HindustanTimes Sat,25 Oct 2014
Sight savers
Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 03, 2012
First Published: 11:37 IST(3/10/2012)
Last Updated: 11:40 IST(3/10/2012)
Hands at work: An ophthalmologist should have good hand-eye coordination, which is essential in microsurgery

The lowdown
Ophthalmologists work to diagnose, prevent and treat diseases of the eye. The word ophthalmology comes from the Greek words — ophthalmos meaning eye and logos meaning science. From a basic eye examination to the latest imaging systems, there has been lot of technological advancement in ophthalmology as a branch of medical science. Today, the most common problem among youngsters is weak eyesight and among old people, cataract. Besides this, there are a lot of other diseases like glaucoma, changes of retina due to diabetes, corneal diseases and transplants. Ophthalmologists also perform other types of operations that include surgeries to correct strabismus (eye misalignment) or other muscle disorders of the eye

An average day of a ophthalmologist
6.30am: Yoga/morning walk
7.30am: Breakfast
8am: Leave for work
8.30am: Operate patients/ treat outdoor patients
10am to 1pm: Consultancy starts. Treat patients in OPD/ supervising ward rounds and indoor management
2pm: Work varies, depending on the requirement — OT/ lasers/ meetings/ clinical continuing medical education/PG training etc. Or go home to spend time with family
5pm to 8pm: Treat patients in the OPD
9pm: Call it a day

The payoff
At the entry level (after MBBS while pursuing course in a specialisation), you can expect a monthly salary of Rs. 40,000- Rs. 50,000 a month, Rs. 80,000 post-MD which can rise to Rs. 1 lakh-2 lakh a month when you start your practice. At a senior level, you can draw a monthly salary above Rs. 5 lakh per month in the private sector, and around Rs. 2 lakh a month in the government sector. Salaries depend on your employer and experience

* You should have good hand-eye coordination, which is essential in microsurgery
* Have a lot of patience and inter-personal skills to strike a rapport with the patient 
* You should have the motivation and desire to serve

Getting there
Take up physics, chemistry, biology in Class 12. Take the pre-medical entrance test conducted by the Central and other bodies. After completing the MBBS course and compulsory resident internship, write the postgraduate entrance tests at the national or state level. There are three-year postgraduate degrees such as MD and MS, and two-year PG diploma programmes like diploma in ophthalmology (DO) and diploma in ophthalmic medicine and surgery (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, AIMS, New Delhi
* Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai
* LV Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad
* Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai
* Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh
* Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research, Puducherry
* Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
* Armed Forces Medical College, Pune

Pros and cons
* A sense of satisfaction at being able to restore someone’s sight
* The working hours are demanding but not unmanageable
* Not many emergencies
* A very well-respected profession to be associated with
* Income-wise it’s a very good profession

A career in ophthalmology is highly rewarding, both professionally and personally as you make people see the world Dr Rajvardhan Azad, chief of RP Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi

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