Income of an Eye Doctor: What Do Eye Doctors Earn?
The amount of money an eye doctor earns is dependent upon a number of factors, including job title and the type of work performed. The amount of money an eye doctor makes also depends upon the industry in which he or she works. Other factors, such as bonuses and profit sharing, can also affect salary.
How Much Do Eye Doctors Earn?
Types of Eye Doctors
There are two types of eye doctors in the United States, optometrists and ophthalmologists. Optometrists test for and diagnose vision problems, prescribe eyewear and medications and provide eye therapy and rehabilitation treatments. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialize in performing eye surgery, treating and diagnosing eye injuries and diseases and prescribing eyewear.
Median Salary Information
According to PayScale.com, optometrists in May, 2010 earned between $77,413 and $107,212, including bonuses, profit sharing, overtime and other cash earnings.
According to PayScale.com, ophthalmologists in May 2010 earned between $142,431 and $267,500 annually. That figure includes bonuses, profit sharing, overtime and other cash earnings.
Coursework and Degree Programs
Optometrists typically complete a 4-year, Doctor of Optometry degree program from an accredited optometry school. Courses include optics, vision science, pharmacology and biochemistry. Students learn in the classroom as well as in the laboratory. Clinical training courses cover diagnosing and treating eye disorders.
Postgraduate clinical residency programs are available for optometrists who wish to specialize in a particular area of optometry. Specializations include areas such as pediatrics, geriatrics, family practice, vision therapy, ocular surgery and low-vision rehabilitation.
Licensure requirements include earning a Doctor of Optometry degree from an accredited school of optometry and passing a national board examination and a state, regional or national clinical examination. Optometrists must renew their licenses every one to three years. Continuing education credits are required for maintaining licensure.
Coursework and Degree Programs
Ophthalmologists typically complete four years of undergraduate studies, four years of medical school, at least one year of clinical training, at least three years in a hospital residency program and one or more years in a subspecialty fellowship. Coursework includes topics such as anatomy, pathology, physiology, pharmacology, epidemiology, refraction and optics. Residency specialty areas include oculoplastics, medical and surgical retina, glaucoma and comprehensive, pediatric and neuro-ophthalmology.
All U.S. physicians and surgeons, including ophthalmologists, must pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). The exam consists of three steps that cover topics such as anatomy, scientific principles, therapeutics, clinical knowledge, health maintenance, clinical skills, surgery and pharmacology. In order to take the first two steps of the exam, students must either currently be enrolled in an accredited medical school or have graduated from an accredited medical school. In order to take step three of the exam, students must have already graduated from an accredited school of medicine.
Opticians, orthoptists and ocularists are sometimes thought of as eye doctors, although they are not actual medical doctors. However, opticians, orthoptists and ocularists do work very closely with optometrists and ophthalmologists.
Manufacturing opticians make eyeglasses and contact lenses. Dispensing opticians help patients pick out eyewear and make sure the eyewear fits properly. They may also repair broken frames and show patients how to properly care for their eyewear. Orthoptists evaluate, diagnose and treat eye disorders such as binocular vision and impaired eye movement. Ocularists fit and make artificial eyes, such as a glass eye.
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