Healthcare careers, including ophthalmology jobs, are famously rewarding because they give professionals the ability to make a real difference in someone’s life every day. These positions are also increasing in demand, especially as the expansive baby boomer population ages and the rate of cataract surgeries increases. As a result, the industry requires additional ophthalmic surgeons to handle the growing number of people in need of cataract surgery.
Questions & Answers for People Considering Ophthalmology Jobs
Those contemplating a start in this enriching career field and in search of an ophthalmology job that’s increasingly in demand are likely wondering what it’s like to work as an ophthalmic surgeon. We sat down with John F. Doane, M.D., an ophthalmic surgeon at Discover Vision Centers, which includes surgery centers, clinics, and optical locations in the Midwest, to find out more about his role and the impact his work has on patients.
Q: Why did you choose ophthalmology, and what is the most rewarding part of your profession?
A: In medical school and throughout my rotations, I loved working directly with patients to understand their needs. As my education exposed me to different healthcare disciplines, I was able to identify the specific aspects I liked and disliked about working in those spaces. Although I first considered cardiothoracic or orthopedic surgery as a specialty, I soon discovered that a concentration in ophthalmology would offer me the rewarding qualities I was looking for in a career: a large focus on technological advancement, direct work with patients, truly impactful surgical procedures, and the ability to perform clinical research.
Q: What are some current or upcoming technologies in ophthalmology you’re excited about?
A: Although the Light Adjustable Lens (LAL) has been around for a while, and the basic concept hasn’t changed much since its fruition over 20 years ago, the applications and the procedure’s results have evolved significantly. I’m excited to be an active part of the immense progress that corneal refractive technologies continue to make; I’ve witnessed the success rate (20/20 vision in recipients postsurgery) of this innovation increase over its life span to over 95 percent.
Q: How did you get involved in research?
A: When I was in fellowship, we were very involved in FDA clinical trials, and I was always interested in doing the more investigative work, even as a resident. It's completely different from typical consultations and treatment of patients in a clinic on a day-to-day basis because you’re giving a lot of your time to additional research before and after clinical work. So, the passion and drive have to be in your blood or DNA, if you will. Plus, I’ve been working with the same professionals on the LAL since day one, a duration of over 15 years. Once you get plugged into those connections with other passionate people, investors, and entrepreneurs, you can identify and establish your role in developing those cutting-edge studies.
Q: How do the other roles within the medical practice and ambulatory surgery center help support what you do and vice versa?
A: Like most medical professionals, I’m by no means a solo artist. I, and ultimately the success of the center, depend upon everybody at every step in the patient journey to put on a great show. For example, the front desk always answers the phone. Reception is kind to guests. Surgical technicians are diligent and work well with patients. Every person in every role is essential, and any weak link in the process can negatively impact the whole team.
Q: What makes Discover Vision Centers a great place to work?
A: To put it simply, life is too short to work with people you don’t like. The right people are the secret sauce to great results. Work isn’t really work when the patients love the staff and vice versa. Plus, the Discover Vision team provides a lot of growth opportunities for their employees to really boost their career trajectories, so that’s a great benefit.
Q: What is a memorable patient success story?
A: There are so many, but one that stands out to me was a patient who brought in this enormous flower arrangement about three weeks after his surgery. Essentially, he came in with the biggest arrangement I’ve ever seen and said, “Had I done this 25 years ago, my life would be totally different. You can't imagine how happy I am.” It really showed me that it’s not just a surgery—it’s really a life changer. It gives freedom to those who have been so dependent and burdened with glasses or contacts for so long.
Q: What is important for patients to know when deciding where to have eye surgery?
A: Pay close attention to how patients are treated at every stage in their journey. The best facilities recognize that their patients are human beings with feelings and a family and so forth, so they listen to their stories to understand their needs. It’s a huge differentiator for team members to really connect with those crucial human emotions.
Ready to Start a Fulfilling and Exciting Ophthalmology Job?
As the demand for healthcare services such as cataract surgeries continues to rise, more professionals are considering the various ways they can directly improve the lives of patients. Perhaps Dr. Doane has swayed you to explore your career possibilities in this dynamic field, or you would like to hear about other ophthalmology jobs. If so, we suggest applying to join the VIP team today via our careers page.