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Ophthalmologist or Optometrist

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s720

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Hello everyone,

My wife was accepted into a College of Optometry. However, her heart is always with Ophthalmology. There are several reasons why she has chosen to apply to Optometry school instead, and one of the main reasons is because we have two children, one 5 the other 11 years old. We are just afraid that going to medical school, she will spend too much time away from the kids. I understand that it takes 4 years to attain her Optometrist degree. In regard to Ophthalmologist degree, doesn't it take much more years to get that degree?

For those who have experience with medical school life, especially those majored in Ophthalmology, please share with me your school curriculum, and also your internship and residency.

Thank you very much.
 

7ontheline

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4 years of med school, 1 year internship, 3 years residency. So 8 total years with significantly more time demands than optometry school (call, weekend work). Also, it's harder to get into med school than optometry and harder to get into ophthalmology than med school.
 

victorkomd

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I would say your wife made the right choice. I am the father of 2 small children (2 yo, 7 months) and I am in the last year of my internal medicine residency. My wife is at home with the children. I cannot fathom how difficult it must be to have children during medical school since studying takes up so much of your time. 8 years of training to become an ophthalmologist is a long time for a parent and if you plan on having more children, every year makes a huge difference. You can email me directly if you have other questions. [email protected]


s720 said:
Hello everyone,

My wife was accepted into a College of Optometry. However, her heart is always with Ophthalmology. There are several reasons why she has chosen to apply to Optometry school instead, and one of the main reasons is because we have two children, one 5 the other 11 years old. We are just afraid that going to medical school, she will spend too much time away from the kids. I understand that it takes 4 years to attain her Optometrist degree. In regard to Ophthalmologist degree, doesn't it take much more years to get that degree?

For those who have experience with medical school life, especially those majored in Ophthalmology, please share with me your school curriculum, and also your internship and residency.

Thank you very much.
 

PDT4CNV

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s720 said:
Hello everyone,

My wife was accepted into a College of Optometry. However, her heart is always with Ophthalmology. There are several reasons why she has chosen to apply to Optometry school instead, and one of the main reasons is because we have two children, one 5 the other 11 years old. We are just afraid that going to medical school, she will spend too much time away from the kids. I understand that it takes 4 years to attain her Optometrist degree. In regard to Ophthalmologist degree, doesn't it take much more years to get that degree?

For those who have experience with medical school life, especially those majored in Ophthalmology, please share with me your school curriculum, and also your internship and residency.

Thank you very much.

The smart thing to do would to go to dental school and be an orthodontist.
 

qwopty99

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even if ur wife got into med school, there's no guarantee whatsoever that she'd get into an ophthalmology residency. she could very well do 4 years of MD training, and get "stuck" in family, or internal, or whatever (u get the point).

she has to consider the risks of spending 4 years at MD training, and NOT get into ophthalmology (my feeling is that u can't PLAN to be an ophthalmologist - the odds are stacked against u getting in even if u want to). it's a big risk. go to medicine if u are sure u want to be an MD, NOT if ur sure u want to be an ophthalmologist (cause u may not become one). i think this is a fair statement.
 

Visioncam

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Contrary to an above post, it's easier to get into ophthalmology than medical school. About half of applicants get into med school but, percentage-wise, US senior med students are much more successfull in getting an ophthalmology residency.

The woman should do what she wants and not pick optometry because she thinks it's easier. If she likes ophthalmology more, she will be happier doing that then a 2nd choice. While in med school, students can change their mind and do derm, ENT, plastics, and other good specialties while optometry students are limited to being optometrists.
 

UABopt

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Don’t get the false impression though that optometry school is a walk in the park. Optometry school is not easy. Your wife, if she is anything like the rest of us, will dedicate A LOT of time to optometry school. Generally we have class and clinic from 8am to 5pm(some days later) and then we go home and study or go back to the preclinic to practice. Many weekends are spent studying and practicing as well. In short the time spent on undergrad course work pales in comparison to optometry school.

The advantages that optometry has over ophthalmology is that you can be completely done after 4 years, that is to say that a residency is not required. In addition as mentioned above even if your wife were to complete medical school successfully there is no guarantee of getting an ophthalmology residency.

The main disadvantage of optometry is that even after what most people would consider a ton of education (4 years for a BS and another 4 for an OD) and training, optometrists, while autonomous professionals, are not the end all be all of vision care. As it stands optometrists are trained to handle most primary eye care. That is to say (while perhaps oversimplified) optometrists, trained in the US, could potentially (and do) handle most things up to what would be considered surgery. The only way at this point to “move up” would be to start over and go to medical school.

