What do jugglers and ophthalmologists have in common?

Two men juggling small balls. One dressed in a white clown suit.  One wearing a funny black hat with blue-red decorations.

😀 Both must have good hand-to-eye coordination in order to perform their job well!

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Ophthalmologists are highly qualified eye care physicians with extensive medical and ophthalmic surgical training.

If you choose this career path, it'll take much dedication and hard work, but it's very rewarding to know you're helping people maintain healthy eyes and vision.

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Got Something in Your Eye?

An ophthalmologist's job is to ensure you have healthy eyes and vision.

They'll take a close look at the anatomy of your eyes to see if it's functioning well and detect any abnormalities with your eyesight.

Image of an ophthalmologist conducting any eye examination by peering into a patient's eye through an instrument. Photo by CDC on Unsplash

An ophthalmologist's job can involve many things like:

  • conducting different types of eye and vision tests.

  • correcting vision disorders and eye diseases.

  • performing specialized eye surgery and prescribing medications.

  • doing medical research to find causes and cures for diseases or severe disorders.

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Education & Training Requirements

In both the USA and Canada, becoming a board-certified and licensed ophthalmologist takes a minimum of 12 to 14 years of education and medical training. This training may be longer depending on your area of sub-specialty.

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You can expect to complete academic qualifications, medical training, ophthalmology residency,and extensive training in specialized ophthalmology.

💡 During surgical residency training you can select a subspecialty in ophthalmology. There are several ophthalmology fields of study to choose from such as pediatric ophthalmology, retinal diseases, ophthalmologic plastic surgery, corneal diseases, ophthalmic pathology, neuro-ophthalmology, etc.

Young male student sitting and looking at a laptop screen. Photo by Mars Sector-6 on Unsplash

Step by Step Guide

The education and training eligibility requirements in American and Canada differ as follows:


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Step 1 — Undergraduate degree

Step 2 — MCAT (Medical College Admission Test)

Step 3 — Medical school application

Step 4 — Medical school enrollment

Step 5 — Part 1 USMLE (US Medical Licensing Examination)

Step 6 — Medical residency rotations

Step 7 — Part 2 USMLE (US Medical Licensing Examination)

Step 8 — Mandatory one-year internship

Step 9 — Surgical residency training

Step 10 — Subspecialty training

Education and Training Complete

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Step 1 — Undergraduate degree

Step 2 — MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) **

Step 3 — Medical school application

Step 4 — Medical school enrollment

Step 5 — Part 1 MCCQE (Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Exam)

Step 6 — NAC (National Assessment Collaboration) - mandatory prior to residency program

Step 7 — Surgical residency program*

Step 8 — Subspecialty training

*MCCQE Part 2 is usually completed during or after residency training. Check for new eligibility requirements.

**MCAT is not required for some medical schools.

Education and Training Complete

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Where Do They Work?

Male surgeon with surgical headlight wearing glasses and face mask. Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Ophthalmologists work in different settings:

  • single and multi-specialty group practices

  • healthcare clinics

  • public and private hospitals

  • military service

  • academic institutions

What Can I Expect to Earn?

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The average annual salary for an ophthalmologist in the USA is $161,493.

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The average annual salary for an ophthalmologist in Canada is $255,964.

You'll Love This Career If...

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  • you're inquisitive, a problem solver, enjoy innovations, and like to help people.

  • you've got an aptitude for subjects like biology, physics, and chemistry.

  • you're thoughtful, contemplative, and pay attention to details.

  • you enjoy using your hands to create things that are challenging and complex.

  • you've got an artistic eye and like to design intricate patterns and structures.

💡 If this career sounds fascinating to you then consider visiting the Truhlsen-Marmor Museum of the Eye®in California, the world’s only free, public museum dedicated to the fascinating science of sight.

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This career may not be the right fit for you if...

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  • you have an aversion to watching documentaries about medical and surgical procedures.

  • you dislike using your hands to construct delicate and complex molds to fix problems.

  • you find in-depth reading, research of obscure subjects, and writing reports boring.

  • you hate socializing or working with groups of people and prefer to work alone.

⚡Pick The Future Ophthalmologist


  • Is very shy and likes to spend her free time tending to her garden and writing poetry.

  • Doesn’t like hospitals or the sight of blood.

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  • Is curious and likes to watch scientific movies and read crime novels.

  • Likes working with kids at a robotics camp and constructing Lego miniature models.

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  • Is an excellent swimmer and surfer.

  • Dislikes being indoors and prefers to spend time playing sports with friends.

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Who do you think would be the best fit for the career of an ophthalmologist?

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