ophthalmology starting salaries

Discussion in 'Ophthalmology: Eye Physicians & Surgeons' started by rubensan, Apr 28, 2006.

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  1. rubensan

    rubensan Senior Member Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    Jan 27, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
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  3. xaelia

    xaelia neenlet 10+ Year Member

    Aug 17, 2002
    What is a "Restrictive Covenant"?
  4. Visioncam

    Visioncam Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Aug 27, 2004
    That's where you cannot practice in the area if you leave. Some people try to break their promise and try to take it to court but the easier and less expensive method is to know and agree to what you are signing.
  5. JMK2005

    JMK2005 Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 3, 2004
  6. laguire

    laguire New Member

    Jul 10, 2004
    Thats a good summary -- its important to restress the point that the enforceability of restrictive covenants is highly variable from state to state. In some states it is truly binding and in others, it is virtually meaningless. The 92% rate seems a little high, though.

    Regarding the original topic.. salaries are so highly variable (40,000+ as a standard deviation in this survey). Salaries in popular cities are definitely much lower than elsewhere.
  7. mattie113

    mattie113 totally awesome 7+ Year Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Hi there - I have a genuine question about this topic that I hope doesnt get taken the wrong way. I am an M4 very interested in ophthy and am enjoying my rotation very much but also will be approx 200k in debt and have noticed the very low starting salaries for actual positions offered on, for example, the AAO website. Additionally, in some high cost of living areas I noticed that not only are some of the starting offers around 100k but some do not even offer the option of practice buy-in. What gives? I am hesitant to ask those on my rotation this question but I would be lying if I didnt admit that these figures for actual jobs gives me pause as to my career choice. I was hoping that there were some out there that could speak to this topic please as I suspect that there are many out there in the same position that I am in. Thanks :luck:
  8. plasticbuddy

    plasticbuddy Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 13, 2005
    I think many people look at the starting salary in ophtho the wrong way. Basically the first few years of ophtho don't pay as well as other fields...

    Why is that? Well b/c it costs a lot of money and time to start up your own practice... money spent on lasers, scalpels, electronic medical records systems, field machines, etc etc... (ie: one VisX S4 laser costs $250-300k)

    When you join an established practice you also have access to an already generated patient volume AND you come in (if you are just post-fellowship) not as efficient as you will be in a couple years.

    So when the first two years the annual salary is $150k, and you are on a partner track to a salary at $300k... remember that you are INVESTING in your practice those first two years... you aren't just getting paid less... you are essentially saying... here is my 'buy in' to all your equipment and patients and set up services and reputation... 'make me a partner & shareholder'. Once you are a partner you OWN a part of the practice (just like stock)... ie: if you joined a practice with two other ophthalmologists and you all got a great offer to sell the practice and wanted to retire... you would get 1/3rd of the sale price. (the value of even a small 3 ophthoMD practice can easily go above 500k) do NOT consider ophtho's first few years as having a low salary but rather as a opportunity to buy into something that YOU believe in b/c YOU work there. just my 2 cents

    - plastix
  9. ophtho1122

    ophtho1122 Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 8, 2003
    That's not necessarily true. Ophtahlmology is a business and as a business owner you want to hire in a new associate at the lowest salary the market will allow. In many desireable areas of the country, the supply much outweighs the demand. Thus, a practice owner has their pickings of new potentail associates. This equates into not having to offer a high starting salary/bonus structure. The starting salary of $120-150k/year for the first 2-3 years does not mean you own any of the practice or generated patients at the end of your initial "starting period". You have bought into nothing and have nothing. The practice owns those patients until you become partner. Becoming partner means a "buy in" price set by the other partners. This may be a huge sum $200-300k or more depending on the practice. Not to mention, your contract will likely have a retirement package writtten in for the senior partners, that is like a retirement bonus for them, that can equate into hundreds of thousands on top of the price they set to buy out their equity in the practice. This adds up to A LOT of cash in the end. These old guys are coming out like champs! They were not only making millions of dollars back in the golden days of cataracts, they now have set up sweetheart deals for themselves by underpaying new, young Ophthalmologists and then sticking it to them upon their departure into retirement. Many things to think about before jumping into a group practice. I think we as young Ophthalmologists should start fighting back by setting up practices of our own next to the old guys, and use our youth and inguinuity to drive the market in our favor. Sure, starting a new practice is costly for the first 4-5 years until you build the practice. But, after the intial start up period, you run the show with a likely higher income potential than you would ever have with a group practice as mentioned above.

  10. plasticbuddy

    plasticbuddy Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 13, 2005

    I would agree about the older guys trying to stick it to the younger ophthos... I think we are talking about two different types of practice settings... it is obvious that once you get closer to the city the lower your salary will be and the more options (ie: boot you out after 2 yrs of work... the older guys have). However as you move further away and if you go to underserved areas you are going to find things like signing bonuses, real partnership tracks, production incentives , and higher overall salaries (this is what I have been told by pgy4s at our institution and also what I have seen on the AAO website)

    I have some questions about starting your own practice though... I have steadily been reading Ophthalmology management and realize that there are A LOT of possible problems starting your own biz from hiring personnel to making it an licensed site to practice medicine... (building codes) etc to billing woes.

    The one thing is that there seem to be a lot of consulting companies out there that can help start a practice... do you know of anyone that used one of these companies to help them get started straight out of residency?

    Oh one other question: I have been reading Clinical Decisions in Neuro ophthalmology by Trobe... I LOVE this book... its so clear... is there an equivalent book you reccomend that is concise (under 300 pgs) but adequate in detail for retina.


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