The study of conditions and diseases of the eye. The daily duties of an ophthalmologist may include using instruments to look deep into the inner part of a patient's eye. There, they can check for tumors, circulation problems, glaucoma, cataracts and other problems. The ophthalmoscope is the most common tool used for these examinations. Once diagnosed, a treatment plan is made that may include eye exercise, medication or even surgery.
Ophthalmologists differ from optometrists, who generally only treat vision problems. When optometrists suspect that patients may have eye conditions beyond what they can diagnose, they will often refer them to ophthalmologists.
Ophthalmologists must complete a four-year degree from an accredited college and four years of medical school before becoming an ophthalmologist. After medical school, they must complete one-year internships, followed by three years of training as residents. Standardized tests are taken after both of these phases to ensure the ophthalmologists meet minimum state requirements. There may also be periodical recertification testing depending on the state in which the ophthalmologist practices. After passing state exams, licensed ophthalmologists can work in hospitals, private practices and research facilities. Some ophthalmologists also advance to teaching positions at universities and medical schools.
Ophthalmologists may also perform surgical procedures. This includes removal of glass and other particles from the eye and more advanced surgery like transplanting a cornea. Steady hands and good manual dexterity are required to achieve success in this part of the job.