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Ophthalmologist Salary Guide and Career Outlook

The mean pay for an ophthalmologist in the United States is $221,000 per year. In Canada, that figure stands at C$289,856 ($228,125 USD), while the mean registers at 153,999 ($205,388 USD) in the United Kingdom.

Ophthalmologists in Australia make AU$400,209 ($304,967 USD), while those in New Zealand earn as a group NZD$336,125 ($231,186 USD). The mean is INR 12,34,000 (INR1,234,000 in Western format) ($19,086 USD) for ophthalmologists in India, and R1,755,160 ($123,882 USD) in South Africa.

ophthalmologist salary

How Much Does an Ophthalmologist Make per Year by State?

Ophthalmologist Salary US Canada UK Australia New Zealand India South Africa
Hourly Pay $106.25 C$139 £74 AU$192 NZD$162 INR R844 R847
Annual Pay $221,000 C$289,856 £153,999 AU$400,209 NZD$336,125 INR1,234,000 R1,755,160

Ophthalmologist Salary Influencing Factors

Work setting plays a major role in the compensation of ophthalmologists, with private practitioners and self-employed professionals occupying a significant portion in the profession. Location of practice and greater experience can reap higher pay.

1. Location

According to a Medscape 2017 survey, pay for ophthalmologists in the United States ranges from a low of $296,000 in the southwest region to $452,000 in the Northeastern US. ( Professionals in the Great Lakes area make $376,000, while the figure is $308,000 in the West.

According to SalaryExpert, practitioners earn C$261,159 in Nova Scotia, C$312,754 in Montreal and C$306,470 in Vancouver. For ophthalmologists in Sydney, Australia, the pay amounts to AU$425,812, while the figure is AU$375,855 in Adelaide, Australia.

In New Delhi, earnings average INR18,31,507 in New Delhi and INR16,73,012 in Jaipur, India.

How Much Does an Ophthalmologist Make in the US?

Ophthalmologist Salary US Per Year Per Hour
Minimum $116,350 $55.94
Maximum $354,801 $170.58
Bonus $1,951 to $58,213 $0.94 to $27,99
Overtime No additional pay No additional pay
Total Pay $116,350 to $413,014

How Much Does an Ophthalmologist Make in Canada?

Ophthalmologist Salary Canada Per Year Per Hour
Minimum C$192,544 C$92.57
Maximum C$385,669 C$185.42
Bonus C$18,725 C$9.00
Overtime No additional pay No additional pay
Total Pay C$192,544 to C$385,669

How Much Does an Ophthalmologist Make in the UK?

Ophthalmologist Salary UK Per Year Per Hour
Minimum £101,905 £48.99
Maximum £204,122 £98.14
Bonus £9,910 £98.14
Overtime No additional pay No additional pay
Total Pay £101,905 to £214,032

How Much Does an Ophthalmologist Make in Australia?

Ophthalmologist Salary Australia Per Year Per Hour
Minimum AU$266,295 AU$128.03
Maximum AU$533,406 AU$266.06
Bonus AU$25,854 AU$12.43
Overtime No additional pay No additional pay
Total Pay AU$266,295 to AU$559,260

How Much Does an Ophthalmologist Make in New Zealand?

Ophthalmologist Salary New Zealand Per Year Per Hour
Minimum NZD$223,477 NZD$107.44
Maximum NZD$447,639 NZD$215.21
Bonus NZD$21,714 NZD$10.44
Overtime No additional pay No additional pay
Total Pay NZD$223,477 to NZD$469,353

How Much Does an Ophthalmologist Make in India?

Ophthalmologist Salary India Per Year Per Hour
Minimum INR491,000 INR236.06
Maximum INR3,557,866 INR1,710.51
Bonus INR20,000 INR11.29
Overtime No additional pay No additional pay
Total Pay INR 10,97,909 to INR23,14,609

How Much Does an Ophthalmologist Make in South Africa?

Ophthalmologist Salary South Africa Per Year Per Hour
Minimum R1,176,007 R565.39
Maximum R2,355,616 R1,132.51
Bonus R113,383 R54.51
Overtime No additional pay No additional pay
Total Pay R1,176,007 to R2,468,999

2. Experience

According to PayScale, ophthalmologists at entry-level earn a mean pay of $185,000. With five to ten years of practice, the mean rises to $220,000. The mean jumps to $246,000 for those with ten years of experience and to $270,000 for those with 20 years.

As reported by SalaryExpert, ophthalmologists earn C$192,554 on an entry-level basis and C$385,669 for those with eight years of experience.

