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In Your Head | Jul/Aug '15

What Advice Would You Offer Young Doctors Who Are Considering Specializing in Ophthalmology?

Guy M. Kezirian, MD, MBA, FACS

Guy M. Kezirian, MD, MBA, FACS

Ophthalmology combines the best of medicine in one specialty: It is medical, and it is surgical, treating both wellness and disease. Our patients span all ages, and the range of diagnoses is broad. The technology in ophthalmology is breathtaking, and innovation is constant. Importantly for new physicians, ophthalmology is one of the last fields where most practitioners still work in a private practice setting and the demand for ophthalmologists is growing. Most ophthalmologists enjoy an excellent lifestyle and often have their pick of practice focus and style.

Current ophthalmology training programs offer high-quality teaching with good surgical exposure. Look for programs with up-to-date technology that provide residents with the opportunity to operate. If you are considering a career in ophthalmology, be sure to contact ophthalmologists in your area and ask to spend time in their clinic. Most will welcome young physicians and will enjoy the opportunity to demonstrate the latest advances in this dynamic field.

Guy M. Kezirian, MD, MBA, FACS, is the President of SurgiVision Consultants in Scottsdale, Arizona. Dr. Kezirian may be reached at Guy1000@SurgiVision.net.

Jai G. Parekh, MD, MBA

Jai G. Parekh, MD, MBA

Times have certainly changed in medicine; with a reduction in incomes, consolidation of practices, hospital integration, insurance chaos, and the demand to see more patients, many have been dissuaded from embarking on a career in medicine. That said, times are also exciting in medicine with innovative therapies and imaging modalities, drug delivery, minimally invasive techniques, and overall longevity in humans. Would I do ophthalmology all over again? You betcha!

Eye care encompasses optometry and ophthalmology; for those interested in eye care after traditional medical school, ophthalmology offers decades of satisfaction! I’m nearing my second decade of practice and have loved every minute of it. I have the ability to take care of patients’ eyes, both surgically and medically; I also take care of patients in a longitudinal fashion, ie, ocular surface diseases, glaucoma, and corneal dystrophies. I’m rarely inside the hospital, which is usually a center of “confusion” these days with bureaucracy, sluggish inefficiencies, and “where’s the chart” surround-sound. Most of our surgeries these days are done in high-capacity, state-of-the-art surgery centers.

Another reason ophthalmology is a great choice is that we are lucky enough to practice a specialty built on consumerism, high technology, and excellent overall outcomes. All of this can be achieved in a 40- to 50-hour workweek with rare visits to the hospital! Finally, patients care about their vision, whether it’s fluctuating vision, a floater, a foreign body, or the need to be out of contact lenses.

It’s nice to be needed and to have the ability to affect vision on so many scales.

Jai G. Parekh, MD, MBA, is a Managing Partner at Brar-Parekh Eye Associates in Woodland Park, New Jersey, and a Clinical Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at New York Eye & Ear Infirmary of Mt. Sinai/Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai in New York City. Dr. Parekh may be reached at kerajai@gmail.com.

P. Dee G. Stephenson, MD, FACS

P. Dee G. Stephenson, MD, FACS

The world of medicine is ever-changing, and the decision to go into medicine now seems to be more of a passion than a career choice. For me, medicine and ophthalmology have always been an excitement and infatuation. I think that ophthalmology is the best of both worlds: not only is it a great surgical subspecialty, but it also allows a great lifestyle. I believe that ophthalmology is unique with its cutting-edge technology and relationships within the industry. It is like no other branch of medicine.

The reason I chose ophthalmology was because I was able to set my time priorities for my family and to raise my daughter. Now, at this point in my career, it allows me to set my schedule to see as many patients as I want to see and enjoy my downtime traveling. It is a great specialty because there are very few emergencies, and it is a “patient-happy” atmosphere, which is so conducive to loving your job. After being in solo practice for more than 25 years, I have never, not even once, regretted choosing ophthalmology as my field of medicine. I believe that sight is a gift, and practicing medicine is an art.

I think ophthalmology is a great career choice, where you can blend the best of everything.

P. Dee G. Stephenson, MD, FACS, is the Founder and Director of Stephenson Eye Associates in Venice, Florida, and President of the American College of Eye Surgeons. Dr. Stephenson may be reached at eyedrdee@aol.com.