There are many reasons why talented medical students should consider a career in ophthalmology. In a survey of residents,5 they listed the following factors as the most influential in their decisions to pursue a career in ophthalmology, ordered from most to least influential: surgery, patient contact, lifestyle, junior/senior year electives, previous contact with ophthalmologists, potential income, and status among peers. Extrapolating from this study, the most important factors in choosing a career in ophthalmology are historically those inherent to the practice of ophthalmology and to patient care. Despite the fact that many medical students do not complete electives in this field, the desirability of ophthalmology remains high because of what it has to offer a future physician.
Ophthalmology is an exciting and challenging field that involves the complete care of the patient. It offers physicians the opportunity to practice preventive medicine, medical management, and surgical treatment of a wide variety of disease processes. It is a field in which physicians have a tremendous impact on their patients' health and quality of life and in which, as a result, their patients are some of the most satisfied in all of medicine. It also allows the physician to become an expert on one of the most complicated organ systems in existence— one in which miraculous new advances are constantly being achieved.
diatricians) for inspiring him to pursue medicine and is very grateful for the continued support of his wife, Rebecca, and entire family. He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].
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2. Alistair. F. R., Bentley, C., et al. Recent Advances: ophthalmology. BMJ. 1999;318:717-720.
3. Refractive errors and refractive surgery. American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Accessed April 30, 2003 from URL: <http://www.aao.org/aao/newsroom/facts/ errors.cfm>.
4. Lang, G. K. Ophthalmology: A pocket textbook atlas. New York: Thieme, 2000.
5. Pankratz, M. J., Helveston, E. M. Ophthalmology: The residents perspective. Arch Ophthalmol. 1992;110:37-43.
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