Why is ophthalmology difficult to study

How do I become an ophthalmologist?

The ophthalmologist determines that the eyesight is reduced and many people can no longer imagine everyday life without contact lenses and glasses. But the specialists in ophthalmology also treat various other ailments that affect our visual organs, such as cataracts. So it can happen that you have to laser or operate. Do you want to become an ophthalmologist? Then you should first complete a 12-semester medical degree. After passing the state examination, you apply for your license to practice medicine, i.e. state approval to practice the medical profession. You will then begin your 5-year specialist training as an assistant doctor in the field of ophthalmology. You can then practice as an ophthalmologist.

What does everyday work look like?

There are several options for you to work in the profession of ophthalmologist. In the following you will find a possible daily routine as the owner of an ophthalmic practice:

8:00 a.m.

You arrive at your practice. Your first patient Jannis Bötcher is already sitting in the waiting room. He would like to start the driver's license training and for this he needs an ophthalmological certificate. So you do an eye test with him. With a special device you show him “Landolt rings”, which have an opening at one point. He has to recognize this. You notice that his visual performance in the right eye is less than 70%. This means that the eye test is not passed. The student is not happy about the news. With a document you confirm to him that a visual aid can compensate for his poor eyesight.

8:30 a.m.

Since your next appointment has been canceled, you now have time to measure Jannis' eyes more closely. He has the option to start driving school as soon as possible. With the certificate of the required diopters, he can then make the desired contact lenses.

9.15 a.m.

You have an emergency. Mrs. Knolle's left eye is watering heavily, it is red and she winks often. You take a closer look and notice a small part of the plant in your organ of vision. That fits her story, because yesterday afternoon she pruned the bushes in her garden and it was very windy. First, carefully remove the foreign body from the eye to avoid further injury. Then you examine Ms. Knoll's visual organ to see whether it has been damaged. Fortunately, this is not the case.

12:10 p.m.

Due to the care of Ms. Knolle, your schedule has been postponed a little. That is why many patients are already sitting in the waiting room. Next up is Mr Ulters. He comes regularly for glaucoma checkups. With this control you ensure that you recognize the first signs of the glaucoma or cataract at an early stage.

3:15 p.m.

The waiting room in your practice is initially empty. You therefore take the opportunity to take a seat in the kitchen and have something to eat in peace.

3:45 p.m.

After the short break, it goes on. Mr. Relsch would like to have his eyesight checked. He already wears glasses, but doesn't see as well with them as he did at the beginning. With the phoropter, a kind of trial glasses that the patient has to look through, you test the vision of both eyes. In addition, you use an eye chart as an aid. With this you can control which is the smallest sign that Mr. Relsch can still recognize with and without eyesight. The diopter values ​​have changed a little.

6:00 p.m.

After you have taken care of all patients, your practice closes and you go home.

requirements

  • Motor sensitivity
  • Interest in further technical development and own further training
  • empathy

What does an ophthalmologist do?

To determine if you have poor eyesight, you typically start with an eye test. The patient reads signs from a visual test chart that decrease in size towards the bottom. This is how you simulate distance. If the first indicators of ametropia emerge here, you continue to research. The autorefraction is an eye examination in which you determine the length of the eyes and thus receive an indication of ametropia. For example, if the eyeball is too long, it is myopia. During this procedure, the patient places their chin on a bracket and leans their forehead against it. After you have discovered various signs of a visual defect, you determine the visual acuity with the phoropter. You state this in diopters. These are very large trial glasses with which the examined person should recognize numbers and letters. During the procedure you cover one of his eyes and change the glasses until he can read the numbers without any problems.
Sometimes you correct the ametropia of your patients with a laser. There are various methods to choose from for this. The type of illness such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or presbyopia decides which procedure you use. Before performing such an operation, you first measure the eye. Then you check whether the person to be treated is even suitable for the procedure. So that you can treat myopia, for example, the cornea of ​​the affected eyes needs a certain thickness. Because you dilute this to reduce the refractive power of the eye and thus compensate for the loss of vision. Follow-up exams are especially important because the patient's behavior has a major impact on the healing process. Above all, you check the surface of the cornea that has not yet healed. Because with her there is a risk of tearing if the person rubs their eyes.
Cataracts mean that the lens in the human eye is no longer transparent, but begins to become cloudy. This is because the composition of the fluid contained in the lens has changed. Sometimes it is necessary to treat the disease surgically. This microsurgical operation is carried out on an outpatient basis and usually only takes 20 minutes. You remove the cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial one. Since the new lens must have the same refractive power as the previous one, you measure the length of the patient's eye with an ultrasound device and determine the refractive power of the cornea. So you are able to calculate the lens power of the new intraocular lens.

What are the job prospects?

As an ophthalmologist, you can expect very good career prospects. Doctors are looking for successors or partners in their practice, especially in rural areas. In a clinic you also have the chance of a senior or chief physician position.

What qualities should I have?

  • Scientific understanding

What specializations are there?

