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Young Ophthalmologists
Statistically Speaking

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Using data obtained from the Academy's Bi-Annual Member Survey, we’ve compiled a fantastic look at the viewpoints of young ophthalmologists. Here’s what you and your colleagues had to say about the profession and practice of ophthalmology.

Members-in-Training (MIT) Demographics

  • The average age of an MIT is 32. The average age of a US member is 51.
  • 71% of MITs are male and 29% are female. Compare this to the Academy’s U.S. membership: 84% are male versus 16% female.
  • There is a significant change emerging in the racial and ethnic demographics of ophthalmology:
    • 56% of MITs are white (82% of US members)
    • 29% of MITs are Asian (11% of US members)
    • 7% of MITs are Hispanic (3% of US members)
    • 1% of MITs are African-American (1% of US members)

  • 67% of MITs are married and 33% are single/never married.
  • 38% of MITs have a child/children under the age of 18.
  • The average anticipated income in the first year of practice for MITs has risen significantly since 2005 — as has the amount of debt.
    • Mean anticipated gross income in 2007 — $167,000
    • Mean anticipated gross income in 2005 — $149,000
    • Mean amount of debt in 2007 — $115,000
    • Mean amount of debt in 2005 — $89,000

  • These numbers shift slightly when you look at gender:
    • Mean anticipated gross income for a woman in 2007 — $159,000
    • Mean anticipated gross income for a man in 2007 — $171,000

Members-in-Training and Ophthalmology

  • Nearly 90% of MITs are very satisfied or extremely satisfied with ophthalmology as a career choice.
  • 77% of MITs would be very likely or extremely likely to recommend ophthalmology as a career.
  • 74% of MITs rate their residency training as very good.
  • Currently, 63% of MITs are interested in spending more than half of their time focusing on a subspecialty within ophthalmology. Another 22% plan to spend less than half of their time in a subspecialty, while 15% plan to practice as a general ophthalmologist. This trend, with more MITs focusing on subspecialty work, continues to grow from year to year, with fewer and fewer MITs focusing on general practice.
  • 83% of MITs plan to complete a fellowship. Of these:
    • 30% are in retina/vitreous
    • 21% are in cornea and external disease
    • 15% are in glaucoma
    • 11% are in oculoplastics and orbit
    • 6% are in refractive surgery

  • Very few MITs are interested in practicing part-time. In fact, just 14% indicated a high interest, while 66% said they were either not at all interested or not too interested.
  • Most MITs are interested in either a private ophthalmology group practice (33%) or a private multi-specialty group practice (16%). Just 5% are interested in solo practice.
  • 18% of MITs would like to part of a hospital or university staff.

Members-in-Training and the Academy

  • 86% of MITs join the Academy in their first year of residency.
  • 78% of MITs indicate that they are either very satisfied or extremely satisfied with the Academy.
  • When it comes to meeting the specific needs of MITs, 62% said they were either extremely satisfied or very satisfied with the Academy’s efforts. Another 34% said they were somewhat satisfied.
  • The areas that MITs felt the Academy could to more in terms of training and mentoring include:
    • Educational training/mentoring (27%)
    • Discounts on materials (14%)
    • Practice management concerns (12%)
    • Online activities (11%)
    • Career guidance (9%)
    • Advocacy issue (9%)

  • When asked why they joined the Academy, MITs had many varied reasons, including:
    • Benefits of membership (63%)
    • Education and information (37%)
    • Connect with peers (23%)
    • Free membership for first year residents (13%)
    • To support ophthalmology’s advocacy efforts (11%)
    • Information about/access to the latest trends (10%)

  • MITs are very vocal about the importance of the Academy’s efforts. Those that garnered the most support include:
    • Advocating to the federal government (69%)
    • Increasing the public’s understanding of quality eye care (58%)
    • Developing standards for quality in eye care (48%)
    • Holding the Annual Meeting (42%)
    • Providing leadership in the worldwide ophthalmic community (36%)

  • When it comes to furthering their clinical education, 94% of MITs rely on journals, while 89% depend on seminars and meetings. Another 77% like the use of Web sites and Podcasts, while just 48% go old-school with textbooks.
  • The Web sites that MITs find most useful include:
    • PubMed (35%)
    • Emedicine (14%)
    • The Academy site (AAO.org) (7%)
    • Red Atlas (5%)
    • MD Consult/Medconsult (3%)

  • In terms of the Academy’s Web site, most MITs use it for the following purposes:
    • Register for meetings (65%)
    • Find job opportunities (47%)
    • Update their membership record (45%)
    • Read medical journals (42%)
    • Referrals (32%)
    • Find specific clinical information (25%)

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