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What is an Ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who has undertaken additional specialist training in the diagnosis and management of disorders of the eye and visual system.

Ophthalmology training equips eye specialists to provide the full spectrum of eye care, including the prescription of glasses and contact lenses, medical treatment and complex microsurgery. This additional training makes them a medical specialist just like a cardiologist, anaesthetist, gastroenterologist or gynaecologist.

An ophthalmologist in Australia and New Zealand is required to have undertaken a minimum of 12 years of training, comprising:

  • 6-7 years at medical school, graduating with a degree in medicine
  • 2 years (minimum) as a newly qualified doctor undertaking basic medical training
  • 5 years of ophthalmic specialist training and successful completion of examinations set by The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO). This includes up to 12,000 hours of training including surgery