Medical Persona

Part
01
of seven
Part
01

Ophthalmologists - Demographics

Among U.S. ophthalmologists who are Asians, 63% are male and 37% are female. However, among Caucasian/White U.S. ophthalmologists, 73% are male and only 27% are female. Below the demographic profile for an ophthalmologist is presented.

Ophthalmologists — Demographics

Gender Breakdown


Age

  • Based on the Medscape survey demographics, among U.S. ophthalmologists, the breakdown of age is as following:
    • 28 to 34 years — 16%
    • 35 to 39 years — 17%
    • 40 to 44 years — 13%
    • 45 to 49 years — 11%
    • 50 to 54 years — 12%
    • 55 to 59 years — 11%
    • 60 to 64 years — 11%
    • 65 to 69 years — 6%
    • 70 and above — 2%

Race/Ethnicity

  • Based on the 2016 survey, among practicing ophthalmologists only 6% are from minority groups including Black, Hispanic, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander. Minority groups are also underrepresented in medicine (URM). Likewise, among the ophthalmology faculty, 5.7% are from minority groups and among ophthalmology residents, 7.7% are from minority groups.
  • Among the optometrist's workforce, as a group of eye care professionals, 82% are white and 13% Asian.

Income

  • According to the most comprehensive survey report of the Medscape Ophthalmologist Compensation Report 2018, the average compensation of ophthalmologists is $357,000. U.S.-trained ophthalmologists earn $353,000 compared to $448,000 earned by the foreign-trained ophthalmologists. However, based on the survey report, only 54% of the ophthalmologists feel that they are fairly compensated.
  • Nearly one-half of the ophthalmologists feel that they should be earning 11% to 25% more and more than one-quarter feel that they deserve a salary increase of 26% to 50%.
  • Male ophthalmologists earn more ($391,000) compared to female ophthalmologists ($273,000).
  • According to a news article published in Beckers' ASC, 2016, "Ophthalmologists make an average salary of $292,000." However, it has increased to $357,000 in 2018 (as mentioned above).
  • As of a 2016 article, the compensation for ophthalmologists varies by geographic region:

Self-Employed vs Employed


Education

  • According to the survey, during the past ten years, there was a slight increase in the fraction of female practicing ophthalmologists who graduated from medical school from 1980 on. In 1980, 23.8% graduated from U.S. medical schools and in later years this increased to 27.1%.
  • For URM ophthalmologists or minority groups, no change was seen in the proportion of practicing ophthalmologists who graduated from US medical schools in 1980 or later. Resident ophthalmologists showed "a similar pattern, with an increase in the proportion of female residents (from 35.6% to 44.3%) and a slight decrease in the proportion of URM residents (from 8.7% to 7.7)"
  • Among the ophthalmology faculty, the proportion of URM groups has also decreased slightly during 2005 (6.2%) to 2014 (5.7%). It is important to note that "a higher proportion of URM ophthalmologists practiced in medically under-served areas."

Career Duration

  • As per the American College of Surgeons, to become an ophthalmologist in the U.S., one must complete "four years of college, four years of medical school, and four to five years of additional specialized training. Ophthalmology is a broad surgical specialty," and has many detailed sub-specializations.
  • A career in Ophthalmology is rewarding, well-payed, and highly respected. It requires extensive schooling and many years of preparation but brings a future with many benefits and perks.

Challenges Ophthalmologists Face

  • In spite of billing and other administrative challenges, 80% of ophthalmologists surveyed said they will continue to take Medicare/Medicaid patients. However, 15% are undecided and only 2% indicated that they would stop taking or drop patients who are recipients.
  • Based on the 2018 Medscape survey, the most challenging parts of the ophthalmologists' job are:
    • The many rules and regulation — 28%
    • The difficulties getting fair reimbursement — 22%
    • Having to deal with difficult patients — 18%
    • Working with an EHR system — 15%
    • The long hours — 6%
    • Worrying about being sued — 6%
    • Nothing — 2%
  • Despite so many challenges, 79% of ophthalmologists said that they would choose medicine again and 88% would choose the same specialty. The rewards of treating patients and having many of them express appreciation, knowing that they are competent in their field, and contributing to a better world appear to make up for the difficulties they face in their jobs.
  • Physicians have complained about the effect of the Affordable Care Act has on their incomes, and as per this year's survey, 14% of ophthalmologists who participated have experienced a decrease. For 41% of the ophthalmologists, there was no change.
  • Although ophthalmologists are unfamiliar with patients' insurance or financial status and even the cost of treatment they recommend, about 94% of ophthalmologists surveyed, discuss the cost of treatment with their patients regularly or occasionally. Only 6% of the ophthalmologists never discuss that with their patients.
  • According to the survey, administrative tasks remain the primary cause of burnout among physicians, and 46% of ophthalmologists reported that they spent 10 hours or more per week this year on paperwork and administration. Although getting promoted further adds up the administrative task, about 61% of employed ophthalmologists seek promotion this year. By gender, 67% of men and 47% of women seek promotion.
  • For 35% of ophthalmologists, the most rewarding part of their job is the gratitude/relationship with patients, for 23% knowing that they make the world a better place is most rewarding. However, for 19% of ophthalmologists, the most rewarding part is making good money at a job they like to do.

Future Outlook for the Position, Relevant Statistics

  • According to the latest survey conducted by the International Council of Ophthalmology in 2012, there were 18,805 ophthalmologists in the U.S. and the number of ophthalmologists per million of population was 59. Among 18,805 total ophthalmologists, 440 were entering in the practice and 80% were doing surgery.
  • In the United States, there are 19,216 active ophthalmologists. Forty percent of ophthalmologists own or have ownership in an ASC.
  • On average, the typical surgery center performs 4,869 cases annually. Eighteen percent of these cases (or an estimated 876 cases) go to ophthalmology. This makes it second to GI/endoscopy that gets 25% of the cases.
  • Apart from the above, the survey revealed that among medical students, there is a low level of interest in ophthalmology. Only about 2.5% to 3.0% of students were interested in pursuing a career in ophthalmology. URM medical students are also less interested in specializing in ophthalmology.
  • The low interest in ophthalmology may be because there are few residency positions available for this specialization and the high score requirements on the United States Medical Licensing Examination.

Research Strategy

Initially, we relied on survey reports and industry reports. We found a report from the International Council of Ophthalmology which provided information on the number of Ophthalmologists in 2012 globally including the US. It also included information on the number of practitioners per million of population as well as the percentage of total practitioners who do surgery. The report, however, has very old data. Reports were also found from the American Optometric Association, which has paid survey reports mainly related to Optometrists; however, they can be relevant to Ophthalmologists information. Medscape provided information on the income of ophthalmologists in the US obtained from the latest survey conducted in 2018. It provided a lot of demographic details and some other relevant information on the US ophthalmologists. From these reports, however, we were not able to find information on the career duration, typical education, how they measure success (success measurement), and the positions on their extended team (i.e. physician assistant, nurse practitioner, medical technicians, RN.s, and Pharmacists).

Next, we decided to look through institutional websites which may offer some insights on the ophthalmologists' career, education, responsibilities, etc. We looked through websites such as the National Eye Institute (which provided dated and irrelevant information), the American College of Surgeons (which had some general data on the career and education of ophthalmologists), and Optician Edu.org (which has some general data on the career and education of ophthalmologists). This strategy was not successful in providing all the relevant information. We were unable to find information on how success is measured and the positions on extended teams. We also searched through Data USA — Ophthalmology, hoping that it may contain some demographic details related to the ophthalmologists' career, education, responsibilities, etc. But it had no information at all for the ophthalmologists.

Later, we decided to search through Journals. JAMA Ophthalmology, 2016, was a survey on ophthalmologists conducted from 2000 to 2014 and published in 2016 had a lot of relevant demographic detail. The Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2015, had information on the geographic distribution of eye care providers in the United States, but the data was so old (2011) that we did not include that in our research. Through this strategy, we were also not able to find information on success measurements and extended teams.

Then we started searching through the media articles and news articles and found Beckers' ASC Review. This had some statistics on ophthalmologists' average income, income based on geography, and others. This was from 2016 but we included this data to compare the income as well as to provide a view of how geography affects their income range.

Based on the above-mentioned strategies, we were able to gather a lot of relevant information on the demographics of the U.S. ophthalmologists and several other required information. Please note that due to the limited availability of recent data, we had to use past data to compile a comprehensive report.


Part
02
of seven
Part
02

Specialists - Demographics

Refractive surgeons and cornea specialists are ophthalmologists with an average salary of about $357,000. Ophthalmologists usually work for about 35 years before retiring.

Typical Responsibilities

  • Refractive surgeons are "ophthalmologist who specialize in performing vision correction, or refractive procedures" through refractive surgery.
  • A cornea specialist is an ophthalmologist who specializes in treating the cornea.
  • According to Verywell Health, ophthalmology, into which refractive surgeons and corneal experts belong, is the specialty concerned with the medical and surgical care of the eye, eye orbit, optic tract, and visual cortex.
  • According to BLS, ophthalmologists' extended teams consist of ophthalmic medical technician who "assist ophthalmologists by performing ophthalmic clinical functions and may administer eye exams, administer eye medications, and instruct the patient in care and use of corrective lenses".
  • There are also ophthalmic laboratory technicians who "cut, grind, and polish eyeglasses, contact lenses, or other precision optical elements. Assemble and mount lenses into frames or process other optical elements. Includes precision lens polishers or grinders, centerer-edgers, and lens mounters."

Training and Qualification

  • To qualify as an ophthalmologist, one has to attain a bachelor's degree in medicine, complete four years of medical school, one year of medical residency, three years of residency, and one or two years of fellowship.
  • According to Medscape, the average Salary of an opthamologist in the United States was about $357,000 in 2018. On average, US-trained professionals earned less ($353,000) than foreign-trained ($448,000). Self-employed individuals earn an average of $429,000 compared to $256,000 for employed ones. Male ophthalmologists earn more ($391,000) than female ones ($273,000).

Gender and Race

  • According to the American Academy of Ophthalmologists, currently, about 24% of ophthalmologists in the United States are women and 76% are men.
  • According to Medscape, however, about 34% are women and 66% are men.
  • 73% of Caucasian ophthalmologists are male while 27% are female, Moreover, 63% of Asian ophthalmologists are male and 37% are female.

Patient Volume

  • About 77% of ophthalmologists spend 35 to 45 hours per week seeing patients, with 11% spending 46-55 hours, 7% spending below 30 hours, 5% spending 56-65 hours, and 1% spending over 65 hours.
  • In a typical week, the average "ophthalmologist will see more than 100 patients and perform three or more major surgical procedures. Cataract removal is the most commonly performed ophthalmic surgical operation."

Challenges and Future Outlook

  • According to a Medscape survey, 28% of ophthalmologists say that stringent rules is their biggest challenge; 22% consider that they are being unfairly reimbursed, 18% say that dealing with difficult patients is a challenge; 15% are having trouble working with an EHR system; 6% have noted that working long hours is difficult; and 6% are worried about being sued.
  • There is an increasing future demand for eye car, including ophthalmic services, due to the aging Baby Boomer generation. An increase in secondary eye diseases can cause diabetes and hypertension. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has estimated that there will be a shortage of ophthalmologists by 2025. According to MD Magazine, the future of ophthalmology is dependent on the perception and interest of current medical students.

Age and Career Duration

  • According to a Medscape survey, 16% of ophthalmologists are aged 28-34 years, 17% are 35-39 years old, 13% are aged 40-44 years, 11% are 45-49 years old, 12% are 50-54 years old, 11% are aged 55-59%, 11% are aged 60-64 years, and 6% are aged 65-69 years. Therefore, the age range of ophthalmologists is between 28 years to 69 years, with the majority working until they are 65 years of age. This means that a typical ophthalmology career lasts for about 35 years.

Success Measurement

  • According to EyeWorld, ophthalmology practices measure success through the practice growth rate, monthly patient visits per doctor, average (monetary) collection per patient visit, surgical density, the profit margin, established patient growth rate, and staffing costs as a percent of cash flow.

Research Strategy:

To provide hard data, statistics, and facts to help create a demographic profile for refractive surgeons/corneal specialists, we began our research by searching through U.S. government medical/healthcare resources such as National Institute of Health, relevant U.S. government statistics resources such as BLS.gov, U.S. medical associations including American Surgical Association and the National Eye Institute, research resources such as Pew Research, ophthalmology/eye care-focused sites such as Medscape, and statistical sites including Statista. While we managed to find some information on the typical responsibilities, there was very limited information that we could use to build the demographic profile(s) of either professionals.

Next, we shifted our focus to medical news resources such as Eyewire, credible media resources such as U.S. News and Forbes, press releases sites such as PRNewswire and Reuters, and academic studies and journals. We hoped to find publications that provided breakdowns of the demographic profiles for individuals in the refractive surgeon or corneal specialist careers. Again, our research was fruitless as the only available information focused on the overall ophthalmology practice.

Third, we tried to explore the databases of institutes providing medical training such as Havard University, Wills Eye Hospital and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. We hoped that we would find breakdowns of the demographics of the students practicing refractive surgeons or corneal specialists in the university and hospital databases. We also hoped that we would find any commissioned surveys or research on the population of interest. However, we could only find information on the general ophthalmology career.

Having established that both refractive surgeons and corneal specialists are in the 'ophthalmologist' category, we expanded the scope of our research to searching for the demographic profile of ophthalmologists in the United States. We leveraged the aforementioned resources and managed to provide information on the gender, income, age range, career duration, average income, and typical education. We also provided the challenges and future outlook of the ophthalmology profession. We have provided a Google Doc with screenshots from Medscape since the site requires registration.
Part
03
of seven
Part
03

Ophthalmologists - Psychographics

To become a general ophthalmologist in the United States, an individual must complete a four-year postgraduate specialty training and must have already obtained a medical degree (MD). Further requirements to becoming an ophthalmologist include the completion of a three-year residency in ophthalmology (eye surgery) through an approved medical/surgical residency program, with a minimum of a one-year internship.

OPHTHALMOLOGISTS: PSYCHOGRAPHIC PROFILE

  • To become an ophthalmologist, the first step of the educational journey involves obtaining a bachelor's degree. Once that four-year bachelor's degree is achieved, candidates need acceptance for a four-year medical school program, which eventually gets completed to become qualified.
  • The medical school program of an intending ophthalmologist is followed by an internship as well as a residency program that can last between3-8 years.
  • The process of obtaining a residency is exceptionally competitive — however, it's a necessary step towards becoming an ophthalmologist. There is also the need to pass a state examination to receive a medical license allowing for the practice of ophthalmology.

1. OPHTHALMOLOGISTS ARE DETAIL ORIENTED

  • A typical ophthalmologist such as a strabismus/pediatric ophthalmologist is someone that is often involved in "detailed eye muscle surgery" and must be detail oriented.
  • Ophthalmologists are trained in the field for at least "36 calendar months."
  • Aside from observing professional details, a successful ophthalmologist often asks and remembers "non-medical details."
  • An ophthalmologist is often involved in managing all aspects of a patient’s visual life hence given to details to succeed.
  • Ophthalmologists are comprehensive, given to details, and extremely well-versed all aspects of the eye. Each state medical board issues its obligation to maintain strict practicing standards in ophthalmology

2. OPHTHALMOLOGISTS ARE CONFIDENT

  • The practice requires confidence, and well-trained ophthalmologists are very confident. Their surgical skills never get threatened. Adequate surgical training plays a vital role in building a high degree of confidence in the practice of ophthalmology.
  • About 32.3% of American ophthalmologists feel confident at the commencement of their ophthalmology residency.
  • The American Academy of Ophthalmology reveals that many physicians are not comfortable when required to explain the risks associated with genetic testing for inherited eye disease based on specific mutations or inherited patterns observed with a gene or condition. It is essential to often enlist the help of a genetic counselor or a genetics specialist to assist ophthalmologists in such cases.

3. OPHTHALMOLOGISTS ARE EMPATHETIC

4. OPHTHALMOLOGISTS: PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES

  • Ophthalmologists are often engaged through conferences, writing, or studying journals, among other resources to stay "current with the prevailing opinions in ophthalmology."
  • A typical ophthalmologist is someone involved in making several presentations during the periods of residency and practice.
  • To meet their professional needs, ophthalmologists often become members of professional associations such as the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) among other associations.
  • Ophthalmologists often perform more uncomplicated duties like prescribing corrective lenses and also get involved in highly-advanced clinical studies, research, and trials.
  • Professional ophthalmologists often examine patients, perform surgeries, establish treatment plans, etc.
  • The professional life of an ophthalmologist often involves blogging. Blogs are used to add social media elements to the websites of an ophthalmologist or to help in building rapport with visitors.
  • Blogging ophthalmologists often use their blogs for search engine optimizations. A recent collection of about thirty blogs used by ophthalmologists, experts, and organizations to promote the practice is accessible via this link.
  • According to a Medscape report, about 14% of male and 23% of female ophthalmologist residing in the United States are engaged in part-time professional jobs/activities. About 86% of male and 77% off female ophthalmologist living in the United States are involved in full-time professional jobs/activities.
  • About 22% of female ophthalmologists are engaged in less than 30 hours of professional activities per week. The remaining percentage (78%) are involved in more than 30 hours of professional activities per week.
  • According to a recent Medscape report, about 12% of male ophthalmologists are engaged in less than 30 hours of professional activities per week. The remaining percentage (88%) are involved in more than 30 hours of professional activities per week.
  • About 7% of ophthalmologists spend less than 30hours per week attending to patients. About 77% spend between 30 to 45 hours per week attending to patients, while about 11% spend between 46 to 55 hours per week attending to patients.
  • About 5% of ophthalmologists spend between 56 to 65 hours per week attending to patients. About 1% of all ophthalmologists spend more than 65 hours per week attending to patients.
  • Other professional engagements of ophthalmologists include paperwork. About 23% spend less than 5 hours, 31% between 5 to 9 hours, 35% between 10 to 19 hours, and 11% spend over 20 hours on paperwork weekly.

5. ONGOING PHYSICIAN EDUCATION

  • "Continuing medical education" is vital to the practice of ophthalmology. Expert ophthalmologists foster the college-like exchange of knowledge and fellowships within the ophthalmic community. Continual education deepens the educational experience of regional ophthalmologists in their attempt to prevent blindness and restore sight. Ophthalmologists regularly engage in medical outreach programs.
  • Professional and resident ophthalmologists are often engaged through monthly M&M conferences, journals, among other resources to stay "current with the prevailing opinions in ophthalmology."
  • There are several continual educational opportunities for ophthalmologists who often choose to further specialize in treating a specific condition, procedure, age group, or part of the eye.
  • After obtaining a medical license and completing residency, ophthalmologists often choose to complete a fellowship in one of the nine sub-specialties such as pediatric ophthalmology, refractive or vision correction surgery, ophthalmologic neurology or oculoplastics, etc.

6. MOTIVATIONS

7. THE TECH SAVVY NATURE OF OPHTHALMOLOGISTS

  • Senior ophthalmologists are made up of baby boomers and are less tech-savvy when compared to younger ophthalmologists.
  • Through the use of "computers and digital instruments" for personal and professional work, most ophthalmologists in the United States have become more tech-savvy within the past two decades.
  • Cloud-based Electronic Health Record (EHR) applications through smartphones, computers, and tablets have become essential to the expeditionary continuum of patient care across the United States. A 2018 survey for the adoption rate of EHRs among 348 surveyed ophthalmologists disclosed a rate of 72.1%.
  • Past studies published by the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey data between 2005 to 2009 have indicated slower adoption rates for some specialty physicians, including ophthalmologists.
  • Slower EHR adoption rates for specialties like ophthalmology may be due to factors like high patient volume, specialized images integration requirement, and a combination of the outpatient practice as well as surgical procedures by ophthalmologists.

METHODOLOGY

Our research team scoured through recent survey reports, expert interviews, websites of Ophthalmology training centers, among other resources for insights into the psychographic profile for an ophthalmologist in the United States. We researched for their shared attributes, the type of education do these specialists turn to, time spent at conferences, among other demographics. Although no comprehensive reports containing all the required demographics, a review of several resources for granular details such as the requirements to become ophthalmologist from the American College of Surgeons website revealed that ophthalmologists train for at least "36 calendar months." This strategy failed to uncover demographics on the frequency (how often) ophthalmologists in the United States intake information.

Recent research articles on the motivations and factors influencing career choice in ophthalmology were limited and not readily available to the public. We relied on a few academic studies older than the usual 24-month credibility range to uncover insights into the typical demographics of an ophthalmologist on motivation. A 2006 Research Gate journal publication revealed insights into motivational actors that influence the career choice of ophthalmologists in the United States. We researched trends in the technological attitude of United States based ophthalmologist and insights obtained from a dated Glaucoma Book (Practical, Evidence-Based Approach to Patient Care) gave insights into the tech-savvy psychographics of ophthalmologist within the past two decades. A screenshot of the Glaucoma Book is available with this link. We failed to uncover demographics on the frequency (how often) ophthalmologists in the United States intake information.

Research through professional association resources like the website of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) for trends relating to patients by ophthalmologists uncovered that empathy is one of the two most essential attributes used by ophthalmologists when managing expectations in unhappy refractive patients. Going further, details from a study conducted in Iran and the United States and published by a journal of the United States National Library of Medicine (National Institutes of Health) confirmed that female doctors constitute over 30% of ophthalmic residents and "have a more empathic, patient-centered style." We depended on the above findings and other similar insights to build a demographic study of the psychographic profile for an ophthalmologist in the United States. This strategy failed to uncover demographics on the frequency (how often) ophthalmologists in the United States intake information. We researched through medical news resources such as Medscape among other portals for a break down the activities by the weekly time investment of ophthalmologists to gain insights into the statistics of their professional activities. The Medscape resource provided a breakdown by time duration, the involvement of ophthalmologists. However, it requires registration for access, and we have provided appropriate screenshots.
Part
04
of seven
Part
04

Specialists - Psychographics

While there are no conclusive studies that provide hard data, statistics, and facts to help create a psychographic profile for specialists — refractive surgeons/corneal specialist — we have provided helpful insight on the attributes of surgeons in the United States. Writing blogs, taking part in studies aimed at advancing technology, research, public speaking, and publishing and reviewing scientific literature are some professional activities of refractive surgeons in the United States. Adoption of new technology and the use of clinical software are some values of surgeons in the United States.

HELPFUL FINDINGS

On Common Attributes:

  • Dr. Joel Hunter profiled some of the best Lasik surgeons in the U.S. — some attributes noted for the most successful Lasik surgeons are reported as follows.
  • Dr. Stephen Slade was considered very kind and had a voice that was regularly used to make the most anxious patients feel like they are entering into hypnosis-level relaxation.
  • Dr. Vance Thompson was recognized as one of the nicest guys I’ve ever known.
  • Dr. Karl Stonecipher was recognized for his public-speaking ability, although public-speaking was also recognized as not a regular trait among Lasik surgeons.
  • Dr. McDonald was recognized as a delightful person.
  • Dr. Robert Maloney was recognized as a really personable guy with a charismatic personality.
  • Based on the findings above, it can be inferred that successful Lasik surgeons, which is a form of refractive surgery, were all associated with some positive traits pertaining to their character
  • As per the Journal of the American Medical Association — JAMA — surgery, the critical attributes required by a surgeon in the US were emotional intelligence, mindfulness, adaptability, and resourcefulness.
  • According to a study done among orthopedic surgeons, highly successful surgeons were found to have contributed prolific numbers of publications and book chapters along with obtaining considerable funding for research.

Professional Activities:

  • Some activities that successful refractive surgeons/Lasik surgeons were found to have been present as follows.
  • Writing blogs on his area of expertise.
  • Taking part in studies aimed at advancing the technical aspects of his/her area, doing research, public speaking.
  • Publishing and reviewing scientific literature in major medical journals and testing new technologies brought into the domain by technological providers.

Type of Education:

  • Ophthalmologists, in general, were required to start their career by completing four years of medical school studies. In the final year of medical school, interested students were required to apply for enrollment in a surgical ophthalmology residency program that lasts four more years.
  • The types of learning involved; structure of the eye, how the eye works, medical conditions that affect the eye, diagnosing eye diseases, and medications and treatments for various eye conditions

Adoption of New Technologies

  • Although the information was not available relating to the adoption of technology pertaining to this specific field, the overall information relating to the technological inclination of doctors and surgeons in the United States were as follows.
  • According to a survey by Ernst and Young — 55% of the United States doctors reported using clinical decision support software — 39% used patient portals while the majority of 62% saw value in virtual communication technologies, but very few of them planned to adopt it.
  • It was also found that doctors are among the most technology-avid people in society.
  • In 2016, physicians spent about two hours doing computer work for every hour spent face to face with a patient.
  • According to a study by the Mayo Clinic, surgeons spend relatively little of their day in front of a computer.

Motivation:

  • Although not for eye surgeons, in particular, a study was done among orthopedic surgeons resulted in the finding that the surgeons were often motivated by a desire for personal development — interesting challenge and new opportunities.
  • Things that played little or no role in their decision-making while deciding whether to take a leadership position were: relocating to a new institution, financial gain, or lack of alternative candidates.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

We began our research by combing through NCBI reports, American Academy of Ophthalmology reports, JAMA network publications, publications of American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, and Journal of Ophthalmology for information regarding hard data, statistics, and facts to help create a psychographic profile for specialists — refractive surgeons/corneal specialist in the United States. The result of this strategy was unsuccessful, as we located information regarding patient treatments, the introduction of new technologies, and clinical procedures — no hard data or profiles of surgeons were reviewed from this strategy.

Next, we went further to source for alternate data points. We scoured through professional websites, press releases, and academic database. We utilize LinkedIn, New York Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, and Academia Researchgate — hoping to locate hard stats to form a cohesive psychographic profile. Unfortunately, information gathered were first party opinions which were not objectively backed by hard stats but referencing some activities, educations, and motivations of surgeons in the United States.

Lastly, our research team broadened the scope of the research by sourcing for general surgeons rather than refractive surgeons/corneal specialist. While we were able to unearth information regarding insights and attributes of surgeons of the United States, this did not provide hard data, statistics, and facts to help create a psychographic profile. We went further to locate information where any comparison was made among surgeons as a category and refractive surgeons as a sub-class. However, these sources contained no such indication which could be used to prove that refractive surgeons were well aligned with the general trend.
Part
05
of seven
Part
05

Ophthalmologists - Personas

The most recent data indicates that most ophthalmologist are white males. Most of them are married and spiritual or religious. An ophthalmologist has an average yearly income of $357,000, is self-employed, and works full-time.

Demographics

  • On average, ophthalmologists earn approximately $357,000 a year.
  • Ophthalmologists who were trained outside of the United States earn more (~$448,000) than those trained in the United States (~$353,000).
  • In terms of race and gender, 63% of all Asian ophthalmologists were men while 37% were women. 73% of all white/Caucasian ophthalmologists were men while 27% were women. Because of insufficient data, survey authors couldn't draw any conclusions regarding other races.
  • Self-employed professionals in this field earn more (~$429,000) than their employee counterparts (~$256,000).
  • 58% of all professionals in the field are self-employed, while 42% are employed.
  • Men earn more (~$391,000) than women (~$273,000).
  • Only 37% of male ophthalmologists are employed while 45% of females are employed.
  • 23% of women and 14% of men work part-time, while 86% of women and 77% of men work full-time.

Types of Media Ophthalmologists Consume

  • Based on Scimago Journal & Country Rank, the top ten ophthalmology journals in the United States, in 2018, are: Ocular Surface (4.498 weighted citations received in 2018), Annual Review of Vision Science (4.308 weighted citations received in 2018), JAMA Ophthalmology (2.385 weighted citations received in 2018), Retina (2.326 weighted citations received in 2018), Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science (1.933 weighted citations received in 2018), Journal of Vision (1.561 weighted citations received in 2018), Journal of Refractive Surgery (1.520 weighted citations received in 2018), Acta Ophthalmologica (1.510 weighted citations received in 2018), Cornea (1.444 weighted citations received in 2018), and Experimental Eye Research (1.330 weighted citations received in 2018).
  • A 2015 study ranked the top most popular profiles on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in the field of Ophthalmology. The authors of the study looked at "peer-reviewed journals, professional organizations, trade publications, and patient advocacy groups".
  • They found that patient advocacy groups had the most Facebook likes and Twitter followers. The Fred Hollows Foundation is the leading advocacy group on Facebook with 72,698 likes while the Royal National Institute of Blind People is the leading one on Twitter, with 22,900 followers and 2,889 LinkedIn members.
  • Professional organizations were the second most popular group, with the International Council of Ophthalmology having 11,872 Facebook likes and the American Academy of Ophthalmology having 11,800 Twitter followers and 4,608 LinkedIn members.
  • Trade publications occupy the third place in terms of social media popularity. Eyetube.net has 4,132 Facebook likes and Ophthalmology Times Europe has 8,788 Twitter followers.
  • Peer-reviewed journals are ranked fourth based on social media popularity. The Journal of Community Eye Health has 3,989 Facebook likes and JAMA Ophthalmology has 4,623 Twitter followers.

Day in the Life

  • Most ophthalmologists work over 40 hours a week, on a regular basis.
  • 77% of ophthalmologists spend 30-45 hours per week seeing patients; 11% spend 46-55 hours per week; 7% spend less than 30 hours per week; 5% spend 56-65 hours per week; 1% spend more than 65 hours per week.
  • 52% of ophthalmologists spend 9-12 minutes with each patient; 21% spend between 13 and 16 minutes; 19% spend less than 9 minutes, 7% spend 17-24 minutes and 1% spend 25 or more minutes.
  • On an average, an ophthalmologist may see between 12 to 15 patients on a busy day.
  • Each week, 35% of all ophthalmologists dedicate 10-19 hours to paperwork and administration; 31% dedicate 5-9 hours per week; 23% spend less than 5 hours on paperwork and administration; 11% spend 20 or more hours on paperwork and administration.
TIMELINE
  • Most ophthalmologists work regular hours. That implies having a set schedule and routine.
  • One physician starts seeing patients at 7:30 AM and ends around 16:30. The schedule is often so busy that the ophthalmologist doesn't have time to take any breaks longer than 5 minutes. For each patient, they try to diagnose the problem and create a treatment strategy. Between 16:30 and 19:00, they usually attend meetings or do paperwork; The meetings occur once or twice a week.
  • It is also common that physicians works at another clinic. They also work at a hospital a few days a month and have a half-day clinic at the local hospital.
  • On a busy day, physicians see around 16 patients.
DAILY ACTIVITY AND RESPONSIBILITIES
  • In general, the daily responsibilities of these professionals include providing ophthalmic consultation to other physicians. They are also responsible for developing plans and strategies for services in this field.
  • Another daily activity involves educating patients about healthy vision maintenance.
  • Ophthalmologists may also conduct clinical research in their field.
  • Furthermore, a day in the life of a physician includes documenting and evaluating the medical histories of their patients.
  • They also prescribe treatment in the form of corrective lenses to their patients.
  • 88% of professionals have telephone conversations; 75% use e-mail on a daily basis; 90% state that team work is really important in this job; 100% affirmed that group discussions occur every single day in this job; 66% stated that the job implies meeting strict deadlines daily; 97% talk and work with people every day; 28% deal with irate costumers on a daily basis; 92% are required to make health-related decisions every day.
WEEKLY OR MONTHLY ACTIVITIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
  • Moreover, on a weekly or monthly basis, ophthalmologists need to perform ophthalmic surgeries that include "cataract, glaucoma, refractive, corneal, vitro-retinal, eye muscle, and oculoplastic surgeries".
  • They also prescribe other treatments and therapies that include chemotherapy, low vision therapy or cryotherapy.
  • In addition to the above, on a weekly or monthly basis, these physicians refer patients to other medical professionals in order to create a specialized treatment plan or operate on them.

Other Helpful Findings

  • 58% of ophthalmologists describe themselves as happy outside of work.
  • 37% describe themselves as very happy at work.
  • 37% of professionals in this field stated they were depressed, burned out or both.
  • 43% of women and 27% of men report they are burned out.
  • To cope with burnout, 51% of ophthalmologists exercise, 48% of them talk to close friends and family, 36% of them sleep, 30% play or listen to music, 27% eat junk food, 26% drink alcohol, 21% isolate themselves from others, 15% binge eat, 3% use prescription drugs, 2% consume marijuana products, and 1% use nicotine.
  • The main factors that contribute to an ophthalmologist's burnout are the large number of bureaucratic tasks (59%), the increasing computerization (35%), government regulations (33%), too much time spent at work (31%), the decreasing reimbursements (27%), the insufficient compensation (24%), the lack of respect coming from patients (18%), the lack of respect from colleagues, staff, employees or administrators (15%), "feeling like a cog in a wheel" (13%), the lack of control or autonomy (12%), the importance of profit over patients (10%), and the maintenance of certification requirements (7%).
  • 23% of them would seek professional help with burnout and depression.
  • 14% of them are very extroverted, while 7% are very introverted.
  • Out of those ophthalmologists who suffer from depression, 46% express their frustration in front of colleagues, 38% are more easily annoyed with staff and colleagues, 33% are less engaged with staff and colleagues, while only 27% don't report any changes in behavior in the workplace.
  • In terms of their relationship with patients, 45% of ophthalmologists are easily annoyed with patients, 38% are less friendly with patients, and 35% do not report any changes in their relationship with the patients, Moreover, 28% of specialists express their frustration in front of patients, 27% are less engaged with patients, 15% feel less motivated to be thorough with patients and 12% make errors they wouldn't normally make.
  • 77% haven't participated in programs to help them cope with stress and burnout while only 23% have.
  • 82% of the specialists are married, 10% are single, 3% are living with a partner, and 5% are divorced.
  • 68% have spiritual or religious beliefs, 24% do not, and 8% prefer not to say.
  • 45% have 1-3 close friends, 36% have 4-6 close friends, while 17% have 7 or more close friends.
  • Toyota (21%), Honda (17%), BMW (13%), Lexus (10%), and Subaru (8%) are the most popular car brands among ophthalmologists.

Research Strategy:

In our endeavor to identify the types of media ophthalmologists consume, we started by trying to find the top ophthalmology journals in the United States. The most recent ranking dated from 2018. The popularity of the journals was established based on the number of weighted citations received in 2018. We included that ranking in our project and made sure to add the number of weighted citations for each publication. Since these journals publish scientific articles, it is safe to assume that their readers are almost entirely ophthalmology professionals. Therefore, we were able to determine which journals are considered to be the most prestigious among these physicians.

We continued our research by trying to find recent studies and surveys regarding ophthalmologists and their preferred media. To this avail, we focused on medical news publications and ophthalmology publications such as reviewofophthalmology.com and ophthalmologytimes.com. We found some articles from 2015 that addressed the do's and don't of social media in working with patients. While there were no articles on the topic of preferred media, we noticed that Medscape publishes surveys regarding ophthalmologists' lifestyle. Therefore, we looked at the most recent ones in an attempt to find out whether these medical professionals like to read or browse social media for relaxation. Unfortunately, none of the recent reports we looked at mentioned anything along those lines.

We continued by trying to expand the scope of our research and see whether the topic of preferred media for physicians in the United States had been addressed in any online publications. We looked at medicalnewstoday.com and mdmag.com. While we found articles concerning the relation between healthcare social media and burnout or how to behave on social media as a healthcare professional, there were no articles to address the topic that we were interested in. We also looked through Research Gate or The National Center for Biotechnology Information. We were particularly interested in finding out what type of social media networks physicians in the field of ophthalmology prefer and what type of content they follow. Unfortunately, recent data regarding this topic was not publicly available.

However, we did identify a 2015 study concerning the most popular associations and publications in the field of ophthalmology. Popularity was established based on Facebook likes, LinkedIn membership and Twitter followers. We decided to include this study because it was the most recent one that was publicly available that addressed the topic at hand. Based on likes, followers and membership, we established that the most popular social media profiles in the field of ophthalmology belong to patient advocacy groups, professional organizations, trade publications, and peer-reviewed journals. We also need to mention that, although the study was conducted by North American researchers (United States and Canada), data regarding the demographics of Facebook users, Twitter followers and LinkedIn members was not available. Therefore, we cannot be completely certain that these are the preferences of ophthalmologists in the United States alone. Furthermore, we also need to add that, while some of the publications and organizations that have the most likes and the most followers are based in the United States, others are international.
Part
06
of seven
Part
06

Specialists - Personas

In general, the field of ophthalmology is very difficult and competitive to get into. The type of person that becomes a specialist is typically competitive, highly educated, at the top of their class, and share a passion for the field.

DEMOGRAPHICS

Education
  • Surgeons must complete MD training and an additional four years of post-graduate specialty training which includes a three-year residency in eye surgery and at least a one-year internship.
  • The residency provides the surgeon with training in all the subspecialty fields including: pediatric, glaucoma, neuro-ophthamology, retina, cornea, orbit, and oncology. However, to perform more than basic glaucoma or cataract surgery the surgeon must pursue an additional one to two years of sub-specialty training.
  • In addition, they have to have a good amount of dexterity and hand-eye coordination to conduct microsurgery.
Income
  • On average, in 2017, ophthalmologists earned $345,000; however a survey found that women earn 39% less than males, with earnings of $267,000 and $370,000 respectively.
  • Private-practice ophthalmologists earn more than those who are employed in a clinical setting with no ownership. A survey shows self-employed practitioners reported earnings 43% than those that were employed.
Gender and Age
  • There is a noticeable gender and racial gap in who becomes an ophthalmologist, with the majority being white and Asian males, 80% and 69% respectively, and other racial groups had too low representation to be included.
  • The average age of surgeons is 47 years old, although broken down by gender the average age is 49 years old for men and 43 years old for women.

General persona

  • Individuals that choose this profession are intelligent, generally at the top of their classes, and show an early interest in the field.
  • Most schools look for candidates with an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.6 and an MCAT score of 510 or higher out of a possible 528.
  • They also show extreme dedication in pursuing five-plus years of additional specialty training.
  • Ophthalmologists enjoy the mixture of medicine and surgery and have good hand eye coordination.
  • These specialists generally choose this specialized field because its where they feel they could make the most difference.
  • They express interest in the tools of the trade.
  • The highest-paid specialists are in the Northeast ($452,000) and the lowest paid are in the Mid-Atlantic ($320,000).

MEDIA CONSUMPTION

  • Medical journals is one way that they keep abreast of research and new technologies in their field. (Journal of Refractive Surgery)
  • Medscape is a great online resource for healthcare professionals.
  • A review of retina specialists and refractive surgeons on social media platforms reveals that they receive information such as updates from their respective universities and medical centers.
  • They also follow in various medical platforms such as Milan Eye Center and medical colleges on Linkedin. Other Linkedin interests include Health 2.0 which has over 71,461 members, Dr. Chris Stout who is a best-selling author with over 465K followers, Johnson and Johnson Vision with 40K followers, Kaiser Permanente with over 500K followers, and more related to hospitals and vision as well as entrepreneurial ones.
  • Facebook posts show a lot of posts of various conferences, such as American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, they attend and some medical information although a lot of ophthalmologists and eye specialists found on Linkedin could not be located on Facebook.

DAY IN THE LIFE

  • Ophthalmologists have to undergo rigorous educational which includes training in all subspecialities, therefore their days can be demanding.
  • They spend their days seeing patients, one reported seeing about 170 in a week and some of those sessions involve refractive and corneal surgeries.
  • Their work is "challenging and extremely demanding", however, also gratifying to be able to help restore people's vision.
  • Every day they grapple with fighting diseases of the eye every day and the downs of when they are unable to save a person's sight along with the ups when they are successful.
  • They typically spend 30 to 40 hours per week seeing patients (74%).
  • 41% report spending 10 hours or more on paperwork and administration.
  • Most ophthalmologists will see about 5,000 and 8,000 patients per year which averages to between 31 and 50 patients per day, based on 3.5 clinic days per week and 46 weeks per year. Specialties requiring greater amounts of time per encounter will naturally be found at the lower end of the range.
Dr. Randy Cole
  • "It really is quite remarkable in terms of what we can do to improve people’s quality of life, ability to function, and restoring the precious sense of sight to a level better than they’ve ever experienced."
  • This specialist reported seeing 170 patients a week with about 40 surgeries. He cites working hard seeing patients all day Tuesday, Wednesday morning, and all day Friday, and being on call every second and third weekend of the month.
  • He found the work challenging and gratifying to be able to restore people's vision and quality of life.
Dr. Ellie Mein
  • "I enjoyed ophthalmology as it offered a combination of medicine and surgery." She cites choosing ophthalmology as she was drawn to the surgical specialties. She cites that a benefit over other doctors is having fewer inpatients and therefore being on call is more civilized than other surgical specialties.
  • She also enjoys that even a simple office visit entails the use of specialty equipment unlike other fields.
  • Dr. Mein notes the competitive nature of becoming an ophthalmologist.

Strategy

Refractive surgeons/corneal specialists are generally termed as ophthalmologists because their practice includes both medicine and surgery they all ophthalmologists have to receive training in all specialties. Even when they receive more training in a specialty subset the general terminology used was still ophthalmologist. We searched the Department of Labor and Bureau of Statistics as well as other sites and could not find any occupational listing, and it appears here they are considered surgeons as we were able to find information for the technicians (assistants) there was not a listing for the specialists in general furthering the idea they were grouped with surgeons or maxillofacial surgeon. We also conducted separate searches on the salaries using a multitude of search terms emphasing the different subspecialties through different databases and found that regardless the title of the occupation their salaries were roughly the same. Therefore, although the sources use the term ophthalmology I tried to limit the content to those that addressed refractive surgeons. Additionally, interviews and information provided by refractive surgeons and sources show they also refer to themselves as ophthalmologists.
The interviews are dated but they were helpful in constructing the persona of a specialist and providing some insight into their days. In addition, we searched a few specialists throughout the nation and their hours of operation seem to match so we used this as an assumption in trying to produce a typical day. This was especially helpful as we could not locate enough information through interviews, separate job descriptions searches, and social media searches to piece together a timeline of their day.



Part
07
of seven
Part
07

Specialists - Patients

Research is limited in regard to patients receiving genetic testing and therapeutics from ocular specialists. Refractive surgeons and corneal specialists are specialized subspecialities of ophthalmology and both have some interaction with hereditary diseases that can be better detected and treated using genetic testing. These means of genetic testing seem to be of extra benefit to younger patients suffering from hereditary, genetic reasons for visual alteration that can benefit from early detection and treatment.

DEMOGRAPHICS

AGE
  • The demographics of refractive surgeons and corneal specialists' patients in the US can vary from infancy to old age depending on the underlying reason for seeking treatment. Age is explored below in relation to the condition that may require refractive surgery or a corneal specialist.
SIZE OF POPULATION
  • The size of the population receiving refractive surgery or seeking corneal specialists unfortunately depends on the number of individuals suffering from certain conditions from nearsightedness through diseases as serious as age-related mascular degeneration and therefore is hard to quantify. It is possible to estimate the populations of each condition it is not possible to tease out which led to the actual seeking of treatment.
  • Cataracts affects over 24.4 million Americans over the age of 40.
  • Glaucoma affects more than 2.7 million Americans over 40.
  • Over 2.1 million Americans over 50 are affected by AMD, by age 80, 1 in 10 will have late AMD which is more common in women than men.
  • There were just over 48K corneal implants in 2013. These implants occur in men, women, and children from the ages of 9 days old to 100-plus years.
OCCUPATION AND EDUCATION LEVEL
  • Occupational level impacts the demographics of a patient as a result of the financial burden these services can run in addition to the fact that they are not covered by most medical insurance plans offered through employers and private insurance only contribute so much. Educational levels are a big predictor of occupation levels.
CONDITIONS
  • Patients seeking corneal subspecialists specifically are seeking to treat corneal eye disease such as Fuchs' dystrophy and keratoconus, refractive surgery, or corneal transplants.
  • Pediatric patients seeking ophthalmologists treat misalignment of the eyes, uncorrected refractive errors and vision differences between the two eyes as well as other childhood eye diseases and conditions.
  • Comprehensive ophthalmologists treat patients suffering from eye disease with medicine or surgery and can prescribe glasses.
  • 95% of cataracts are age-related and occur after age 40, this is a common need for refractive surgery.
  • Some cataracts are present at birth (congenital), usually caused by infection or inflammation during pregnancy or possibly inherited.
  • Nearsightedness tends to run in families and is often first detected in childhood, commonly between early school years through the teenage years.
  • Cataracts are related to aging and are very common in old people, but people can have an age-related cataract in their 40s and 50s. It is after 60 that a cataract causes problems with a person's vision.
  • According to the National Eye Institute, white females are more likely to contract the disease, followed by African-Americans and Hispanic Americans.
  • It is estimated that the majority of eye disease happen and will happen in the south of the US, especially in states like New Mexico, Florida, and Texas.
  • More than half of all Americans have either had a cataract or cataract surgery by the time they are 75 years old. As such, we can assume that the majority of people that contract the disease are mostly married.
  • Childhood cataracts are rare in children and infants and when present often have genetic roots or were the result of infection during pregnancy, trauma to the eye, diabetes, metabolic diseases, or low birth weight.
  • Genetic testing is being recommended for patients who may have inherited eye disease and provide genetic counseling to their patients.
  • Autosomal genes are the same between males and females at infancy and if the gene is dominant the child will have a 50% chance of getting the same visual condition. In addition, other conditions requiring a specialist are identified that can be tested and treated for such as pediatric glaucoma among others.

GOALS AND CHALLENGES

GOALS
  • The goals of seeking treatment from a specialist are to improve vision and quality of life.
  • Genetic testing is being recommended for patients who may have inherited eye disease and provide genetic counseling to their patients.
  • "The National Institutes of Health Genetic Testing Registry is a new web-based clinical tool that includes a database of Clinical Laboratories Improvement Amendments–approved genetic tests and context-specific links to key resources such as GeneReviews, professional practice guidelines, PubMed reviews, and Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man(r) (OMIMr) records." There are also websites that offer listings of genetics professionals by zip code.
  • Inflammatory diseases and hereditary (genes) results in about 4,000 diseases, 1/3 of which involves eyes.

CHALLENGES
  • Challenges involve access to specialists as well as specialist reluctance to use genetic testing.
  • Ophthalmologists appear to be resistant to accepting and using genetic testing for "opthalmic diseases for various reasons be it moral, ethical, psychological or social issues that arise from the genetic findings."
  • "Comprehensive ophthalmologists are specialists in medical and surgical first-line treatments for disorders such as macular degeneration, tumors of the eye, uveitis, cataracts, dry eye, conjunctivitis, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, inherited retinal diseases and other retinal problems."

HEALTH-RELATED VALUES CONCERNS

  • Patients seeking genetic testing are those that are the most concerned with blindness, perhaps as a result of having been a care giver and told to seek the best eye care available and namely because they know genetically they are susceptible to certain hereditary eye diseases such as glaucoma. This search took one woman from Manhattan, Los Angeles and Philadelphia only to end up at Emory Medical Care to get assistance from an ophthalmologist with a focus in genetic glaucoma as she realized the familial reoccurence of the disease after the death of her father.

STRATEGY

We first tried to identify the typical profile/conditions that would cause a patient to seek refractive surgeons or corneal specialists to develop the demographics. These demographics were closely related to the underlying condition(s) for which they were seeking treatment. However, we could not really find any information related to patients' occupation and education levels. We consulted different databases that detail statsictics about people with eye disease such as the NIH, the American Academy of Ophthamology, the CDC, and the NCBI but most of the informationpertained to the number of people that contract the disease. We were able to uncover that a lot of eye injuries and subsequent complications are caused by work-related problems and high exposure to ultra violet light but there was no specific mention of the exact occupation that caused the most problems.

The types of patients that tend to participate in genetic testing are those that are predisposed to hereditary dispositions such as glaucoma and young children with predispositions or congenital visual abnormalities. This distinction made it easier to distinguish between patients seeking refractive surgeons and corneal specialists due to the type of condition they were seeking to treat. Using that information, we were able to distinguish patients that required a specialist as well as patients that would be better treated using genetic testing, which oftentimes are children and infants with genetic predispositions. It appears that the willingness of patients to embark on genetic testing and treatment aligns with difficulties with which practitioners accept the practice of genetic testing but having searched numerous databases and journals and for individual accounts there is not a statistical figure we can arrive at to determine the proportion of patients who would prefer genetic testing over commonplace specialist services.


Sources
Sources

From Part 03
Quotes
  • "32.3% of residents either agreed or strongly agreed that they felt confident at the start of ophthalmology residency"
From Part 04
Quotes
  • "Dr. Slade’s clinic is in Houston, Texas and he was the co-writer of the study (with Dr. Durrie) that coined the term Sub-Bowman’s Keratomileusis (SBK) for the new, improved LASIK technique done entirely with laser. He is also very kind and has a voice that could be, and is, regularly used to make the most anxious patient feel like they are entering into hypnosis-level relaxation. Almost every new laser or technology goes to his clinic first for him to put it through the paces. "
  • "Many people south of the Mason Dixon line may never have heard of this great man without reading this blog, and that alone would make the writing worth it. Dr. Thompson founded a practice in Souix Falls, South Dakota that is one of the most amazing I’ve ever seen. Even the building itself is a masterpiece with huge, three-story, floor-to-ceiling windows offering vistas for miles across the plains. But much more important, Dr. Thompson is a surgeon so brilliant and prolific that many patients drive hundreds of miles just so he can be their doctor. Also, he is the nicest guy I’ve ever known. I mean that literally. I may someday meet someone nicer, but I will only believe it after I verify that it’s not Vance Thompson in disguise."
  • "Dr. Stonecipher is the winner every year of the Coolest Name in Ophthalmology award. His practice is in Greensboro, North Carolina and he’s been involved in many studies to advance LASIK technology. It’s also exceptionally rare to find a doctor who’s a great researcher and a talented public speaker. Most speakers in ophthalmology world make you think, “Yes. Clearly this is a man who prefers math to speaking with people.” "
  • "Dr. McDonald is also a world leader in dry eye treatment. While out at dinner with her once, she saw a picture of my son and remarked that he was very handsome. It was around this time that I objectively realized she was not only a great surgeon, but also a delightful person."
  • "And he’s a really personable guy with a charismatic personality—amazing since his list of accomplishments makes it seem like he’d almost have to be all brain and no heart. "
  • "Dr. Krueger is the head honcho for refractive surgery at The Cleveland Clinic. A lot of his work is in the academic realm with publishing and reviewing scientific literature. This literature comprises the major medical journals refractive surgeons base their decisions on. Most “academic” type surgeons are more famous for their research than for their surgical prowess. Dr. Krueger breaks that mold, however. He’s an amazing surgeon, so he generally has access to new and evolving technology because companies want to know what he thinks. And when he speaks at refractive surgery meetings, people listen because other surgeons want to know what he thinks as well. As an added bonus, behind closed doors when patients aren’t around, it’s obvious that he cares for people and is motivated by doing right by each patient."
Quotes
  • "Many eye surgeons throughout the United States offer a wide range of refractive surgery procedures. Refractive surgery is used to correct optical imperfections in the eye. The goal is for patients to be able to focus on images without the use of glasses, bifocals or contact lenses. LASIK is the most popular kind of refractive surgery and is part of a group of procedures known as laser eye surgery. Other types of laser eye surgery include PRK, LASEK and Epi-LASIK."
Quotes
  • "Ophthalmologists start their career by completing four years of medical school studies. During the final year of medical school, interested students apply for enrollment in a surgical ophthalmology residency program that lasts four more years. During this period, students learn about the structure of the eye, how the eye works, medical conditions that affect the eye, diagnosing eye diseases, as well as medications and treatments for various eye conditions. After training, students are usually required to complete a one-year residency in a medical facility that treats patients with visual problems; and even more years of training for those interested in becoming cornea eye specialists. By the end of this study period, ophthalmologists will have the knowledge and skills required to treat patients and perform surgeries."
  • "Look for a surgeon who offers both pre and post-operative care. Alternatively, choose a surgeon who can recommend a suitable physician for pre- and post-operative care."
  • "You should select a surgeon who is a good communicator. This means the surgeon should be willing to spend time explaining the LASIK procedure, its pros and cons, costs, and answering all the questions you may have."
Quotes
  • "A clear, fair and objective information must be delivered to the patient by the surgeon, in accordance with the ethics rules. "
  • "In all cases, the ethics of the surgeon remains the guarantor of an informed choice of the best surgical technique for a given patient."
Quotes
  • "In all, 152 surgeons completed the questionnaire. We identified several characteristics of highly successful surgeons. Many have contributed prolific numbers of publications and book chapters and obtained considerable funding for research. "
  • "They were often motivated by a “desire for personal development (interesting challenge, new opportunities),” whereas “relocating to a new institution, financial gain, or lack of alternative candidates” played little to no role in their decisions to take positions of leadership."
Quotes
  • "It is necessary for your laser eye surgeon to have the necessary education and training on LASIK. They must also have passed state-recognized board certifications or licensure exams. The American Board of Ophthalmology gives one, which is recognized by both the American Medical Association and the American Board of Medical Specialties."
  • "A solid educational background on LASIK includes many years of experience. This helps sharpen the skills of a reliable optometrist, giving them a better grasp on the procedure. We suggest asking your go-to eye doctor how long they have been performing this procedure. This may help eliminate your apprehensions about going through with the surgery, giving you peace of mind and building trust between you and your expert eye health care providers."
Quotes
  • "Good communication is key for your eye health."
  • "If you don't like the doctor, you'll be less likely to get checkups, and that isn’t good for your health."
Quotes
  • "Having an ongoing interaction with other corneal surgeons whom you trust is an important asset. This collaboration has kept me current and continues to make me a better clinician and surgeon. Never be unwilling to learn, and always keep an open mind to new ideas and surgical techniques. "
  • "It is more of a challenge but in many ways more important to seek colleagues outside of your practice as trusted advisors. Steve Lane, Eric Donnenfeld, Mark Mannis and Roger Steinert are a few of the many individuals that have taught, motivated and inspired me. I have found my continued interaction with these talented individuals invaluable to my career. I have also sought to reach out to the next generation of corneal surgeons to keep me current and on the cutting edge. Terry Kim and Barry Lee among others are the next wave of leaders, and I have enjoyed working with and learning from them. "
  • "Numerous committee positions are available for physician involvement. ASCRS is the educational and political voice for all anterior segment surgeons and its Corneal Clinical Committee is yet another opportunity to participate in corneal education and policy making. It is important to attend major meetings to continue progressing your education. It is also very rewarding to work in these organizations’ committees and lead the educational efforts to shape the future of corneal surgery. Engagement in the activities in these societies will not only make you a better corneal surgeon but will make you a more well-rounded person, particularly in the areas of business, politics and process."
  • " If surgeons don’t continue to stay current, like learning the latest endothelial keratoplasty techniques or the DALK procedure, their patients won’t receive the best surgical options and eventually the field will pass the surgeon by. Surgeons should challenge themselves to be on the cutting edge and perform the most innovative surgeries like they did just after their fellowship and also seek modifications or improved instrumentation to make the procedures safer, easier and better. A surgeon should continue to evaluate where he is in comparison to the rest of his colleagues throughout his career. "
  • "Be active in clinical research and teach at major meetings. Every busy clinician has potential data that can be evaluated and reported. The involvement in clinical research keeps you current and involved. The concept of being “academic” has certainly changed over the years. One does not have to have an appointment at a university to be “academic.” I know clinicians who practice at universities who do not publish papers, contribute to textbooks or present at meetings. Their entire effort is the delivery of patient care. On the other hand, I know clinicians in private practice who conduct clinical research, publish papers and book chapters and present at meetings and are involved in the major ophthalmic organizations. Which is the more “academic” clinician? We all have something to contribute."
  • "Work with industry as a consultant or become involved in clinical trials. Lately some individuals in government and the press portray interaction with industry as a negative activity. On the contrary, I have found collaboration with industry to be valuable for me and a benefit to my patients. It is an opportunity to help develop new products, and physician involvement is critical for this development. Working with industry also allows my patients access to the latest technology or medications. I have found that the majority of patients are interested in clinical research and are supportive of my involvement."
Quotes
  • "A 2016 study found that physicians spent about two hours doing computer work for every hour spent face to face with a patient—whatever the brand of medical software. In the examination room, physicians devoted half of their patient time facing the screen to do electronic tasks. And these tasks were spilling over after hours. The University of Wisconsin found that the average workday for its family physicians had grown to eleven and a half hours. The result has been epidemic levels of burnout among clinicians. Forty per cent screen positive for depression, and seven per cent report suicidal thinking—almost double the rate of the general working population."
  • "Something’s gone terribly wrong. Doctors are among the most technology-avid people in society; computerization has simplified tasks in many industries. Yet somehow we’ve reached a point where people in the medical profession actively, viscerally, volubly hate their computers."
  • "The inconsistencies began to make sense when a team at the Mayo Clinic discovered that one of the strongest predictors of burnout was how much time an individual spent tied up doing computer documentation. Surgeons spend relatively little of their day in front of a computer. Emergency physicians spend a lot of it that way. As digitization spreads, nurses and other health-care professionals are feeling similar effects from being screen-bound."
Quotes
  • "A recent Ernst and Young global survey shows that only 55% of US doctors report using clinical decision support software, and 39% use patient portals. 62% see value in virtual communication technologies but few plan to adopt them."
Quotes
  • " With up to 50 percent of adverse events occurring among surgical patients, non-technical skills—emotional intelligence, mindfulness, adaptability and resourcefulness—are critical traits for surgeon health team leaders to prevent adverse events, according to a “viewpoint” article appearing in today’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Surgery."
From Part 06
Quotes
  • "Ophthalmology is an exciting surgical specialty that encompasses many different subspecialties, including: strabismus/pediatric ophthalmology, glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology, retina/uveitis, anterior segment/cornea, oculoplastics/orbit, and ocular oncology."
Quotes
  • "This added training and knowledge prepares an ophthalmologist to take care of more complex or specific conditions in certain areas of the eye or in certain groups of patients."
From Part 07
Quotes
  • "Determining and understanding the genetic risk factors and associations should allow us to better inform and treat our patients."
Quotes
  • "Costarides alerted her to the fact that Eye Center researcher Eldon Geisert holds a particular interest in the genetics of glaucoma. And, since her family had a history of the disease, she thought that she and her relatives might be of help."