploma programmes (DO, DOMS). A three-year course, Diplomate of National Board (DNB), is also available at various medical colleges and some private eye institutes.
Institutes and URLs
Dr RP Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, AIIMS, New Delhi www.aiims.edu/ rpcentre.htm
Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai www.sankaranethralaya.org
L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad www.lvpei.org
Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai www.aravind.org
Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh pgimer.nic.in
Pros and Cons
A sense of gratification on being a sight restorer
The working hours are not too demanding
Not many emergencies (good especially for women as they can maintain a very healthy work-life balance)
There are not adequate numbers of institutes in India giving high-end training
Basic postgraduate degree is usually not sufficient to start practising with confidence
The pay is very good
It is a very well-respected profession to be associated with
Starting your practice may be a little difficult
The industry offers a lot of potential. Long exposure to computer screens along with lifestyle changes are leading to a lot of eye problems in people. It will only grow as their lives become more hectic
LR Seth, ophthalmologist, Apollo Hospitals