Ophthalmology is the diagnosis and treatment of disorders and disease of the eye and surrounding structures. The eye is the “window to the body,” as it can reveal the status of many of the body’s systems – vascular, neurologic, metabolic, and the like. Ophthalmology was the first recognized medical sub-specialty, holding the first board examination in 1916.
Ophthalmologists are physicians specializing in the comprehensive medical and surgical care of the eyes and vision. Ophthalmologists are the only practitioners medically trained to diagnose and treat all eye and visual problems, including vision services (glasses and contacts). They provide treatment and prevention of medical disorders of the eye, including surgery.
In the United States, in order to become an ophthalmologist, one must have completed four years of college, four years of medical school, and four years of additional specialized training, known as an internship and residency. Afterwards, they have the option of pursuing a one- or two-year fellowship in a variety of sub-specialties.
These include oculoplastics, cornea and external disease, glaucoma, ocular oncology and pathology, retina, uveitis (eye inflammation), pediatrics and strabismus (crossed-eyes), and neuro-ophthalmology.