Sep 9, 2015
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Hello-- newbie here...

I'm just a pre-med student but figured that this question was best suited in the Allopathic section. I have a visual handicap in one eye where I am essentially blind, and rely off one eye. In the future I may be able to gain minimal sight... nothing too significant. I assume that my lack of depth perception would be the main concern.

I was wondering if this handicap can disqualify me from certain specialties like surgery . If this is the case, would anyone care to share specifically what specialties or subspecialties I may be disqualified from.
 

repititionition

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microsurgery is out (uro, optho, vascular, neuro). Everything else is fine as long as you have well-developed compensating mechanisms.

Also: pre-allo
 
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Ismet

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Moving to pre-allo. Plenty of med students and physicians answer questions there too!
 
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scoops619

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I'm very interested in this as well--one of my eyes is a prosthetic, but I've always wanted to be a surgeon, and of all my shadowing experience I found being in the OR the most exciting. Obviously, this may change once I go through rotations (if I even get in anywhere!), but I'd hate to have such a huge number of specialties barred from me because of something I can't control like my eye.
 
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Mad Jack

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As they've said, microsurgery is out. That's about it. You can do pretty much everything else in medicine.

The trouble with microsurgery is that, even with good eyes, the depths you are working at are incredibly difficult to differentiate between. We're talking a millimeter in some cases. That's kind of hard to compensate for. Ortho surg, much of general surg, etc., you'd probably be fine.
 

Cyberdyne 101

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As they've said, microsurgery is out. That's about it. You can do pretty much everything else in medicine.

The trouble with microsurgery is that, even with good eyes, the depths you are working at are incredibly difficult to differentiate between. We're talking a millimeter in some cases. That's kind of hard to compensate for. Ortho surg, much of general surg, etc., you'd probably be fine.
I think ortho would be difficult as well because a microscope is used for certain spine procedures. The same might also apply to hand surgeries and surgical oncology.
 

Cyberdyne 101

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gonnif

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Additionally, all medical schools have technical standards which include vision requirements. How that may impact you on admissions I do not know
 

mimelim

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You can do ortho without spine though, no?
Gotta do your spine and hand rotations during residency though. I don't think you can skip them.
@mimelim @SouthernSurgeon @RogueUnicorn
ACGME Ortho program requirements:

Each resident's experiences must include:

the diagnosis and management of adult and pediatric orthopaedic disorders, including:

IV.A.6.d).(1).(c) surgery of the spine, including disk surgery, spinal trauma, and spinal deformities;
 

RogueUnicorn

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I am very sorry to say that I can't think of a single pure surgery discipline where you won't be at a significant disadvantage without vision in both eyes, to the point you may not meet the physical ability requirement...

I'd strongly advise, once in med school, you seek out the home program PD and get his/her take on it.

Gotta do your spine and hand rotations during residency though. I don't think you can skip them.
@mimelim @SouthernSurgeon @RogueUnicorn
This is true, unfortunately....
 
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scoops619

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It seems like once I was out as an attending, and depending on the specifics of my practice, I could possibly be ok, but that getting through residency would be almost impossible. I've suspected for a while that this might be the case, and it's better to find out now than a few years in the future. Thanks everyone for the responses.
 

Freigeist

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I know of surgical program directors that specifically ask applicants if they have depth perception if there's evidence of visual problems (ie wearing glasses in the OR). Ridiculous, I know, but that's how it is