How to Become an Ophthalmologist in India?

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How to Become an Ophthalmologist in India?

An ophthalmologist or an eye doctor is engaged in vision examination and diagnosis and treatment of eye disorders. This optometry expert is levied with the responsibility of planning and executing end-to-end treatment courses and in-patient and outpatient eye care of affected patients. These doctors gain employment and private and public healthcare centres or work as independent practitioners. 

Who is an Ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist or an eye specialist is a doctor whose deals with the diagnosis, treatment, and therapy of eye disorders. They are medical practitioners with an MS (Master of Surgery) in Ophthalmology or MD (Doctor of Medicine) in Ophthalmology or DO (Doctors of Osteopathy) degree along with an MBBS degree. These doctors are qualified to provide surgical and medical eye care, treat vision impairments caused by chronic and lifestyle conditions like diabetes, conduct eye examinations, and research ways to improve eye care. 

Credit: Dr. Aditya Sanjay Gupta

Roles and Responsibilities

Just like any other doctor, an ophthalmologist is burdened with many responsibilities because they deal with the vision of people. Given below are some of the imperative tasks of these eye specialists:

  • Vision testing
  • Examine the retina, optic nerves, and eye muscles.
  • Diagnosing disorders and diseases like cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, refractive errors, strabismus, diabetic retinopathy, amblyopia, and glaucoma.
  • Prescribe contact lenses and glasses after assessing the vision.
  • Prescribe medication to cure eye disorders.
  • Perform eye surgery and therapy treatments like chemotherapy and cryotherapy.
  • Identify permanent vision loss and declare someone blind legally.
  • In-patient and outpatient care.
  • Plan treatment courses for patients with affected vision due to mental disorders.

Also, Read: Courses after MBBS You Must Consider

How to Become an Ophthalmologist in India?

Individuals who aspire to become an eye doctor in India must have passed a senior secondary-level examination, completed MBBS from a recognised university/medical college, and specialise in Opthalmology in their postgraduate courses. 

Here is a step-by-step guide for aspirants who want to excel in their career as an eye doctor:

Step 1: Complete your higher and senior secondary education in Science subjects. Students must choose Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics in higher secondary school, recognised by recognised education boards in India. They must secure a minimum of 55% in their Class 12 board examination or an equivalent examination.

Step 2: Students must appear for the Undergraduate-level National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) after passing Class 12 or in the same academic year as their board examination to secure admissions to MBBS courses in any accredited medical college in the country. Candidates must score a minimum of 50% in this national-level entrance examination.

Step 3: Complete your MBBS, which is a 5.5-year undergraduate medical course essential to start a career as an ophthalmologist. This course provides theoretical and practical knowledge about human anatomy, paediatrics, surgery, medicine, pathology, and public health. MBBS students are also required to complete a year-long internship- CRRI (Compulsory Rotatory Residential Internship) to complete the degree.

Step 4: After completing the MBBS degree, a person is a qualified and licensed physician in India. These doctors will have to appear for NEET PG to enrol in an MD or MS in ophthalmology in accredited institutions in India. To qualify for these postgraduate courses, candidates must secure 60% marks in NEET PG.

Step 5: Doctors need to select specialisation in MD or MS courses of ophthalmology. They may also choose a sub-speciality to emphasise a specific region of the eye or a particular condition. Some of the most sought-after sub-speciality domains include Ocular Immunology, Cataract, Neuro-Opthalmology, Oculoplastic, Cornea, and Pediatric Ophthalmology. 

Step 6: After completing the postgraduate medical courses, graduates should start applying to private or public healthcare centres and research organisations. Usually, fresh graduates get job offers from the hospitals from which they complete their internships. In case of non-conversion of internships to full-time jobs, doctors can apply to other hospitals through job portals or walk-in interviews. 

Requisite Skills

An Ophthalmologist must be equipped with technical and soft skills to emit excellence in his/her/their job. Some essential soft skills include

Must Read: NEET Marks vs Rank

Top Courses and Colleges for Ophthalmology 

MBBS is the first degree required to become an eye doctor in India. After getting an MBBS degree, qualified doctors must specialise in ophthalmology and anyone sub-speciality of ophthalmology to become an eye specialist in the nation. To achieve these goals, one must enrol in top medical colleges in India through national-level entrance tests. 

Undergraduate Courses

The table below mentions the course, top colleges, course duration, and entrance examination. 

CourseTop CollegesEntrance TestCourse Tenure
Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)AlIMS Delhi; PMCH Patna; NIMHANS Bangalore; CHCH Vellore, PIGMER ChandigarhNEET UG5.5 years

Postgraduate Courses

Given below is the accepted courses and top colleges for UG ophthalmology courses in India.

Courses Top CollegesEntrance TestsCourse Tenure
MS OphthalmologyAlIMS Delhi, Raipur, Jodhpur, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar; PMCH Patna; NIMHANS Bangalore; AFMC Pune;NEET PG3 years
MD OphthalmologyAIIMS New Delhi; Govt. Medical College, Surat; Grant Medical College, Mumbai; AFMC, Chennai; and Osmania Medical College, HyderabadNEET PG3 years

Also Read: Medical Courses Without NEET

Ophthalmologist Career Scope and Salary

An eye doctor lands jobs in private hospitals, eye clinics, and nursing homes; government hospitals; defence sector; trauma centres; and medical research institutions. The monthly average salary of an ophthalmologist in India is INR 96,220. Take away salary of these medical practitioners ranges between INR 72,177 to INR 75,038 per month. The annual average salary of eye doctors is INR 10 lakh. The salary is dependent on the organisation, experience and skills. 


Q1. How long does it take to become an ophthalmologist in India?

Ans. It takes 8.5 years to become an eye doctor in India. Aspirants have to complete an MBBS of 5.5 years and an MD or MS of 3 years from a recognised medical college. 

Q2. How many years for MS ophthalmology been in India?

Ans. It takes 3 years for MBBS degree holders to complete MS in ophthalmology in India. 

Q3. Is NEET necessary for ophthalmology?

Ans. Yes. Students who have secured at least 55% in the Class 12 board or an equivalent examination should appear for NEET UG to get admission to MBBS courses. After completion of the MBBS degree, candidates need to qualify for NEET PG to enrol in MD ophthalmology and MS ophthalmology. 

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