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Glut of Ophthalmologists?

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USFOptho

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After talking to colleagues of mine, I've noticed that they are of the popular opinion that due to present and future trends, there is a tremendous oversupply of ophthalmologists, driving down salaries to associate's averaging only 120k, and jobs running scarce....

Opinions?

P.S. I'm not a resident/newly graduated resident, so if someone that has more recent initial job offering data could post, that would be appreciated....
 

Andrew_Doan

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The starting salaries for new grads range from 120k-160K/year. After you become partner (~3 years), the salaries are higher. There was a recent article about salaries that you can read here:
http://www.ophmanagement.com/archive_results.asp?article=85973

In regards to the glut, I don't completely agree with this. If you take any specialty in medicine, it will always be tough to find a job in larger metropolitan cities. On the other hand, there will be lucrative job opportunities in smaller cities and rural areas. The problem is that few residents want to venture into Nebraska, Idaho, or Alaska. This problem exists for ophthalmology too, but if you're willing to work in a rural or small city, then you can do very well financially. What's more important: money vs where you live?

Also, the demands for a specialty will fluctuate. For instance, ten years ago, anesthesiology was not popular, but is highly sought after today. Radiology may be hot today, but may be less attractive 10 years from now. We can't predict the future, and my recommendation is that you pursue a field that you love.
 

USFOptho

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Andrew,

thank you very much for the prompt response. I love ophthalmology, so I'm pursuing it ;-)

I just wanted some opinions on the "glut" theory.


Thank you!
 

Stark

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Whether or not there is a glut of ophthalmolgists depends on what market you are talking about.

If you are referring to the market in NYC or San Francisco, yes the market is saturated. If, on the other hand, you are referring to smaller cities in middle-america (50 to 200K) in population, the market is a little more favorable for ophthalmologists (and many other physicians in general). Here they can earn higher salaries while having a much lower cost of living and lower practice overhead.

It is like saying there is a glut of lawyers in the US. In some cities there are far too many, and in others there are far too few. It depends on what salary you are shooting for and where you are willing to live.

Best of luck,

Stark
 

USFOptho

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Originally posted by medstud721
CHECK THIS OUT

http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2003/08/25/prsc0825.htm

A quote from there:

"Surgery is a significant part of ophthalmologists' work but not the bulk of their daily routine, he said. One past work force study showed ophthalmologists spend 17% of their time on surgery. An increase in surgery would mean restructuring the work load, he said, and might even include allowing optometrists to take over more tasks."

Allowing optometrists to take over more tasks? Surely you don't think he means surgery, do you? I love OD's in that they are primary care eye docs, and are wonderful to have in a practice....but surgery?
 

exmike

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Originally posted by USFOptho
A quote from there:

"Surgery is a significant part of ophthalmologists' work but not the bulk of their daily routine, he said. One past work force study showed ophthalmologists spend 17% of their time on surgery. An increase in surgery would mean restructuring the work load, he said, and might even include allowing optometrists to take over more tasks."

Allowing optometrists to take over more tasks? Surely you don't think he means surgery, do you? I love OD's in that they are primary care eye docs, and are wonderful to have in a practice....but surgery?

I think they mean ODs would take over more non-surgical tasks.
 

Kalel

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I think that most of the opthamologists complaining about a glut in their specialty (and there are quite a few) are the older physicians, who remember the days of much higher reimbursement by medicare for their procedures in the 80's (my understanding is that optho got hit particularly hard) and there were fewer optometrists handling the primary care work. I don't think that the article posted is really reflective of what's going on in private practice in many upper class suburban areas; there I do think that there is a real oversupply of opthalmologists. You can tell by the advertising wars and discounting prices (some even using coupons) of many of the elective procedures that competetion is tight for these procedures. It's like most specialties, physicians just don't want to work in certain areas.
 
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