There are currently an estimated 372,400 ophthalmologists in the United States. The ophthalmologist job market is expected to grow by 11.4% between 2016 and 2026.

How employable are ophthalmologists?

CareerExplorer rates ophthalmologists with an A- employability rating, meaning this career should provide great employment opportunities for the foreseeable future. Over the next 10 years, it is expected the US will need 43,400 ophthalmologists. That number is based on 42,300 additional ophthalmologists, and the retirement of 1,100 existing ophthalmologists.

Are ophthalmologists in demand?

The foreseeable job outlook for ophthalmologists is very optimistic. Several factors are contributing to growth in the field. Firstly, an aging population is expected to increase demand for treatment of cataracts; glaucoma; and age-related changes to the back of the eye, including macular degeneration. Furthermore, this increased demand for services is not being met by an increase in ophthalmology graduates. In the United States, the number of new ophthalmologists entering the field out of residency has stagnated. Contributing to the probable shortage is an expected high rate of retirement of older ophthalmologists, which account for a significant percentage of current practitioners. Technology is also having an effect on this occupation. On the one hand, advancements are allowing physicians to be more productive and may temper the predicted high demand for eye doctors. On the other hand, however, technology continues to expand the number of patients whose conditions can be treated. Added need for these professionals will occur as nearly all health plans cover medical eye care and many cover preventative eye exams. Overall job prospects, therefore, will remain very strong. The manpower challenges faced by the field of ophthalmology are resulting in a call to practise differently, to convert the ophthalmic practice model to one that promotes efficiency, delegation, and a team-based approach. This would mean fewer solo practitioners, greater reliance on ophthalmic technicians, and increased collaboration with optometrists. Subspecialties experiencing elevated shortages include pediatric ophthalmology and the very complex discipline of neuro-ophthalmology. Ophthalmologists willing to work in rural areas or other locations with limited access to specialized medical care will enhance their employability. Some experienced ophthalmologists advance their careers by specializing in one disease or disorder, such as detachment of the retina. Others become professors or researchers at teaching hospitals or universities, or combine this work with a private practice. Professional enhancement typically includes publishing articles in respected medical journals, such as the Journal of the American Medical Association.

What’s the supply of ophthalmologists?

The ophthalmologist industry is concentrated in New York, California, Pennsylvania

Ophthalmologist job market by state

State Name Employed Ophthalmologists
New York 46,080
California 29,890
Pennsylvania 19,820
Texas 18,820
Florida 18,410
Michigan 16,370
New Jersey 14,520
Massachusetts 14,370
Ohio 13,990
Maryland 10,550
North Carolina 10,360
Illinois 10,270
Georgia 9,530
Indiana 9,530
Virginia 8,000
Washington 7,240
Wisconsin 6,670
Tennessee 6,420
Connecticut 6,060
Arizona 5,720
Alabama 5,390
Oregon 4,870
Missouri 4,440
Louisiana 4,340
Kansas 3,190
Kentucky 2,970
South Carolina 2,900
West Virginia 2,820
Oklahoma 2,800
Arkansas 2,750
Colorado 2,720
Iowa 2,620
Nevada 2,240
Rhode Island 2,220
Maine 2,080
Utah 2,010
District of Columbia 1,880
Nebraska 1,860
Mississippi 1,760
New Mexico 1,720
Delaware 1,670
New Hampshire 1,610
Hawaii 1,280
Puerto Rico 1,050
Vermont 1,020
Montana 930
Idaho 740
North Dakota 530
Alaska 500
Wyoming 490
South Dakota 460
Virgin Islands, U.S. 100
Guam 70