Good luck to you and your wife.

s720 said:
Hello everyone,

My wife was accepted into a College of Optometry. However, her heart is always with Ophthalmology. There are several reasons why she has chosen to apply to Optometry school instead, and one of the main reasons is because we have two children, one 5 the other 11 years old. We are just afraid that going to medical school, she will spend too much time away from the kids. I understand that it takes 4 years to attain her Optometrist degree. In regard to Ophthalmologist degree, doesn't it take much more years to get that degree?

For those who have experience with medical school life, especially those majored in Ophthalmology, please share with me your school curriculum, and also your internship and residency.

Thank you very much.
 

qwopty99

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Visioncam said:
Contrary to an above post, it's easier to get into ophthalmology than medical school. About half of applicants get into med school but, percentage-wise, US senior med students are much more successfull in getting an ophthalmology residency.

the rationale for your argument is a bit lacking. perhaps application PERCENTAGE-wise, more MD applicants get into ophthalmology than undergrad applicants get into medical school, but WITHIN medical school (which is a seleted class), u have to generally be ranked towards the top to get an ophthalmology residency. i know this to be the case in canada, and i suspect it to be the case in the US.

a borderline medical student will get into medical school, but will have no hope in Hades of getting into ophthalmology. if it were all about SELECTIVITY ONLY, then u can probably create a list of private nursery schools that are "harder" to get into than Harvard undergrad.
 

zer0el

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It is NOT easier to get into optho than it is to get into med school. Percentages mean nothing. You have to look at the quality of the applicants. Optho applicants are self-selective, much more so than med school applicants. A 200, no Honors, no AOA, no research med student is not going to go for optho.

And to the OP, do you know why your wife prefers optho over optometry? The big advantages optho has over optometry is A) money and B) surgery. With regard to money, true you two will eat it during residency (tuition for both schools is a wash), but the first year out you'll be making several times that of an optometrist. The disparity only grows from there.
 

qwopty99

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well - money aside - i don't think u hear the majority of optometrists complaining about being overworked (i don't know if ophths do either, but u should get the point i'm making). optoms complain of boredom - it's an easy lifestyle and probably better suited to someone wanting to start and invest time in making a family. i'm not sure if too many MDs would disagree with that.

zer0el said:
And to the OP, do you know why your wife prefers optho over optometry?

i'm curious too. *most* people grow up seeing an optometrist. many medical students don't know about ophthalmology until they are in medical school. i can't say i know anyone wanting to grow up to be an "ophthalmologist". nothing wrong with that, but i'm sure they are greatly greatly outnumbered by the number of people wanting to grow up to be an optometrist (simply by visibility and familiarity).
 

drgregory

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you need to learn what an ophthalmologist does vs an optometrist. an OMD is an eye surgeon, and no one can perform eye surgery better than an OMD. period. an OD is a general eye doctor, and no one can perform primary eye care better than an OD, period. an OD should not perform major eye surgery, actually, an OD should not have a desire to perfrom major eye surgery.

this is part of what causes the problem between the two fields. i am an optometrist. i am NOT A SURGEON MAJOR of the eye. but, i can perform ANY non surgical eye treatment, and do it well. if i wanted to become an ophthalmologist, i would have gone to med school (one of the three i was accepted to).
if your passion is ophthalmology, do not become an OD - you will then long to become something you are not - an eye surgeon.

someone said go to dental school. bingo - youll bring in more cash than any OD or OMD, and have the lesser time spent in training.
 
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rubensan

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this post says it all! :thumbup: :thumbup:

drgregory said:
you need to learn what an ophthalmologist does vs an optometrist. an OMD is an eye surgeon, and no one can perform eye surgery better than an OMD. period. an OD is a general eye doctor, and no one can perform primary eye care better than an OD, period. an OD should not perform major eye surgery, actually, an OD should not have a desire to perfrom major eye surgery.

this is part of what causes the problem between the two fields. i am an optometrist. i am NOT A SURGEON MAJOR of the eye. but, i can perform ANY non surgical eye treatment, and do it well. if i wanted to become an ophthalmologist, i would have gone to med school (one of the three i was accepted to).
if your passion is ophthalmology, do not become an OD - you will then long to become something you are not - an eye surgeon.

someone said go to dental school. bingo - youll bring in more cash than any OD or OMD, and have the lesser time spent in training.
 

drgregory

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rubensan said:
this post says it all! :thumbup: :thumbup:

maybe educating prospective ODs and OMDs will help bridge the gap. any wise OD knows he/she should be the primary eye care provider, whether it be routine or ocular disease treatment. any wise OMD knows he/she is an eye surgeon, and time spent weeding out prospective surgical cases from routine cases is time that could have been better spent in surgery. at least, that is how it works at my multispecialty office where the eye surgeons perform surgery, and the eye doctors perform all non-surgical care. everyone is happy; optometrists, ophthalmologists, and patients. and, believe it or not, its real life. hopefully this is the model of the future - symbiotic eye care.
 

