What Do Ophthalmologists Actually Study in School?

Becoming an ophthalmologist is an exciting career track for many students. These students will learn how to care for people’s sight, offering patients prescriptions for trusted contact lens brands such as Biofinity Toric or other vision aids as needed. They help people preserve and correct their vision so those people can continue to enjoy the beauty of the world.

Although most people interested in this career field know that they will need several years of schooling to complete their degree and study for their licensing exams, they are commonly unsure what those studies will entail. Students should expect to progress through a bachelor degree program at a four year college or university followed by medical school and then their ophthalmology studies. Here is what they should expect to study.


Before Medical School

Before patients are admitted to medical school, they will be required to complete a bachelor’s degree. Most medical schools want to see students who have completed coursework that is related to the demands of medical school, such as biology. These types of degrees will provide them with an introduction to the science skills they will need to complete their higher level coursework in medical school.

Medical School

Patients will begin their ophthalmology education in medical school. Here they will take a range of courses that apply to the eyes and the human body as a whole. There will be a number of different courses that cover the entire human body such as these examples:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology

Medical school students will also be trained in surgery. As they become more experienced with eye issues, they will also learn how to use their surgical skills to help patients with certain eye diseases or issues.

After Medical School

In addition to the standard medical school classes, patients will also need to complete specialized training that will prepare them to specialize on the eyes. According to the American College of Surgeons, patients will have to do four to five years of training after finishing their medical degree. This training will include a three year residency and then a minimum of one year in an internship. During this residency, doctors will learn valuable skills for eye health. They will learn about various eye diseases, such as cataracts and glaucoma. They will also learn about common vision challenges, such as being nearsighted, farsighted and astigmatism as well as how to correct these problems, such as by prescribing Biofinity Toric lenses for astigmatism.

Those interested in this route should also expect to learn about topics such as:

  • Ultrasonography
  • Retcam Retinal Imaging
  • Analyzing the Visual Field

After students finish their general residency requirements, they can also spend some additional time in training to further refine their specialty. For example, those who want to specialize in neuro-ophthalmology will spend additional time studying topics such as:

  • Patterns in Eye Movement
  • Neurological Diseases with Visual Manifestations
  • In-Depth Exploration of the Visual Pathways

This type of certification will be a one year additional fellowship. There are other specialties, such as retina/uveitis, which require a two year fellowships. The currently available subspecialties are:

  • Strabismus/Pediatric Ophthalmology– 1 year
  • Glaucoma– 1 year
  • Neuro-Ophthalmology– 1 year
  • Retina/Uveitis– 2 years
  • Cornea/Anterior Segment– 1-2 years
  • Ophthalmic Plastic Reconstructive Surgery– 2 years

Studying to be an ophthalmologist is an exciting and challenging career path for many students. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, eye professionals will be needed in increasing numbers in the coming years, due in part  to the aging population and eye problems that are common in senior citizens Those interested in helping patients through offering them trusted contact lens brands such as Biofinity Toric lenses or other prescriptions should pay attention to the subjects covered in their schools so they know how to prepare for the critical yet difficult school venture.