• Medscape
    Comprehensive Ophthalmology

    Ophthalmologists are highly satisfied with their chosen career, with 93% indicating they would re-choose their own specialty, according to a report from Medscape.

    The high rate ranks ophthalmologists near the top of the list of physicians who would pick the same specialty again. The number 1 spot went to dermatologists at 96%. Internists (64%) and family physicians (67%) were at the bottom.

    Other highlights include:

    • When asked whether they would choose medicine again as a career, 79% of ophthalmologists indicated yes, ranking them in the upper half of physicians who answered affirmatively to this question.
    • When asked whether they were compensated fairly for their work, more than half of ophthalmologists (53%) answered "yes."
    • Ophthalmologists made an average of $345,000 per year, ranking above the median of all physician specialty salaries. The highest-paid physicians this year were orthopedists, at $489,000, while pediatricians ($202,000) were the lowest paid.
    • Ophthalmologists had the fourth largest (12%) pay increase from 2015. Plastic surgeons topped this list with 24%, while pediatricians were at the bottom with a 1% drop in pay.
    • As in all specialties, female ophthalmologists made less than their male counterparts. This year's data showed a 37% pay gap between the average annual earnings of male and female specialists ($345,000 vs $251,000)—a 4% larger gap than last year ($324,000 vs $242,00).
    • Pay varied widely by geographic location. Ophthalmologists were paid the least in the Southwest ($296,000) and highest in the Northeast ($452,000).

    These results echo the findings from a 2015 practice environment survey conducted by the Academy. That survey found 86% of practicing U.S. ophthalmologist members are “extremely satisfied” or “very satisfied” with choosing ophthalmology as a career choice. This is an increase compared to previous years (76% in 2013, 75% in 2011, 74% in 2009, 69% in 2007, 67% in 2005).

    The Academy’s survey also found the trend of increasing satisfaction when looking at solo vs. group practices, as well as comprehensives vs. subspecialists. Cataract subspecialists were most satisfied, with 95% of the respondents choosing either extremely or very satisfied with ophthalmology as their career choice.