Ophthalmologists are medically trained doctors with specialist skills in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases of the eye and visual system. They treat patients of all ages, from babies to the elderly. Most aim to become consultants, where the role combines the technical skills of a micro surgeon with the therapeutic and diagnostic skills of a doctor.
There are a small number of medical ophthalmologists or ophthalmic physicians, who are trained in general medicine as well as ophthalmology and take a holistic view, treating the whole patient and not just focusing on the eye. They may provide laser treatment but do not carry out surgery.
Ophthalmologists work predominantly with hospital outpatients. Common conditions are cataracts, glaucoma, diabetes and degenerative conditions resulting from ageing. They work in hospital eye casualty departments, outpatient clinics, the operating theatre and laser eye surgery clinics