Purchase this article with an account.
Camila Albo, George Sanchez, Logan Wolfel, Rushi N Mankad, Brandon Sellers, Robert F. Melendez; Is there a shortage of ophthalmologists in the southwestern United States?. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2021;62(8):1712.
Download citation file:
© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
With an increase in systemic disease leading to ocular manifestations and an expansion of the elderly population, healthcare is experiencing exponential demand and is projected to outgrow the supply of ophthalmologists. We performed a cross-sectional study to determine the prevalence of ophthalmologists and types of ophthalmology subspecialists in the three largest cities of each southwestern (SW) state (Arizona (AZ), New Mexico (NM), Oklahoma (OK) and Texas (TX)) in the United States (US).
We used the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s “Find an Ophthalmologist” online listing, during December 2020, to determine the number and location of ophthalmologists in the SW US. We collected data on each ophthalmologist, including sex, primary subspecialty, practice type, year of board certification, and academic affiliation. We assigned two age groups based on board certification year (Table 1). We compared our data to previous literature demonstrating a mean US national density of 5.68 ophthalmologists per 100,000 persons in 2017. We identified the three largest cities in each state by population.
There were 550 total ophthalmologists in the three largest cities of each SW state. The majority were male (78.5%) and board certified prior to or during 1997 (56.2%). There were 5.48 ophthalmologists per 100,000 persons, i.e., 18,238 persons per one ophthalmologist (P/O), in the SW region. Texas (21,036 P/O) and Oklahoma (13,240 P/O) were the most and least saturated states, respectively (Figure 1). Tucson had the most ophthalmologists per 100,000 persons (10.11); Rio Rancho (0.99) and Houston (3.59) had the least. Retina (N=128) and cornea/external disease (N=45) were the most reported primary subspecialties; oculoplastics (N=33) and neuro-ophthalmology (N=10) were the least reported.
Our results suggest that there are less ophthalmologists per person in the SW region compared to the 2017 mean national density. This data provides important information to younger ophthalmologists seeking job opportunities, the ophthalmic community for resource allocation, and the general public searching for ophthalmologists in the SW US.
This is a 2021 ARVO Annual Meeting abstract.
Table 1: Demographics and Primary Subspecialty of Ophthalmologists in the Southwestern United States
Figure 1: Density of Ophthalmologists in the Southwestern United States Based on Number of Ophthalmologists per 100,000 Persons
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only