Preparing for Ophtho

Discussion in 'Ophthalmology: Eye Physicians & Surgeons' started by scully, Oct 9, 2002.

  1. scully

    scully Senior Member
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    Is my impression correct that in order to match in ophthalmology you pretty much have to know that you want it and start working for it (with research, connections, extracurriculars) from day 1? I know people who are going into other competitive specialties, like radiology, who decided late in their third year, and still got in. But it seems like ophtho is much harder since you need substantial research, a fantastic dean's letter, and you need to be AOA. It seems that you choose this specialty early in medical school or you miss out -- there is no second chance. Does anyone have any thoughts or comments about this? Thanks!!
     
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  3. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    This is fairly true. Most people accepted have very high credentials and extensive experience in ophthalmology. Thus, if you're interested in pursuing ophthalmology, you'll need to know early in the third year so that you can setup electives in this area. You don't need to know this on Day 1 of medical school, but you'll need to figure it out early in your third year of medical school.
     
  4. skarim

    skarim Junior Member
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    hi,
    i am a student at harvard considering ophtho with a good academic record, step 1 >250, and a M.S. but no publications or experience in ophthalmology research.

    i am thinking of taking a year to try to do some research in ophtho and making contacts, but am wondering if it confers that much advantage in the residency process over taking a few months of electives and graduating in 4 years. i would like to graduate asap for personal and financial reasons, but would take an extra year if it would help. i'd ideally like to go somewhere on the west coast for personal reasons, and i realize how difficult that will be never mind just matching in ophtho period.

    any thoughts would be much appreciated. thanks.
     
  5. ckent

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    If you have descent clinical grades, and as long as you aren't dead set on mass general for optho (which you are probably still competetive for anyways), I have no doubt that you will be able to match somewhere. I know a fourth yr (I am a third yr) who will be applying for ophtho, smart guy too, but only did a month or two of ophtho research as a 4th yr elective and he plans to apply this year. Research might be recommended, but I don't think of it as a requirement for any of the specialties.
     
  6. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    Hi Skarim,

    You have the numbers to be competitive for the ophthalmology match. Research is not important, unless you're applying to a 10 ten research program. The most important thing you need now is clinical experience in ophthalmology. I recommend at least 2 months of ophthalmology elective so that an ophthalmology faculty can write you a strong letter of recommendation.

    Without strong performance in an ophthalmology elective, you'll have a tough time being selected for interview.

    Good luck!
     
  7. DOnut

    DOnut Senior Member
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    Hi Ophtho_MudPhud,

    Do you have any specific recommendations for an Osteopathic student who is extremely interested in Ophthalmology? I am, a 1st year, so I don't have board scores to boast yet, but I will be participating in research at a large institution in Manhattan this summer, and hopefully throughout the year next fall.

    Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!!
     
  8. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    Hi Donut,

    I don't know many DOs in ophthalmology. As a DO, I'd anticipate that you need to be at the top of your class, very high board scores, and experience with ophthalmology electives. Research will be icing on the cake. You'll have to work your tail off to distinguish yourself because this is already a very competitive match for MD graduates. I'm sure you'll be able to do it if you set your goals. Good luck!
     
  9. skarim

    skarim Junior Member
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    thanks for the replies,

    i was just wondering about research, because it seems to me that it must be difficult to distinguish oneself just with scores, grades and a couple months of electives. but i guess people can do it.

    would one month away and another month at home be useful, or perhaps 2 continous months at home doing a project? i'll be doing the intro course in jan, but then have two months free.

    any suggestions on good textbooks that aren't too expensive?
    thanks
     
  10. DOnut

    DOnut Senior Member
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    Basic Ophthalmology for medical Students and Primary Care Residents. Written by Cynthia A. Bradford, MD

    This is a really good book put out by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. I'm sure your book store would have it. If not, the Ophthalmology department at your school will be able to get the book for you from the AAO.

    Actually it may be one of the required texts for your basics course.
     
  11. Andrew_Doan

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    I also recommend this book. It's good because it goes through the basics for the examination and explains some clinical pathophysiology. I don't recommend doing a month away and a month at home. Two months of research is not going to accomplish much. Alternatively, I advise you spend your two months within a speciality of ophthalmology, e.g. neuro-ophthalmology or retina.
     
  12. LoneSEAL

    LoneSEAL Senior Member
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    I'm really bad with working with my hands, so i've sort of shied away from ophtho. However, I'm still very intrigued by the field -- is possible to work as an opthalmologist without having to do surgery? I guess whta I want to know is if it is possible to become a specialist without having to do any eye surgery?
     
  13. ckent

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    Yes, I'd like to know the answer to this question too. I'm kind of a klutz with my hands, and I think that I have an intention tremor that comes and goes that would disqualify me from many of the micro procedures, however I do enjoy studying the eye.
     
  14. Andrew_Doan

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    Yes, of course. If you don't want to do surgery as an ophthalmologist, then you can specialize in:

    1) Medical Retina that deal with diabetic retinopathy and degenerative diseases of the eye. You may be called on to shoot some laser but does not require you to use a blade or surgical instrument.

    2) Ocular Pathology

    3) General ophthalmologist who specialize in medical issues of the visual system.

    4) Neuro-ophthalmologist who deal with disorders related to the optic nerve back to the visual cortex. This would include pseudotumor cerebi, multiple sclerosis, CNS tumors, nerve palsies, ect...
     
  15. scully

    scully Senior Member
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    But you do have to learn how to do eye surgeries in you residency training. For instance, at Stanford, you start doing surgeries in your first year, and do more each year of training. You rotate through all the subspecialties, and learn to do all procedures -- you cannot avoid surgery if you want to go into ophthalmology.
     
  16. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    True. But you don't have to do surgeries when you finish. And some programs don't have a huge surgical volume so you don't have to do that many surgeries while in training.

    As a first year, someone is pretty much holding your hand and you get to do only part of a case.

    In addition, I know many faculty who were never "stellar" surgeons and have decided to practice ophthalmology without doing surgery.

    I think the original question was whether people can practice ophthalmology without surgery. The answer is yes, but you'll have to do surgery during the training, mainly during your final year of training.
     
  17. TomOD

    TomOD Senior Member
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    At the risk of being labeled a smart-ass. I would venture that it would be unwise to go into "surgery-free ophthalmology" unless you were interested primarily in research. An Ophthalmologist without surgery is called an Optometrist now-a-days.
     
  18. DOnut

    DOnut Senior Member
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    Your statement is partially true, but as was mentioned earlier:

     

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