Hines302

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drgregory said:
maybe educating prospective ODs and OMDs will help bridge the gap. any wise OD knows he/she should be the primary eye care provider, whether it be routine or ocular disease treatment. any wise OMD knows he/she is an eye surgeon, and time spent weeding out prospective surgical cases from routine cases is time that could have been better spent in surgery. at least, that is how it works at my multispecialty office where the eye surgeons perform surgery, and the eye doctors perform all non-surgical care. everyone is happy; optometrists, ophthalmologists, and patients. and, believe it or not, its real life. hopefully this is the model of the future - symbiotic eye care.

:thumbup: Great Post!
 

onboard

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What exactly comes in the domain of "routine eye care" and ALL nonsurgical primary eye care. Refractions/dry eye is one thing but is managing POAG long term, determining candidacy for cataract surgery, dry AMD under the realm of an optometrist? What about the age old question of lasers ALT, PRP etc
 

POJO

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onboard said:
What exactly comes in the domain of "routine eye care" and ALL nonsurgical primary eye care. Refractions/dry eye is one thing but is managing POAG long term, determining candidacy for cataract surgery, dry AMD under the realm of an optometrist? What about the age old question of lasers ALT, PRP etc

Dear onboard,

Optometrists across the country have long been adept in managing pre surgical and post surgical cataract patients, long term POAG and even dry AMD.

The question of laser surgery isn't likely to be in the realm of the optometrist in the near future or for that matter in the distant future. I know many optometrists who don't have an interest in this realm. I, therefore, think that ophthalmologists shouldn't be concerned about this aspect of their territory.

POJO
 

7ontheline

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In my experience with some fairly inexperienced and also fairly experienced optometrists, I have found that they are often very capable of managing basic primary eye care. However, because they are not trained as surgeons I have found their evaluations of cataracts to be wrong at times (usually not a big deal) and I have also seen what I would consider mismanagement of glaucoma. I think that they often wait too long to refer for surgery or try too long with medications. I see a lot of referrals for ALTs that I personally would have taken for a trab some time ago. I am not trying to start a flame war here, this is my opinion.
 

onboard

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POJO said:
Dear onboard,

Optometrists across the country have long been adept in managing pre surgical and post surgical cataract patients, long term POAG and even dry AMD.

The question of laser surgery isn't likely to be in the realm of the optometrist in the near future or for that matter in the distant future. I know many optometrists who don't have an interest in this realm. I, therefore, think that ophthalmologists shouldn't be concerned about this aspect of their territory.

POJO


Dear, POJO, My point is that since Optometrists provide nonsurgical therapy, they are not best suited to provide care in patients whose disease coarse might require surgical intervention. Sometimes the decision on when to operate a glaucoma patient is not clear-cut and requires consideration by a surgeon rather than by a Optometrists who are not adept with determining surgical candidacy of the patient. These are the issues which make Ophthalmologists nervous when they hear about optometrists taking care of POAG etc rather than just simply a turf war.
 

drgregory

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yes - if an optometrist feels uncomfortable with POAG - refer it. i have yet to find an OMD that can manage non-surgical POAG any better than any optometrist, and i work at a referral center. as far as laser techniques - not many ODs i know have a desire to perform them - most have relationships built on trust from proper care WITH WISE OPHTHALMOLOGISTS who realize they are no better than ODs in ANY area of non-surgical eye care.
example: i see alot of keratoconus patients. i know an excellent corneal fellow. when my keratoconus patients are getting more severe (ie when surgery time is nearing) i have them visit the OMD - this way when it is surgery time, the person with the scalpal is not a total stranger.
problem is, we do have some older ODs practicing whose knowledge of primary eye care disease is limited. but, any more recently graduated OD is quite capable in ANY NON-SURGICAL EYE CARE environment - just as capable as any OMD.
i dont understand why no one else seems to be able to figure out how to practice symbiotically whereby both the OMDs and ODs are professionally happy and economically happy. i know of several groups in my area who are able to do it. :thumbup:
 

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14_of_spades said:
(my feeling is that u can't PLAN to be an ophthalmologist - the odds are stacked against u getting in even if u want to). it's a big risk. go to medicine if u are sure u want to be an MD, NOT if ur sure u want to be an ophthalmologist (cause u may not become one). i think this is a fair statement.

I would be careful about discouraging students from going into Ophtho. It is considered moderately competitive, but it is achievable for most students. About 85-88% of US seniors match. A fair statement would be that those who apply themselves can get into a residency.
 

I Surgeon

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carrigallen said:
I would be careful about discouraging students from going into Ophtho. It is considered moderately competitive, but it is achievable for most students. About 85-88% of US seniors match. A fair statement would be that those who apply themselves can get into a residency.


