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Research in Vision Science

Discussion in 'Optometry' started by Digitized, Jan 27, 2002.

  1. Digitized

    Digitized Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Hey guys, I was wondering, does anyone know what the residancy is like for an ophthalmologist.

    I know this is a pre-optometry board, but I haven't had much time with school lately to do the necessary research on the net, and so i decided to post this question here since many of you may know a lot more on the topic of ophthalmology and vision science as career paths compared to me. Specifically, I want to be an opthalmologist for the express purpose of doing research - working in a university or other research lab. I am fairly confidant in my ability to get into medical school and grind it out in terms of the work load and even clinical experience, but I don't want ulitmatly, the responsibility to perform eye surgery and deal with patients, since, my interest is on research and research alone. My first career goal was to do a phD in Vision Science (usually offered in select few institutions under school of optometry). I know that getting a job in this field will be much easier and more secure if I am an ophthalmologist who did a md/phd program, and is now intending to do work as a researcher in the field of vision science. My question to anyone who may know more on the exact details of an ophtho residancy and how one goes in full time research after becoming an ophthalmologist - Is it possible to become an ophthalmogist and go directly into research without ever doing any official clinical work - outside of med school and the residancy? Do people who complete a md/phd ever go directly to research after med school and skip the residancy? And finally, given what I've said about my ultimate goal of pursing Vision Science research only, is med school and ophthalmology a waste of time (the main reason again for not wanting to to clinical ophthalmology and research at the same time for me is that I simply hate the idea of having to wake up in the morning and know I have to perform surgery on someone's eye for the rest of my life)?

    I'm currently in my second year of undergrad studies (biophysics and applied math double major). Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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  3. cpw

    cpw It's a boy !!! Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Apr 25, 2001
    If you're purely interested in vision science research.. look into the OD/PhD option. Most optometry schools offer it as a career track with a PhD in physiological optics or vision sciences. Where I am (UHCO) one of my best friends is going OD/PhD to a future career in vision science research. If you call optometry schools I'm sure they'd be happy to send you brochures on their programs in vision science. Almost all of our professors are OD/PhD grads and not MD/PhD (although there are some of those too). I'm not saying it'll be the best option for you, but it's a six or seven year program as opposed to the MD/PhD plus residency and you still do research in the end.

    It's worth checking into in my opinion. Call OD schools.. they'd be THRILLED to discuss it with you. Sending away for brochures can't hurt. You take the GRE and OAT to apply for admission.
    Good luck!
  4. Digitized

    Digitized Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    thanks for the advice c. well, again i wonder if od/phd is the right route as opposed to just being a phd. If i don't intend to practice optometry in any shape or form, is it necessarily a good idea to get both degree? Specifically, I'm interested in doing vitre-retinal research, and I'm just afraid that this time of research is reserved for the big timers who have a phD (in vision science or something similar), along w/ all the training and experience of an ophthalmologist.

    Also, correct me if I'm wrong but on average wouldn't a OD/PhD program take five years after your undergraduate (assuming the phd extends your studies by one year), while a ophthalmologist with a phD would take 8 years after you're undergrad (4 years med school, 1 extra year for the phD, and 3 years of residancy)?

    Thanks :eek:
  5. cpw

    cpw It's a boy !!! Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Apr 25, 2001
    well, you can apply to UHCO for just a PhD program in vision science. That's what almost all of our TA's are. But, if you're interested in academia OD/PhD is something to look into.

    But, my friend is in the OD/PhD program and I believe it is six to seven years (depending on how long it takes you to defend). I think most of them finish in about six years. Some of my profs are retinal researchers and most of them are OD/PhD's or MD/Phd's.
    I'm just saying don't rule it out. It's worth checking into PhD programs at OD schools even if you don't want the combined degree.. they still offer PhD only tracks. Call around and check into it!
  6. johnM

    johnM Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Bethesda, MD
    do you guys know how much an OD/PhD costs? I'm just wondering if it is anything like an MD/PhD where most schools will pay for you + give you a stipend?
  7. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2001
    Portland, OR
    I looked into OD/PhD a few years ago. They often do provide a stipend but only for the research years, i.e. the non-OD years. There definitely is some interesting research being done. Get the graduate bulletings for the OD schools --- there are only 17 of them. A list can be found url=]here[/url].
  8. OD2BMike

    OD2BMike Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 28, 2001
    Huntington, WV
    I agree with CPW that the OD/PhD is the way to go if you are interested in strictly Vision Science research. However, you mentioned VitreoRetinal research which is not necessarily considered Vision Science. It sounds more like clinical research that would fall in the realm of a medical school research program. I may be misunderstanding what you are saying, but I think you should clarify what type of research you want to do exactly before you decide on a career tract.
  9. UWSO2003

    UWSO2003 Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 25, 2001
    Hi Digitized,

    Now I know many people are suggesting the OD/PhD route ... and I respect their opinion.

    But personally, from the field of research that you seem to want to pursue (vitreo-retinal), I think that the MD/PhD route would be the way to go. This will open up more doors (and with less hassel) for you whether it be working in a research hosipital, or a adademic institution with a MD/PhD programme. Also, if you are pursuing clinical research, the MD would probably be more advantageous that then OD (as far as vitreo-retinal stuff goes).

    Just my .02 Good luck with whatever you chose.

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