As a veterinarian, there are many paths to success, especially as owner and operator of your own general veterinary practice, clinic, or hospital. You also know the challenges of being a general practice veterinarian: the stress of long hours and retaining staff, while having all the right tools and skills ready to address the wide variety of patients and patient issues that present themselves.
One way to enhance your veterinary practice while increasing revenue is to specialize. Are you fascinated by how the eye works? Have you considered ophthalmology? It can be an excellent path to consider, but there are trade-offs in time and cost to achieve the right credentials.
A veterinary ophthalmologist may treat any animal of any species. Veterinary ophthalmologists diagnose and treat various eye diseases, disorders and \trauma, including performing surgeries. If you are intrigued by the functions of the eye and are looking to focus on its functions, ophthalmology may be for you. One day you may treat a cat with cataracts and then a horse with eye trauma. The practice of ophthalmology can be appealing due to both the expertise required to practice, while working with a variety of animals.
Also, the salary of a veterinary ophthalmologist is higher than that of a general practitioner. The national average salary for a veterinary ophthalmologist is approximately $120,841 per year, depending on where you practice. Veterinary ophthalmologists can earn as high as $300,000 a year, but the percentage of veterinarians earning that amount is small.
To become a veterinary ophthalmology specialist in the US, an individual must fulfill all of the following:
The veterinary eye care market is expected to experience a Compound Annual Growth Rate ( CAGR) of 3% from 2022-2027. The growth of veterinary ophthalmology is due to the rising adoption rate, increasing pet insurance, and age-related eye disorders such as diabetes, glaucoma, and cataracts. Whether to start with veterinary ophthalmology or add the specialty is dependent upon these factors:
Unlike a human ophthalmologist, your patients won’t listen when you say, “put your chin here” and “stay still” during an exam. You’ll need specialized equipment to support your practice as a veterinarian ophthalmologist and offer those services in your clinic. Some of those pieces of equipment may include:
If you add ophthalmology to an already existing veterinary practice, you may have to make infrastructure changes to accommodate surgical procedures, including your surgical suite.
Any career decision or change brings opportunity and risk. Pursuing veterinary ophthalmology requires commitment, time, and money. Consider the pros and cons of adding this profitable and rewarding specialty to your practice. The benefits are likely to make the journey worth it if practicing veterinary ophthalmology is important to you.