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A forecast of ophthalmology practice trends in Saudi Arabia: A survey of junior residents

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Author(s): Alwadani Fahad | Alrushood Aziz | Altokhy Hisham | Alasbali Tariq

Journal: Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology
ISSN 0974-9233

Volume: 17;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 343;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Career Choice | Ophthalmology | Residency | Saudi Arabia | Specialties

ABSTRACT
Purpose: The aim of this study is to identify the trends in practice pattern among current ophthalmology residents in Saudi Arabia. Materials and Methods: Ophthalmology residents in Saudi Arabia responded anonymously to a written survey between November 2007 and February 2008. The survey contained questions on demographic information, medical education, residency training, career goals and factors influencing their career choice. The data were categorized by gender. The influence of gender on outcome was assessed in a univariate fashion using the Chi-square or Fisher exact test when appropriate. A P-value of 0.05 or less was considered statistically significant for all analyses. Results: A total of 68 out of 85 residents (80%) responded to the survey. Over one-half of the residents preferred to pursue a fellowship within Saudi Arabia (53%), while others (25%) planned to train in North America. The majority of respondents wished to practice in an urban setting (63%). Anterior segment was the most desired subspecialty, while general ophthalmology and glaucoma were not a popular choice. Most residents were interested in refractive surgery (77%) and research (75%). The main factor influencing the decision to pursue ophthalmology was the ability to combine medicine and surgery (97%), while a positive elective experience was also an important factor, particularly for female respondents (91% vs. 57%; P < 0.001). Conclusion: Concerted efforts are required to encourage adoption to ophthalmic practice in public institutions rather than in private practice. In addition training in underrepresented subspecilaties should be encouraged to ensure adequate ophthalmic care for all citizens of Saudi Arabia.
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