Eye surgeons perform delicate surgeries and other treatments of conditions such as glaucoma, retinal disease and other disorders that threaten eyesight. Eye surgeons are highly specialized ophthalmologists. In the United States, eye surgeons make on a mean basis $297,476. The figure stands at C$250,000 ($193,830 USD) for eye surgeons in Canada and £68,929 ($96,601 USD) for those in the United Kingdom. Eye surgeons fetch on average AU$202,261 ($155,304 USD) in Australia. The eye surgeon salary in New Zealand is around NZD$343,367 ($248,641 USD).
How Much Does a Eye Surgeon Make?
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Eye Surgeon Salary Determinant Factors
Private practitioners and self-employed eye surgeons constitute a major part of the profession in certain countries. The Canadian Medical Association reports that 78 percent of ophthalmologists in Canada work in private offices and clinics. Those in the United Kingdom and New Zealand practice under the auspices of government agencies, who establish pay scales for physicians and surgeons.
Other salary factors include experience and location or region of practice.
1. How Much Does a Eye Surgeon Make by Country?
Eye Surgeon Salary in US
According to PayScale, eye surgeons in the United States have a mean salary of $297,476. Pay ranges from $82,434 to $455,087.
A 2017 Medscape survey places the mean pay for ophthalmologists at $345,000, ranking 11 out of 27 medical specialities.
Eye Surgeon Salary in Canada
In Canada, the mean pay for eye surgeons stands at C$250,000. As reported by PayScale, earnings start at C$90,677 and climb to C$509,321.
Eye Surgeon Salary in UK
PayScale states that eye surgeons in the United Kingdom garner on a mean basis £68,929. Salaries and earnings span from £38,000 to £193,916.
Eye Surgeon Salary in Australia
Eye surgeons earn on average AU$202,261 in Australia, reports PayScale. Reported pay for these specialists start at AU$60,820 and climbs to a high as AU$443,847.
A December 2016 article in the Sydney Morning Herald states that male ophthalmologists ranked second among occupations for male workers in Australia, at AU$552,947. Female ophthamologists fetched on a mean basis AU$217,242, good for tenth among female members of the workforce in Australia.
Eye Surgeon Salary in New Zealand
In New Zealand, the mean salary for eye surgeons is NZD$343,367. The pay range goes from NZD$228,292 to NZD$457,283.
2. How Much Does a Eye Surgeon Make According to Experience?
Generally, pay rises with experience. In the United Kingdom, new consultants in the National Health Service see salaries of £76,761. The earnings climb to £103,490 for those whose experience eclipses ten years.
PayScale reports under the occupation title of “Ophthalmologists” an entry-level mean of $185,000. From there, salaries increase steadily with years of practice in the speciality, reaching $222,000 at the five to ten-year stage, $246,000 for those with ten to 20 years of experience and $270,000 for those beyond 20 years.
According to SalaryExpert, entry-level mean pay for eye surgeons in New Zealand, sits at NZD$228,292. At the senior-level, or with at least eight years of experience, eye surgeons make on average NZD$457,283.
3. How Much Does a Eye Surgeon Make According to Work Environment?
Region of practice can differentiate the pay of eye surgeons. According to Medscape’s 2017 survey, ophthalmologists in the northeastern United States earned the highest average pay by region at $452,000. At the bottom lies those in the southwestern United States, at $296,000. The mean stands at $377,000 for ophthalmologist in the Northwest and $343,000 in the South Central region.
Eye surgeons as a whole fetch more as self-employed professionals than in employment with a provider or other company. Medscape reports that self-employed eye surgeons in the United States make on a mean basis $401,000, while their employed counterparts are paid on average at $280,000.
In the United Kingdom, ophthalmologists working under the National Health Service receive pay according to a standard pay scheme applicable to all specialty doctors and consultants. Specifically, those who qualify as “specialty doctors” earn between £37,923 and £70,718. As consultants, salaries run from £76,761 and £103,490. Where an eye surgeon falls in the scale turns on experience and location of practice.
Surgeons employed with one of New Zealand’s district boards of health collect between NZD$151,000 and NZD$212,000 as “qualified surgeons.” According to the New Zealand Government, those in private practice may see up to NZD$600,000 in annual pay.
As with most surgeons, those in ophthalmology are full-time. The Canadian Medical Association reports that ophthalmologists average work weeks of 50.2 hours, with on-call time reaching 21 hours per month.
While eye surgeons may evenings and weekends, such irregular hours are less prevalent than in other surgical specialties. Eye surgeons typically schedule procedures as a result of consultations rather than as emergencies. As a result, eye surgeries can occur during traditional weekday and daytime periods.
Bonuses and Benefits
Eye surgeons in group private practices may get bonuses or engage in private practice. PayScale reports a mean bonus of $20,000 for eye surgeons in the United States. Ophthalmologists in the United States cited to PayScale mean profit-sharing of $10,000 and bonuses that range from $1,939 to as much as $68,510. SalaryExpert says New Zealand’s eye surgeons can expect on a mean basis bonuses of NZD$22,182.
Approximately 94 percent of eye surgeons in the United States report to PayScale having medical benefits. The coverage rate for dental benefits is 69 percent, while nearly 63 percent of eye surgeons have vision benefits.
Overall, eye surgeons should find ample demand for their services and opportunities to find work. The high incidents of diabetes may translate to a need for eye surgeons to treat eye conditions caused by the disease.
Other causes for strong hiring prospects include the current low numbers of eye surgeons in practice and looming deficits in the supply of them. According to a December 2016 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Bureau of Health Workforce, the United States could have 6,015 fewer full-time ophthalmologists than needed by 2025.
In 2015, Canada had 1,221 ophthalmologists, or 3.4 for every Canadian. Shortages of surgeons overall in New Zealand should lead to “Good” hiring prospects for eye surgeons and other surgery practitioners in the country. As a contributor to the shortage, one out of three surgeons and other specialist physicians in New Zealand are set to retire around 2027 or 2028.
In the United Kingdom, aspiring eye surgeons face considerable competition to enter tracks leading to this specialty. As of 2016, nine applicants vied for every one available slot in the “ST3”, or third-year ophthalmology specialty training program. The National Health Service reports that England had 1,192 consultants in ophthalmology in 2016.
In some countries, eye surgeons rank among the highest-paid specialists in health care. This arises at least in part from the high numbers in private practices and the delicate nature of the surgery. Due to growing retirements of eye surgeons and demand for eye surgeries and treatments, existing and aspiring eye surgeons should see good opportunities to find work or open practices.