What they do

An ophthalmologist is both physician and surgeon who diagnoses, treats and prevents diseases of the eye. The surgical work of the general ophthalmologist may include cataract extraction, squint and glaucoma surgery, retinal, oculoplastic and nasolacrimal surgery.

There are approximately 60 ophthalmologists in Western Australia. The majority are based in Perth however are small percent base themselves in major regional centres.

Working conditions

Ophthalmologists can work in operating theatres, out- patient clinics and increasingly in community care settings. There may be extensive periods when an ophthalmologist works in low level lighting.

There may be times when an ophthalmologist is required to work extra hours and be on-call although out of hours work is generally not as demanding as other specialities and night work is not typical.

Tools and technologies

Ophthalmology continues to incorporate new technology including optical instrumentation, lasers and microsurgical instrumentation. The advances in technology, drugs and techniques have led to development of new process and a rapidly changing job role.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become an ophthalmologist, you must first become a qualified medical practitioner and then specialise in ophthalmology.

To become a medical practitioner, you need to study a degree in medicine. Alternatively, you can study a degree in any discipline followed by a postgraduate degree in medicine.

Some universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

To then specialise in ophthalmology, doctors can apply to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) to undertake further training and ultimately receive fellowship.

To be eligible for this specialist training, on completion of your medical degree, you must work in the public hospital system for a minimum of two years (internship and residency).

Required registration and licensing

To work as an ophthalmologist in Western Australia, you will need to obtain registration from the Medical Board of Australia.