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Mission vision

education Updated: Apr 30, 2013 18:20 IST

Hindustan Times
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The lowdown

Ophthalmology is the branch of medicine that deals with the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the eye. Ophthalmologists are specialists who diagnose, prevent and treat diseases of the eye requiring medical and surgical intervention. They study the techniques for the prevention of eye disease and injury. They treat patients of all ages, from babies to the elderly and use special equipment such as a tonometer to measure pressure of the eyes, and phoropter to check for refractive errors. If a patient’s visual acuity (the ability to see) is less than normal, opthalmologists usually do a check to determine whether the decrease in vision can be corrected with glasses. If glasses don’t help, they take recourse to surgery for removal of cataracts (clouding of the lens of the eye). Other types of surgeries are conducted to correct strabismus (a disorder in which the two eyes do not line up in the same direction) or other muscle problems

The average day of an ophthalmologist:
6.30am: Yoga/morning walk
7.30am: Have breakfast
8am: Leave for work
8.30am to 10am: Time for surgery
10am to 1pm: Consultancy starts. Treat patients in OPD
2pm: Work varies, depending on OT requirements/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

The payoff
At the entry level (after MBBS while undergoing specialisation), you can expect a salary of Rs. 50,000 to 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 get a salary above Rs. 5 lakh a month in a private set-up, and around Rs. 2 lakh a month in a government set-up. Salaries also depend on your employer and experience

* Good at academics, for getting into the medical profession
* Good hand-eye coordination, which is essential for microsurgery
* Ability to stay grounded and relaxed in high-pressure situations
* Dedication to the profession and zeal to provide help and relief to patients as soon as possible

Getting there
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 http://pgimer.nic.in/
* Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry www.jipmer.edu.in

Pros and cons
* A sense of gratification as you heal people
* The working hours are not very demanding
* The pay is very good
* Not many emergencies (good especially for women as they can maintain a healthy work-life balance)
* Basic postgraduate degree is not sufficient to start practising
* Starting your practice could be a little difficult as it requires huge financial support

Courage is neither lion’s roar nor an ant’s silent bite. It’s about believing in doing ethical work for the society. The same goes for ophthalmology as a profession -- Dr Rajvardhan Azad, chief of RP Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi