The educational requirements of an ophthalmologist are a four-year bachelor's degree, four years of medical school, and three to eight years of internships or residencies in a hospital. Altogether, it requires from 11 to 19 years of education to become an ophthalmologist. Ophthalmology is a branch of medicine that specializes in the anatomy, diseases and functions of the eye. Ophthalmologists are required to continue fulfilling education requirements to stay informed about the latest standards of care.
An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who specializes in eye and vision care. Ophthalmologists are trained to perform eye exams, diagnose and treat disease, prescribe medications and perform eye surgery. Ophthalmologists also write prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses. Ophthalmologists are different from optometrists and opticians because they are permitted to diagnose or treat eye diseases, which requires more training and schooling. Ophthalmologists have the initials "M.D." (Doctor of Medicine) or "D.O." (Doctor of Osteopathy) after their names.
Glaucoma surgery and cataract surgery are two of the more common procedures an ophthalmologist usually performs. An ophthalmologist cares for individuals of all ages and performs some of the most complex surgical procedures, from facial surgery to microsurgery, around the eye. Ophthalmologists in the United States make an average salary of $256,000 as of 2015.