There are too few ophthalmologists in both developing and developed countries, although the projections are better for developed countries, still the number isn’t increasing as fast as the population of patients aged 60 years or older would require who will be seeking ophthalmology care. From an article published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology and conducted by the International Health and Development in Geneva, the problem is that the demographic changes are not well matched by professional development.
According to the survey sent to 213 specialist ophthalmic societies located in 193 countries, there are a total of 204,909 ophthalmologists worldwide. The increased need is partly a reflection of the aging population and increased incidence in diabetes.
50% of all ophthalmologists around the world were located in China, U.S, Russia, Japan, Brazil, and India. 48 (66%) of the countries reported an increase, 5 (6.8%) reported a decrease, and 20 (27%) reported a constancy. The majority or 131 of the surveyed countries had a combined total of less than 5% of the global total of ophthalmologists. There were less than 1 ophthalmologist per million population in 23 countries, and from 1 to 4 ophthalmologists per million population in 30 countries. The average number varied according to the level of economic development, and ranged from an average of 9 per million in low-income countries to an average of 79 per million in high-income countries.
The lowest average number was in Sub-Saharan Africa (average of 2.7 per million) and the highest were in the former socialist economies (average of 83.8 per million). Only 18 countries had more than 100 ophthalmologists per million of the population.