A person who wants to become a neuro-ophthalmologist can pursue certification as either a neurologist or ophthalmologist before seeking a fellowship in neuro-ophthalmology to receive appropriate training. Depending on the career path a doctor pursues, it can take 12 years or more to become fully qualified. People in this field work at hospitals and consulting clinics, providing care to patients with vision problems caused by underlying neurological conditions. Their expertise offers a unique perspective and a very high quality of care.
The path to become a neuro-ophthalmologist starts in high school, where students should take math and science courses to prepare for college. At a four-year college or university, students can take a degree in pre-medicine, biology, or a related field before applying to a medical school. In medical school, students will receive classroom and clinical training to prepare them for residency. A prospective neuro-ophthalmologist will need a neurology or ophthalmology residency.
Doctors preparing for residency may want to think about what they plan to do in clinical practice. They could consider the reputation of different residency programs and may want to look at the career paths followed by noted practitioners in the field. A person planning to become a neuro-ophthalmologist should interview with a variety of residency programs and rank them carefully to achieve the best match.
After completing residency, the doctor will apply into fellowships to become a neuro-ophthalmologist. A neurologist will pursue an ophthalmology residency, and an ophthalmologist will go into a neurology residency. People preparing to apply for a fellowship should consider board certification in their specialties, as this will impress review boards. It also helps to have research and publication credits. Getting into fellowship programs is very competitive and even highly qualified applicants may fail to place.
Once someone has become a neuro-ophthalmologist, it is a good idea to join a professional organization. These groups provide networking opportunities for doctors, along with access to trade publications, continuing education, conferences, and other resources they may find useful. Membership can also be a strong plus for job applicants, as it shows a very high level of commitment to the field and an interest in a long-term career. People may need to pass an examination or provide other credentials to join. A qualified doctor may want to research the requirements and characteristics of several professional organizations to see which one would be the best fit for his needs.