In the United Kingdom, the National Health Service treats and pays these professionals as specialty doctors. As such, the range for new specialty doctors runs from £37,176 and £69,325. Consultants receive between £75,249 and £101,451. When considering private practitioners, entry-level pay for those reaching specialist status amounts to £101,905. At eight or more years of experience, ophthalmologists earn on a mean basis £204,122.

According to SalaryExpert, one to three years of experience results in a mean salary of AU$266,295 in Australia. Ophthalmologists achieving eight or more years in practice see on average earnings of AU$533,406. In New Zealand, the respective figures as reported by SalaryExpert are NZD$233,477 and NZD$447,639.

In India, ophthalmologists starting in the specialty earn a median salary of INR1,182,000. The level rises to INR1,650,000 at five years in the field and jumps to INR2,250,000 for those who attain ten years of experience. In the late stages of the career, ophthalmologists see a median of INR1,800,000.

SalaryExpert reports that ophthalmologists in South Africa enjoy entry-level earnings of R1,176,007, while senior-level practitioners make R2,355,616.

3. Industry

Private practice ophthalmologists feature prominently in the profession. The Canadian Medical Association reports that nearly 78 percent of these professionals in Canada are in private practice. Three in ten belong to group practices, while another 43 percent are solo practitioners.

As specialists and private practitioners, opthamologists can garner significant compensation. According to CIHI, opthamologists in Canada ranked highest in gross earnings among physicians, at C$669,000 in 2014-2015. Medscape showed opthamologists in the United States were 11th among medical specialties, at $345,000. showed ophthalmology as the second highest-paid profession among males in Australia, at AU$552,947.

In the United Kingdom, medical establishment trusts run by the National Health Service primarily employ ophthalmologists. Pay reaches higher levels for self-employed practitioners.

Ophthalmologists in private practice in India earn between INR100,000 and INR200,000 per month in total compensation. The country also has significant numbers of practitioners in the public sector, including public hospitals and establishments run by charities.

Schedule & Working Hours

The ophthalmologist occupation is full-time. Ophthalmologists in Canada log work weeks of 50.2 hours on average. According to a Medscape 2017 survey, 85 percent of male ophthalmologists are full-time, and three-fourths of female practitioners fall in the full-time category.

As a general rule, these professionals hold weekday and daytime office hours. Some offices may operate beyond these times to treat patients whose schedules might not permit traditional office hour visits. The possibility of emergencies may require ophthalmologists to be occasionally on-call, but usually less than occupations such as emergency room physicians or trauma doctors.

While schedules can differ by office and location, a typical ophthalmologist week also includes roughly three days in the office and two in the operating room.

Bonuses & Benefits

Ophthalmologists have the opportunity to participate in profit sharing in their private practices. Earnings from profit sharing for ophthalmologists in the United States comes to $12,500 on a mean basis In India, that figure averages INR450,000.

According to PayScale, in the United States, nearly 77 percent of ophthalmologists have medical coverage. Dental benefits are enjoyed by 39 percent, while only 29 percent of ophthalmologists have vision benefits. Medscape’s survey shows that half participate in an employer-matched retirement plan, while one in four have non-employer matched retirement.

Indian practitioners predominately do not obtain employer-provided medical benefits. Three in four have no such perks, according to PayScale. Only 17 percent receive medical and nine percent have vision coverage.

Ophthalmologists in the United Kingdom can fetch bonuses between 20 percent and 50 percent for working outside of the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. work interval.

Career Outlook

Demand for ophthalmologists should prove fairly strong. Diabetes and other contributors to sight impairment require treatment by these professionals.

According to O*NET, employment of “Physicians and Surgeons, All Others” (which includes ophthalmologists) in the United States should grow by 14 percent through 2024. This means 145,000 job openings in the field should occur.

In 2015, Canada had 1,221 ophthalmologists, or 3.4 for every 100,000 residents in the country.

Australia’s “Job Outlook” categorizes ophthalmologists as “Other Medical Practitioners.” By 2020, this broader field could have between 10,001 and 25,000 openings.

In recognition of the shortage of professionals, the New Zealand government has placed ophthalmologists on the “Immediate skill shortage list” in all regions of the country.  Further, the New Zealand Herald reports that the shortage has made hiring by District Health Boards challenging and has resulted in more than 20,000 residents being overdue for check-ups.

The South African government included ophthalmologists among its “List of Occupations in High Demand” in 2015.


Ophthalmologists as a rule stand among the highest paid medical practitioners, due to their positions as specialists and especially as self-employed professionals. Employment prospects appear strong along with pay as many regions face shortages of these professionals and a high demand for their services.0020

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