Are you serious? Ophtho is highly competitive. about 15% don't match, who are highly qualified, even though they don't match. Applicants without high scores don't apply in the first place. I would not go to medcial school "believing" you will get a spot with average grades. Maybe when you are a senior next year, you will see which of your classmates match into ophtho and those who do not. ;)
 

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carrigallen said:
I would be careful about discouraging students from going into Ophtho. It is considered moderately competitive, but it is achievable for most students. About 85-88% of US seniors match. A fair statement would be that those who apply themselves can get into a residency.


This is frequently a highly misunderstood point. First, ophtho applicants are a very self-selective group, usually at or near the top of their classes. Second, looking at the ophtho match rate for seniors is very misleading. Overall, 824 applicants applied for 447 spots this year. Only 609 applicants were actually ranked by programs (i.e. received at least 1 interview). These 609 applicants vied for 447 spots (match rate 73%). Of these, the majority who matched were U.S. grads. So saying that 85-88% of seniors match doesn't tell the whole story. 215 applicants who applied this year didn't even receive an interview.
 

Visioncam

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speyeder said:
First, ophtho applicants are a very self-selective group, usually at or near the top of their classes. .

Some ophthalmologists have a wildly inflated view of themselves. A lot of residents are not AOA. Ophthalmology residents tend to be fairly qualified as far as numbers but it isn't as bad as 20 years ago when quite a few people did pre-residency research fellowship in order to have a chance at getting a residency position. Some ophthalmology residents even take foreign medical graduates.
 

speyeder

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Visioncam said:
Some ophthalmologists have a wildly inflated view of themselves. A lot of residents are not AOA. Ophthalmology residents tend to be fairly qualified as far as numbers but it isn't as bad as 20 years ago when quite a few people did pre-residency research fellowship in order to have a chance at getting a residency position. Some ophthalmology residents even take foreign medical graduates.


I meant to write that most applicants are probably in the top 1/3 of their classes. And the fact that ophtho residencies are taking foreign grads doesn't make ophtho as a whole any less competitive. If anything FMG's probably need better credentials to match.
 

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drgregory said:
someone said go to dental school. bingo - youll bring in more cash than any OD or OMD, and have the lesser time spent in training.

I guess this depends on many factors but in the area I live the "average" Dentist makes less than the "average" OMD;$160K to $200K. The "average" OD is around $95K. Yes dental school is only four years and is not as rigourous as MD school but it is stll rigourous. OD school and Dental school are very similar in comparisions of difficulty and time committment. If she wants to find the best bang for her buck and time I'd say go to Pharmacy school. She'll start out at $90K or more (and salaries are rising at an insane rate each year....i.e., just seven years ago they were closer to $65K)and have great opportunites for part time work if she doesn't want to be full-time. There are quite a few 3 year PharmD programs, some of which you can get into without even taking the PCAT which is a bonus if its been a while since she had her pre-reqs, and the rigour of study and time committment at many PharmD schools isn't as intense as OD, DDS, or MD school. Of course, it certainly isn't all about the money, now is it :rolleyes: She needs to find the best fit for her ;)

s720 said:
Hello everyone,

My wife was accepted into a College of Optometry. However, her heart is always with Ophthalmology. There are several reasons why she has chosen to apply to Optometry school instead, and one of the main reasons is because we have two children, one 5 the other 11 years old. We are just afraid that going to medical school, she will spend too much time away from the kids.


Now I guess some of what had been said here in this thread will help you very little....so...
...You mentioned there were reasons she chose OD school instead of Med school but you didn't mention many of them. If she really wants to be an Eye MD then maybe she should wait till she has more time on her hands to be able to attempt a shot to match into residency. She could ask to defer her acceptance for a year and could work as an OMD and/or OD tech for a year, if she can secure the training and a job, until she has a better feel for what is best. If she'll be happy as an OD and you feel like you can hack the time committment that it involves, cause as has been said here it won't be a walk in the park either, then go for that now.

Best wishes to you and your wife and kids and all the decisions you have in front of you.
 

gsinccom

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PDT4CNV said:
The smart thing to do would to go to dental school and be an orthodontist.

come on guys/gals!

....just as your "middle of the road" md student won't have much of a chance matching to an OMD residency so it is with your "middle of the road" dental student trying to match into orthodontics.
 

7ontheline

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speyeder said:
I meant to write that most applicants are probably in the top 1/3 of their classes. And the fact that ophtho residencies are taking foreign grads doesn't make ophtho as a whole any less competitive. If anything FMG's probably need better credentials to match.

The FMGs who have gone to my program have all had years of extra research working in the department. They have definitely put their dues in compared to pampered US grads like myself.
 
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