Frequently Asked Questions

An Ophthalmologist is both a Physician and Surgeon (MD or DO) who specializes in the treatment of diseases, conditions, and injuries of the eye. An ophthalmologist has the highest level of training of any clinician who specializes in eye care, which allows an Ophthalmologist to perform surgery of the eye in Vermont.

Following a four-year undergraduate degree, an Ophthalmologist completes four years of medical school. The purpose of medical school is to prepare a Physician to understand all aspects of the human body and how different systems interact with each other.

Following medical school, an Ophthalmologist completes a one-year internship and then a three-year Ophthalmology residency, all of which is hospital-based training. The eye is complicated, which is why an Ophthalmologist’s training is intense. Ophthalmology residency programs are very competitive.

Following residency, many Ophthalmologists complete a one or two-year fellowship in a sub-specialty such as retina or cornea.

It is only after all of this training that an Ophthalmologist is deemed prepared to practice Ophthalmology in an independent setting.

It is estimated that at least 17,280 of the total hours that ophthalmologists spend in medical school, internship, and residency are spent in gaining experience and taking care of patients who enter hospitals, tertiary care centers, and academic medical centers. This is based on an estimate of an average of 60 hours per week (including on-call duty, the maximum duty hours for residents is 80 hours per week) multiplied by 48 weeks and by six years. During training, the ACGME requires that ophthalmologists manage a minimum of 3,000 outpatient visits with a broad range of disease presentation, and that they assist at and then personally perform under supervision a specified minimum number of various surgical procedures.


Whether you are undergoing open-heart surgery or having “lumps and bumps” removed from around the eye, remember that every surgery is serious. Every surgery leaves a scar, and every surgery involves risk. To put it bluntly, there is no such thing as a simple surgery.

During medical school and residency training, a future Surgeon learns to have a deep reverence for the body and for the diseases that can harm it. A skilled Eye Physician can make surgery look deceptively easy, but it never is easy. 

All surgery is serious, especially when your eyesight can be at risk.

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