In strabology, the focus is on strabismus diseases. These are caused by disorders of the eye muscle balance. Six different muscles control the movements of an eye. When they fail, strabismus develops. The reasons for this are different. For example, violence can cause trauma to the organ of vision or paralysis of certain eye muscles. Severe farsightedness or nearsightedness may also lead to the coordination of the muscles failing and the patient to squint. Your therapeutic approaches range from prescribing glasses to eye operations. With adults, you often use prism glasses, which take on the task of aligning images. The treatment of children also begins with the correction of possible ametropia. However, if this does not bring the desired success, you use the occlusion treatment. In doing so, you tape the healthy eye shut for a certain period of time so that the cross-eyed visual organ corrects the ametropia.
Glaucoma, also known as glaucoma, is symptom-free, which is why early detection is extremely important for successful treatment. Because as soon as damage occurs to the optic nerve, it can no longer be repaired. The cause of the losses is often increased intraocular pressure. It arises from the fact that there is an imbalance between the formation and drainage of the aqueous humor. To detect glaucoma, you first analyze the field of vision. However, since the restrictions are only noticeable in a late stage of the disease or even arise due to another cause, you use further examination methods. With the slit lamp, which contains a built-in microscope, you look at the fundus. If you discover glaucoma, it is important to watch to see if it is spreading. You also use the intraocular pressure measurement for the follow-up. You treat glaucoma with medication or surgery.
In refractive surgery, you deal with eye operations that improve the overall refractive power of the eye. They mean that the person being treated no longer has to rely on their glasses or contact lenses or at least requires a lower strength. The cornea and the lens of the eye are the main focuses of your work, as these are the most important components in terms of refractive power. That is why you differentiate between refractive corneal surgery, in which the treatment is carried out using laser procedures, and refractive lens surgery. With the latter method, you often replace the lens with an artificial one. You decide which technique to use based on the diagnosis and the diopter value. For example, the LASIK laser method is suitable for treating myopia up to about -10 dioptres.

particularities

  • You can do most of the diagnostic tests yourself.
  • The focus is on a comparatively small organ.
  • Protected job title
  • Weekend and night services

Did you already know, that ...

  • ... Leonard Hofstadter wears glasses without glasses on “The Big Bang Theory” from season 1 to season 10 because his actor Johnny Galecki doesn't need them at all?
  • ... 70% of our sensory cells are in the eye retina?
  • ... the six eye muscles that are most active in the body?

This celebrity is also an ophthalmologist

Philipp Rösler - politician

After graduating from high school, Philipp Rösler did his military service as a medical officer candidate and at the same time joined the Free Democratic Party (FDP). From 1993 to 1999 he then studied human medicine at the Hannover Medical School. He then began his training as an ophthalmologist in the Bundeswehr Hospital in Hamburg. However, for the sake of politics, he did not complete this. (Image: © World Economic Forum / CC BY-SA 2.0 (via Wikimedia Commons))

What speaks for the job

  1. Large age range of patients
  2. Small organ with diverse clinical pictures
  3. Scientific activity possible
  4. Different career options

What speaks against the job

  1. The path to work through the state examination, practical year and specialist training takes a lot of time

Starting salary as an ophthalmologist

After completing your studies, you will begin your career as an assistant doctor in training to become a specialist. If you are employed at a university clinic, you earn an average of around € 3,800 ¹ to € 4,900 ¹ gross per month. As a specialist, your initial payment will be around € 6,050 ¹. Since different collective agreements apply depending on the hospital operator, you have to expect different starting salaries there.

If you work as an assistant doctor in a private clinic group, you can expect around € 4,550 ¹ per month, while as a specialist you can look forward to € 5,950 ¹. Your salary in a municipal hospital will be a little lower. Here you will receive around 4,400 € ¹ in your position as an assistant doctor and 5,800 € ¹ if you are working as a specialist.

  • Ophthalmologist3.800 €¹
  • dentist3.500 €¹

Salary based on work experience

You will already gain work experience during your internship. In the sixth year you switch to the position of specialist. If you work in a hospital, it means for you that your salary group will change and your income will increase. On average, with a total of 6 to 10 years of work experience, you will receive € 5,720 ¹ gross per month. If you have more than 10 years of professional experience, you can look forward to around € 7,210 ¹ gross monthly.

If you are aiming for a senior physician or chief physician position, you can count on higher income. As a resident doctor, the average net income in your practice is around € 30,850 ¹ gross per month. This sum represents the difference between income and expenditure.

Salary based on work experience

You will already gain professional experience during your internship. In the sixth year you switch to the position of specialist. If you work in a hospital, it means for you that your salary group will change and your income will increase. On average, with a total of 6 to 10 years of work experience, you will receive € 5,720 ¹ gross per month. If you have more than 10 years of professional experience, you can look forward to around € 7,210 ¹ gross monthly.

If you are aiming for a senior physician or chief physician position, you can count on higher income. As a resident doctor, the average net income in your practice is around € 30,850 ¹ gross per month. This sum represents the difference between income and expenditure.

Salary by state

The average earnings vary in the federal states. The income of ophthalmologists is highest in Hesse, where you receive around 7,430 € ¹ gross per month. In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania you get around € 5,220 ¹. In all other federal states, your gross monthly salary ranges between € 5,400 ¹ and € 7,420 ¹.