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  1. #1
    Protoman2050 is offline Member 510 points
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    Ophthalmology residency possible?

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    Is an ophthalmology residency possible? I know Ophtho is incredibly difficult for IMGs to match into, but anything is possible.

    I've always liked both cardiology and ophthalmology. Both have an excellent mix of cerebral and procedural skills, and very interesting diseases. Also, many cardiovascular and neurosurgical diseases are first brought into the light by an ophthalmologist doing a routine eye exam, like cotton wool spots on the retina indicating long-standing HTN or diabetes mellitus, or papilledema indicating intracranial hypertension.

    Both allow me to diagnose, and medically and surgically treat the patient, and both have about equal compensation, so that's not an issue. But ophthalmologists generally have less sick patients, and easier hours.

    Most emergency calls can be handled by a competent optometrist (like my own, he's more knowledgable than many ophthalmologists I've seen, and he and his ophthalmologist partner pretty much share emergency call; the only difference between them in terms of skills is that the ophtho can do surgery. I'm speaking about my OD personally, some other ODs are just idiots), save for traumas.

    Then again, most cardiology emergency calls can be handle by a competent PA, so I just need to be consulted if the PA has questions, or the patient needs an intervention.

    Maybe I could complete my internal medicine residency, do ophthalmology research during my electives, get good LORs from ophthalmology attendings.

  2. #2
    LF1Student is offline Junior Member 510 points
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    You would have to learn Czech

  3. #3
    shrey is offline Senior Member 526 points
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    to LF1student, the OP was asking about matching into an American Ophthalmology residency program.

    To the OP, it's quite hard to match into ophthalmology as you already know. But I guess you would need killer scores, US electives (to get good LORs) and also some research work. Like with most competitive specialties.

    I was just looking at the match data for 2010 and it seems that the number of US graduates matched into programs has dramatically increased from 2000. The number of US IMGs who matched has also increased (from 44% to 47%); conversely, the number of non-US IMGs matched has decreased (from 44% to 42%.) I think if this trend continues in the coming years, by the year 2015, it will become ridiculously competitive even for USIMGs to match into a program.

    I think it's best you wait until your clinical years to decide what you want to pursue because it will give you a more clear picture about the field.


  4. #4
    Protoman2050 is offline Member 510 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by shrey View Post
    to LF1student, the OP was asking about matching into an American Ophthalmology residency program.

    To the OP, it's quite hard to match into ophthalmology as you already know. But I guess you would need killer scores, US electives (to get good LORs) and also some research work. Like with most competitive specialties.

    I was just looking at the match data for 2010 and it seems that the number of US graduates matched into programs has dramatically increased from 2000. The number of US IMGs who matched has also increased (from 44% to 47%); conversely, the number of non-US IMGs matched has decreased (from 44% to 42%.) I think if this trend continues in the coming years, by the year 2015, it will become ridiculously competitive even for USIMGs to match into a program.

    I think it's best you wait until your clinical years to decide what you want to pursue because it will give you a more clear picture about the field.
    When I'm a med student, I'm going to rotate in interventional cardiology and ophthalmology for my electives, to see which one I like better. I'm going to do clinical research in both.

  5. #5
    shrey is offline Senior Member 526 points
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    Yes, that sounds like a good plan.


  6. #6
    Protoman2050 is offline Member 510 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by shrey View Post
    Yes, that sounds like a good plan.
    Maybe I could spend time in the anatomy lab trying to invent a new eye surgery. Like see if a microcatheter could be used for retinal thrombectomy or something. That *could* work, just thread a catheter from the superior ophthalmic vein into the the central retinal vein, and administer Activase.

    Oh well, wishful thinking probably.

  7. #7
    shrey is offline Senior Member 526 points
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    Yes, unfortunately I do think that is wishful thinking. At Charles, you only spend 2 weeks in the Anatomy lab at the end of the semester and you'll mostly be dissecting and learning stuff for the Anatomy dissection exam.

    Perhaps when you get to the 4th year, you can let the professor in your group know that you're interested in doing research in this field, and I'm sure he'd be more than happy to oblige. Although the entire ophthalmology course lasts only a week, you can spend more time there if you have the time (ie. if you're doing research.)

    I can only recommend you to take it step by step and not get ahead of yourself because each year in medical school can seem quite long and frustrating, and while it's nice to see that you're very interested in these fields, you still have to finish the theoretical years, which can be a pain.

    Nevertheless, it's good to explore a field that you would like to pursue in the future. And who knows, your choices may change by the time you get to the 4th or 5th year.

    I for one will never become an ophthalmologist lol.


  8. #8
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    devildoc8404 is offline Ultimate Member 12699 points
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    Shrey is right on... it is pretty easy to underestimate the work load for the classroom portion of medical school before you are up to your nostrils in it. Your best bet is to make sure you get through the first two/three years, and then work with whatever clinical profs have interests that coincide with your own. You have exciting ideas and ambition, which are great assets, but it's certainly advisable to take things one step at a time...

    If you want ophthalmology, heading overseas is a poor choice. That's a tough match in the States, as are any of the ROADS specialties, and an incredibly tall order as an FMG. Stay in the States, finish undergrad and MCAT, and apply to US MD and DO schools, and your chances for completing medical school and matching into a competitive residency will be many, many times higher.
    Last edited by devildoc8404; 05-27-2010 at 05:21 AM. Reason: Left out a letter... and a couple of sentences.

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  9. #9
    shrey is offline Senior Member 526 points
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    I agree, your chances of getting into ophthalmology as an IMG are almost nil. I read somewhere how a few IMG grads in 2007 applied for around 8-10 ophthalmology programs but only 2 grads ultimately got in. All the grads already did a residency in ophthalmology in their country and had killer Step 1 and 2 scores, but still couldn't get in. The two grads who got in had done research for 4 years in Sweden and the US and I think that made a lot of difference. This speciality might as well be up there with the rest of the ROAD specialties.


  10. #10
    devildoc8404's Avatar
    devildoc8404 is offline Ultimate Member 12699 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by shrey View Post
    At Charles, you only spend 2 weeks in the Anatomy lab at the end of the semester and you'll mostly be dissecting and learning stuff for the Anatomy dissection exam.
    Are you serious, shrey? TWO WEEKS in the anatomy lab? What do they have you doing the rest of the time, just lectures?

    "When I haven't any
    blue... I use red
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    - Pablo Picasso

    BA - Oregon MS - BYU MD - MU-Sofia
    Clinical Research Fellow / Resident
    Fleet Marine Force Hospital Corpsman 1996-2003


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