Ophthalmologists: Your Primary Eye Surgeons

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (MD) who specializes in the medical and surgical care of your eyes and visual system.

After medical school, ophthalmologists complete residency training and are required to obtain board certification from the American Board of Ophthalmology. In addition, many ophthalmologists choose to do a 1 or 2 year fellowship.

Overall, it takes about 12 – 14 years of education after high school to become an ophthalmologist.

What Is An Ophthalmologist?

Some ophthalmologists focus on one or more sub-specialties of the eye including:

  • Cornea.
  • Glaucoma.
  • Retina.
  • Pediatrics.
  • Neurology.
  • Uveitis.
  • Plastic surgery.
  • Cancer.

Lastly, ophthalmologists are trained on all aspects of the human body and visual system.

It’s easiest to think of them as your primary eye surgeons! 

For example, if you were having LASIK surgery, cataract surgery or a retinal detachment repair performed, you would see an ophthalmologist.

*This description fits true for ophthalmologists in the United States and may vary from country to country. 

**Looking for information on primary eye doctors (optometrists)? Read this post. 

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Omar Punjabi, MD is a retina specialist and vitreo-retinal surgeon at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose and Throat Associates (CEENTA) in Charlotte, North Carolina.

He completed his fellowship training in retinal diseases and vitreo-retinal surgery at the prestigious Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Punjabi has published over 25 peer-reviewed articles and presented numerous scientific abstracts and text-book chapters. During fellowship he received the Best Fellow Teacher of the Year award, and was the recipient of the Heed Fellowship from the Heed Ophthalmic Foundation. He has won several academic awards and scholarships during his residency training at Northwestern University and during medical school. Prior to his residency training, he spent a year as a research fellow at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, FL and worked on the development of the spectral domain OCT. He has received several research awards including the Beem-Fisher Award in 2010, the Research Award from Northwestern University in 2010 and the National Eye Institute travel grant in 2006.

Dr. Punjabi is an active member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Retina Specialists, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and the Society of Heed Fellows.

His areas of interest include medical and surgical diseases of the retina and vitreous, including retinal detachment, age-related macular degeneration, retinal vascular diseases, diabetic retinopathy and ocular trauma.