Ophthalmologist - Doctor of Ophthalmology Job Description

Ophthalmologist Job Description: Ophthalmologists, are doctors of ophthalmology, they provide complete medical for the eyes. They not only examine people’s eyes to diagnose vision problems and eye diseases, but they test patients’ visual acuity, depth and color perception, and ability to focus and coordinate the eyes. Ophthalmologists are doctors that operate on the eyes as well as prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses and provide vision therapy and low-vision rehabilitation. Ophthalmologists analyze test results and develop a treatment plan. They administer drugs to patients to aid in the diagnosis of vision problems and prescribe drugs to treat some eye diseases. Ophthalmologists often provide care to cataract patients, as well as to patients who have had laser vision correction or other eye surgery. As part of the Ophthalmologist job description they also diagnose conditions caused by systemic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, referring patients to other health practitioners as needed.

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Working Conditions

Ophthalmologists work in hospitals, medical facilities and private practices that are clean, well-lighted, and comfortable. Most full-time Ophthalmologists work about 40 hours a week. However, many work weekends and evenings to suit the needs of patients and their surgical and emergency schedules.

Training and Qualifications - what you have to do to be an Ophthalmologist

The Doctor of Ophthalmologist degree is acquired through medical school (M.D. or D.O) after the completion of a college degree. A strong background in science and mathematics is important to the field of medicine.  Once they receive their medical degree most Doctors of Ophtalmology continue to advance their studies throughout their career. 

Licensing and Credentialing

All States and the District of Columbia require that Ophthalmologists be licensed. Applicants for a license must have a Doctor of Ophthalmologist degree from an accredited medical school and must pass both a written National Board examination and a National, regional, or State clinical board examination. The written and clinical examinations of the National Board of Examiners in Ophthalmology usually are taken during the student’s academic career. Many States also require applicants to pass an examination on relevant State laws. Licenses are renewed every 1 to 3 years and, in all States, continuing education credits are needed for renewal.

Significant Points

Admission to ophthalmology school is competitive.

To be licensed, Ophthalmologists must earn a Doctor of Ophthalmology degree from an accredited ophthalmology school and pass a written National Board exam and a clinical examination.

Employment is expected to grow faster than average in response to the vision care needs of a growing and aging population.

The Ophthalmologist job description is expected to expand over the next few years as advances in optometry create better diagnostic and treatment options.


Nearly all Ophthalmologists are self-employed in private practice. Increases in income come primarily from seeing more clients or raising fees. Medical group practices and hospital affiliations are becoming more common than in the past.