Feb 29, 2020
2
0
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Resident [Any Field]
Hi all,

When I did my ophthalmology rotation in medical school, I fell in love. I quickly developed a comprehensive interest in the eye and would have no qualms about studying eye conditions in detail, in contrast to other specialties.

As well as finding the eye interesting, the other thing that pulled me in that direction was the supposed lifestyle-oriented, family-friendly nature of the specialty. However, as I have gotten some more exposure to it, I have started thinking that maybe the very delicate nature of the surgery can sometimes get too stressful? Or that getting called at odd hours to come in for eye trauma may not be as uncommon as I previously thought?

I would appreciate your input. Is ophthalmology a stressful specialty at times? If so, is it bearable or do you sometimes wish you had chosen something else?

Thanks in advance.
 
Aug 31, 2019
15
5
Status
Medical Student
I am not an ophthalmologist but had similar concerns during my M3 year and asked some practicing docs. From my understanding, once you do a certain volume of eye surgeries, bad outcomes are inevitable. Someone will go blind because of you (the feeling this evokes may even be similar to an internist/surgeon who loses a patient). Thankfully, with enough practice, these complications become few and far between. As far as stress, it probably ebbs and flows, peaking during initial training when you are trying to get accustomed to microsurgery and later on, whenever there are complications.
 
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hello lady!

2+ Year Member
Dec 6, 2015
166
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Attending Physician
Hi all,

When I did my ophthalmology rotation in medical school, I fell in love. I quickly developed a comprehensive interest in the eye and would have no qualms about studying eye conditions in detail, in contrast to other specialties.

As well as finding the eye interesting, the other thing that pulled me in that direction was the supposed lifestyle-oriented, family-friendly nature of the specialty. However, as I have gotten some more exposure to it, I have started thinking that maybe the very delicate nature of the surgery can sometimes get too stressful? Or that getting called at odd hours to come in for eye trauma may not be as uncommon as I previously thought?

I would appreciate your input. Is ophthalmology a stressful specialty at times? If so, is it bearable or do you sometimes wish you had chosen something else?

Thanks in advance.
Everyone's got stress. Everyone's stress is just a little different.

You put up with what you find the most tolerable.

Do you want the stress of a well-to-do super-demanding patient who is upset when you don't deliver 20/15 vision after LASIK and they're 20/20-?

Do you want the stress of fighting a recurrent retinal detachment with PVR on a monocular patient just hoping for something better than LP vision?

Do you want the stress of owning a practice and dealing with all of the nonsense? The stress of partners who have different motivations? The stress of being employed and having to deal with an MBA dictating your practice?

Ophthalmology can be as family friendly or as family-unfriendly as you make it. The nice thing is that you do have some control over the situation. But anyone who thinks this specialty doesn't have stress (just like every other one out there) is wrong.
 

Whomp

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Mar 4, 2011
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I know there are many factors, and the stresses are different for each sub-specialty (not necessarily better or worse) and different in each practice setting, but as a general rule is there one sub-specialty in ophthalmology (could be comprehensive) that is likely to be the least stressful?
 
Apr 3, 2020
3
3
Status
Attending Physician
In my circle of friends, we represent many fields of medicine. Ophthalmology and Dermatology, by far, have it the easiest.
 
Dec 10, 2019
27
34
Status
Attending Physician
I love being an ophthalmologist but it can be stressful. People very much value their vision, sometimes even more than their lives. If a doc has a pt die, they never see them again. If you have a bad surgical outcome, you have to face that now blind pt over and over again. One minute, you are on top of the world, and the next minute, you have a bad outcome and feel like "I must be the worst surgeon in the world". In retina, it's especially common to face difficulties because so many pts come to you in very bad shape (and sometime unrealistic expectations......"oh the specialist is going to make me see again"). You have to try and focus on the vision you have saved, and that is a lot of people.
 
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