An eye on young specialists' success

December 5, 2016

Graduates from several medical and surgical specialties are having difficulty securing practice opportunities, especially in specialties dependent upon limited resources, according to new research from Queen's ophthalmologist Robert Campbell.

Specifically, recent ophthalmology graduates performed many fewer procedures after total provincial surgical rates plateaued in Ontario. In 2007, cataract surgery volume entered a period of government-mandated zero growth, impacting cataract operations performed by recent graduates. Established doctors secured the majority of surgery opportunities.

"The magnitude of the results we report suggest a pressing need to evaluate similar policies across many resource-intensive specialties in Canada," adds Dr. Campbell.

Dr. Campbell and his research team used population-based data from Ontario from Jan. 1, 1994 to June 30, 2013 to compare health services provided by recent graduates and established ophthalmologists. He discovered that between 1994 and 2006, the total number of cataract operations performed in Ontario grew steadily. However, from 2007 onward, the number of operations performed by recent graduates declined sharply while the number performed by established physician continued to grow.

"In many nations, including Canada, cataract surgery, a highly technology-dependent procedure, is the most common operation performed," says Dr. Campbell. "Consequently, practice opportunities are sensitive to overall constraints on health system resources and serve as an exemplar of issues facing many resource-intensive specialties."

Dr. Campbell says these numbers are worrying in regards to the future of ophthalmology graduates.

"In these challenging times our findings draw attention to another layer of complexity. As become increasingly strained, we not only need to worry about today's patients, but in light of our findings, we obviously need to worry about tomorrow as well," says Dr. Campbell. "While all physicians are affected by health system funding constraints, our unique study of a highly technical and resource-intensive specialty identified a clear link between worsening system constraint and the lack of opportunities for young specialists - the future of our system."

Dr. Campbell says he wants to use these results to help shape policy in regards to effective career counselling, specifically in the field of ophthalmology, and for use by the Ontario Provincial Vision Strategy Task Force, a group charged with creating a new framework for the eye care system. Current recommendations aim to improve surgical opportunities for recent . "We'll need to take care to be sure we have systems that provide for steady renewal of our highly-trained physician workforce. Our study suggests that much progress remains to be made in this direction."

The research was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Explore further: Good outcomes for resident-performed cataract surgery

More information: Effect of cataract surgery volume constraints on recently graduated ophthalmologists: a population-based cohort study, Canadian Medical Association Journal, DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.150674

Related Stories

Good outcomes for resident-performed cataract surgery

June 4, 2013
(HealthDay)—In an underserved patient population, supervised resident-performed cataract surgery is successful and cost-effective, according to a study published online May 30 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

New study finds gender, racial/ethnic disparities in general surgery board certification

April 30, 2012
An analysis of a national cohort of recent medical school graduates may provide insight into why women and graduates of some minority groups are relatively underrepresented among general surgeons, particularly those certified ...

Study shows that people who undergo cataract surgery to correct visual impairment live longer

September 4, 2013
People with cataract-related vision loss who have had cataract surgery to improve their sight are living longer than those with visual impairment who chose not to have the procedure, according to an Australian cohort study ...

A second look at glaucoma surgery

September 18, 2014
New research led by Queen's University professor Robert Campbell (Ophthalmology) has revealed using anti-inflammatory medications after glaucoma laser surgery is not helpful or necessary.

Unnecessary preoperative testing still done on cataract patients

April 15, 2015
Although routine preoperative testing is not indicated for patients undergoing cataract surgery, researchers at UC San Francisco have found that it is still a common occurrence and is driven primarily by provider practice ...

Recommended for you

Simulations signal early success for fractal-based retinal implants

July 27, 2017
Computer simulations of electrical charges sent to retinal implants based on fractal geometry have University of Oregon researchers moving forward with their eyes focused on biological testing.

Scientists regenerate retinal cells in mice

July 26, 2017
Scientists have successfully regenerated cells in the retina of adult mice at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.

Genome editing with CRISPR-Cas9 prevents angiogenesis of the retina

July 24, 2017
A research team from the Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear has successfully prevented mice from developing angiogenesis of the retina—the sensory tissue at the back of the eye—using gene-editing ...

Too little vitamin D may hinder recovery of injured corneas

July 24, 2017
Injury or disease in combination with too little vitamin D can be bad for the window to your eyes.

World's first child hand transplant a 'success'

July 19, 2017
The first child in the world to undergo a double hand transplant is now able to write, feed and dress himself, doctors said Tuesday, declaring the ground-breaking operation a success after 18 months.

Knee surgery—have we been doing it wrong?

July 18, 2017
A team of University at Buffalo medical doctors have published a study that challenges a surgical practice used for decades during arthroscopic knee surgery.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.