How do I Become an Oculoplastic Surgeon?

Patrick Roland

The eye is one of the most sensitive areas on the human body, and surgery on the eye requires doctors, called oculoplastic surgeons, who specialize in cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery specifically for the eye. If you want to become an oculoplastic surgeon, you will need to dedicate many years to education and residency in order to study all of the delicate parts of the eye. This requires a variety of specialized skills and an understanding of many surgical procedures. The results help people suffering from eye-related trauma recover in a variety of professional settings.

Surgery may be performed to remove excess tissue of the eyelids.
Surgery may be performed to remove excess tissue of the eyelids.

To become an oculoplastic surgeon you need to first have a bachelor's degree, usually in a medically related field such as pre-med or biology, before enrolling in medical school. Every country has different educational and time requirements needed to graduate from medical school, but you will need some combination of classroom learning and hospital residency, with specialization on eye surgery and plastic surgery. Most countries also require you to take a board certification test to show that you have gained the proper amount of knowledge in your field. Other countries, such as the United States, also require two additional years of opthamological fellowship work before you can be considered an oculoplastic surgeon.

Oculoplastic surgeons specialize in cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery specifically for the eye.
Oculoplastic surgeons specialize in cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery specifically for the eye.

When you become an oculoplastic surgeon, you must master a wide swath of ocular surgeries for both cosmetic and medical purposes. Eyelid surgery is a common procedure that can vary from tightening the skin to removing tumors and repairing rips in this delicate flesh. The tear duct often is problematic for patients, and eye surgeons must know how to clear a blocked duct or, in some cases, completely remove the duct. Many times, an eye needs to be fully removed, often because of cancer or external injury, and a surgeon must remove it and perform the plastic surgery necessary to disguise the ocular cavity. Orbital reconstructive surgery, Botox® injections and other duties also can be part of the job.

There are many skills necessary if you want to become an oculoplastic surgeon. Patience and focus are crucial for performing the various surgeries in and around the eye, because it is such a delicate organ. Communication also is key, because you will need to work with a team of nurses and doctors to complete a surgery. To become an oculoplastic surgeon, you also must be willing to research your field continually, because new techniques and studies are completed that can help your patients. Another key is finding the right work environment for your talents, which can mean working in a private practice, doing research or working as a teacher.

An oculoplastic surgeon has an understanding of many surgical procedures.
An oculoplastic surgeon has an understanding of many surgical procedures.

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