Workforce, training and education
East of England

Ophthalmology encompasses a wide range of disorders that affect the eye, orbit and visual pathways. Although eye diseases are seen in patients of all ages there is an increased incidence in children and the elderly. A large number of different systemic disorders affect the eye and ophthalmologists collaborate with a wide range of different medical and surgical specialists in the investigation and management of patients. Ophthalmology is a broad specialty and combines the diagnostic and therapeutic skills of the physician with the manual dexterity of the microsurgeon. It will appeal to doctors with a broad interest in general medicine who wish also to undertake laser and microsurgical procedures.

The specialty of medical ophthalmology has its own specific training scheme. Medical ophthalmologists do not operate but are involved in the management of patients with endocrine disease (including the laser treatment of diabetic retinopathy), rheumatological and immunological disorders, AIDS, paediatric ophthalmology, genetic eye disease and neuro-ophthalmology.

Ophthalmology has been at the forefront of technological advances involving medicine. Advances in optics and imaging systems mean that the components of the eye can be clearly imaged at high magnification even to the extent of imaging individual photoreceptors. Developments in high frequency ultrasound mean that the intra-ocular anatomy can be assessed even when the media of the eye are opaque due to cataract or vitreous haemorrhage. Detailed assessment of retinal and optic nerve function is also possible using complex electro-physiological and psycho-physical techniques. Surgical techniques have also benefited from the advent of new technology. Laser photo-coagulation of retino-vascular disorders such as diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity can now prevent blindness and other specialised lasers are used in the treatment of myopia and other refractive errors. Advances in microsurgical techniques mean that cataract surgery can be performed through tiny sutureless incisions as a day case procedure and many disorders thought untreatable only ten years ago are now amenable to surgical treatment.

Ophthalmology also offers

- Amazing opportunities to work abroad in areas of need whilst enjoying the privelage of travel and working with fantastic international colleagues

- Family friendly working patterns with relatively quiet on calls over night.

- Clinic and theatre based work schedule avoiding the pressures of ward work. 

- Cutting edge research opportunties including stem cell and genetics.

- Incredible patient satisfaction and consequently doctor job satisfaction - a rare commodity in the modern NHS.