|Medical Student Director:||Dr. David Bogorad|
|dbogorad at augusta dot edu|
|Coordinator:||Ms. Brenda Word|
|bword at augusta dot edu|
» Long term doctor-patient connections|
» Both medical and surgical interventions
» Family friendly career
» Clear impact in the lives of others
» Congenial relationships with patients
» Wonderful opportunity to use skills around the world
As a student of medicine you have invested much energy and perseverance into the process of becoming of a physician. The march through the labs and study halls of medical school is but another of the largely programmed steps you have followed. The career molding choice of residency is a fork in the educational road that you may feel ill-equipped to make. What follows are a few thoughts about the practice ophthalmology which I hope may be of some use as you ponder your decision.
Paramount to a satisfied life is that which you do for others. The practice of ophthalmology is a wonderful means to help people concerned not only about a diagnosis, but also for a solution. Among the many rewarding things you can do for your patients is the ability to give vision back through cataract surgery. To be able to restore such a vital function to another is to renew life in its own way.
While surgery is crucial in the practice of ophthalmology back of this is the medical approach to the patient. In most cases much more time will be spent in the clinic than in the operating room. Many find attractive the long term and often multi-generational relationships that develop.
Beyond the broad medical/surgical scope a number of features are good to understand. Overall, the hours need not be strenuous and the on-call duties in practice can be quite manageable. This is very important in the ensuring guarded family time since the family should outlast the career if at all possible. The field is intellectually challenging. If you are a person who is fascinated by technology there is quite a set of instruments for use diagnostically and surgically. If you inclined to take your cataract removal skills to the third world you will find that such surgery in many of those areas can be perceived to border on the miraculous.
As for the day-to-day experience each clinic is generally set up with a number of rooms called lanes with slit-lamps, phoropters, ophthalmoscopes, lights, drops, lenses and so much more. The typical ophthalmologist will have technicians who work up each patient before you as the doctor see them. Doing much more than taking the history and vital signs they often are heavily involved in the examination process, most even aiming for various tiers of certification. Among the things they do are: vision checks, visual field testing, motility testing, checking of the eye pressure and pupils and many will even refract (measure for glasses). After much of this is complete you will review what they have done, examine the patient yourself and then counsel the patient about directions they may go to preserve or improve vision.
There are many other things that could be said which go beyond the scope of this vignette. If you would like you may set up a meeting with one of our residents, with our faculty or you could even come to a meeting of the Ophthalmology Interest Group where a few more details can be heard to help you decide which direction you need to go in this very important decision.