What is an Ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is an M.D., a doctor of medicine, or a D.O., a doctor of osteopathy, who specializes in the medical and surgical care of the eye, visual system and associated structures. An ophthalmologist has completed four years of undergraduate college education, four years of medical school, one year of internship, and three years or more of medical/surgical training and experience in the diagnosis, treatment and management of eye disease and visual system abnormalities.

Board certification is not a requirement in Ophthalmology, but is a standard for doctors, hospitals and insurance companies. Board certified ophthalmologists must have graduated from an approved ophthalmology residency program, must have practiced for one year, must sit for written board examination, and if having passed the written exam at a high enough level, must sit for an oral board examination.

Board certified ophthalmologists have achieved a high standard and must be recertified every ten years. Ophthalmologists may attain subspecialty training in retina, cornea, glaucoma, ocular oncology, or neuro-ophthalmology. Fellowship status may also be attained as a Fellow of the Academy in College of Surgeons (F.A.C.S.) by submitting multiple cases, review of references from colleagues, and oral interview/exam by peers.

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