How much money do ophthalmologists make?

Updated February 12, 2018

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (MD) who specialises in eye and vision care. This doctor examines eyes, diagnoses disorders and diseases, and treats cataracts, cornea and retinal disorders, glaucoma, and more. He also prescribes corrective lenses and performs laser surgery and other eye surgery. An ophthalmologist differs from an optometrist (OD), who has a doctorate degree but is not qualified to perform eye surgery; and an optician, who fits and adjusts eyeglasses, and fits contact lenses in some states. Ophthalmologists can make very large amounts of money.

Starting Salary

According to the PayScale salary survey website, ophthalmologists usually begin at around £65,000 per year as of 2009, with their salary increasing to around £97,500 over the next few years.

General Range

The Allied Physicians website shows ophthalmologists making £89,700 to £332,150. The exception is retina specialists, who make £182,000 to £465,400.

Median Salary

The Salary Wizard survey website shows the middle 50 per cent of ophthalmologists in 2009 earning £142,350 to £204,750, with the median salary £165,100.

Job Listings

A look at the Salary List website, which collects job listing data, shows ophthalmologists hired to work as partners or employees with the top salary offered at £260,000, and most salaries between £78,000 and £130,000.


Ophthalmologists who focus on surgery make more money than more general practitioners. This includes eye doctors those who perform laser in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) surgery, and those specialising in paediatric ophthalmology, glaucoma and oculoplastics.

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About the Author

Shelley Moore is a journalist and award-winning short-story writer. She specializes in writing about personal development, health, careers and personal finance. Moore has been published in "Family Circle" magazine and the "Milwaukee Sentinel" newspaper, along with numerous other national and regional magazines, daily and weekly newspapers and corporate publications. She has a Bachelor of Science in psychology.