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Medscape Ophthalmologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022

Sylvie M. Baggett; Keith L. Martin | February 18, 2022 | Contributor Information

The lingering effects of a global pandemic continue to take a toll on the nation's physicians, and ophthalmologists are no exception.

In this year's report, Medscape explores physicians' happiness with their personal lives and their professional work, how their marriages and personal relationships are faring, as well as how they are maintaining their physical and mental health. More than 13,000 physicians across 29 specialties responded to the survey.

(Note: Some totals in this presentation do not equal 100% due to rounding.)

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Medscape Ophthalmologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022

Sylvie M. Baggett; Keith L. Martin | February 18, 2022 | Contributor Information

Eighty-eight percent of ophthalmologists said they were "very" or "somewhat" happy outside of work prior to the global pandemic, a somewhat higher percentage than among physicians overall (81%).

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Medscape Ophthalmologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022

Sylvie M. Baggett; Keith L. Martin | February 18, 2022 | Contributor Information

The stress and strain of the pandemic continues to affect physicians of various specialties. The percentage of ophthalmologists who say they are currently "very" or "somewhat" happy outside of work is slightly higher than for physicians overall (59%).

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Medscape Ophthalmologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022

Sylvie M. Baggett; Keith L. Martin | February 18, 2022 | Contributor Information

Ophthalmologists were in the middle range of burned-out physicians in our survey. In last year's report, 42% of physicians reported that they are burned out; that's risen to 47% this year.

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Medscape Ophthalmologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022

Sylvie M. Baggett; Keith L. Martin | February 18, 2022 | Contributor Information

Female ophthalmologists reported being burned out at a greater rate than their male colleagues.

"There's no question that women have reported far more role strain during the pandemic than men," says Carol A. Bernstein, MD, psychiatrist at Montefiore Health System and professor and vice chair for faculty development and wellbeing at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "Often women assumed more of the childcare and homeschooling responsibilities in their households. As a result, we know that more women dropped out of the workforce. Also, past studies indicate that women are more likely to report feelings of burnout than men."

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Medscape Ophthalmologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022

Sylvie M. Baggett; Keith L. Martin | February 18, 2022 | Contributor Information

The volume of bureaucratic tasks is the main contributor to ophthalmologist burnout, similar to that for physicians overall (60%). Complying with regulations and having too little pay were also selected as a major factors in this year's report. (Participants could choose more than one response.)

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Medscape Ophthalmologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022

Sylvie M. Baggett; Keith L. Martin | February 18, 2022 | Contributor Information

Twenty-eight percent of ophthalmologists feel that their personality type contributes to their burnout, a somewhat smaller percentage than among physicians overall (34%).

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Medscape Ophthalmologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022

Sylvie M. Baggett; Keith L. Martin | February 18, 2022 | Contributor Information

A bit more than half of ophthalmologists reported that they were more burned out now than during the initial months of the pandemic, similar to physicians overall (55%). Close to 4 in 10 said their burnout was the same.

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Medscape Ophthalmologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022

Sylvie M. Baggett; Keith L. Martin | February 18, 2022 | Contributor Information

Fifty-eight percent ophthalmologists say burnout affects their relationships, a smaller percentage than among physicians overall (68%).

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Medscape Ophthalmologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022

Sylvie M. Baggett; Keith L. Martin | February 18, 2022 | Contributor Information

Among their top strategies to quell burnout, ophthalmologists reduced their hours on the job, changed workflow or staffing to ease their workload, and took advantage of meditation or other stress-reduction methods. Top strategies among physicians overall included reduced hours and stress-reduction methods. (Participants could choose more than one response.)

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Medscape Ophthalmologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022

Sylvie M. Baggett; Keith L. Martin | February 18, 2022 | Contributor Information

The vast majority of ophthalmologists are currently in a committed relationship, with 89% either married or living with a partner. A somewhat lower percentage (83%) of physicians overall report being in such a relationship.

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Medscape Ophthalmologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022

Sylvie M. Baggett; Keith L. Martin | February 18, 2022 | Contributor Information

Close to 9 in 10 ophthalmologists say they are in a "very good" or "good" marriage. This is the same as in last year's report.

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Medscape Ophthalmologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022

Sylvie M. Baggett; Keith L. Martin | February 18, 2022 | Contributor Information

Most physicians, no matter the specialty, appear to be in happy marriages.

Ophthalmologists are toward the top of all specialties when it comes to marital happiness. Otolaryngologists and allergists topped the list (both 91%), followed closely by dermatologists, rheumatologists, and nephrologists (all 90%).

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Medscape Ophthalmologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022

Sylvie M. Baggett; Keith L. Martin | February 18, 2022 | Contributor Information

About half of ophthalmologists are married to or partners with someone who does not work in medicine. This is similar to the proportion among all physicians (56%).

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Medscape Ophthalmologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022

Sylvie M. Baggett; Keith L. Martin | February 18, 2022 | Contributor Information

Among ophthalmologists balancing parenthood and a medical career, female physicians noted feeling conflicted at more than twice the rate of their male peers (44% vs 17% were "very conflicted" or "conflicted").

This general attitude is reflected in almost all occupations, according to a Pew Research survey, which found that larger shares of mothers than fathers struggled with childcare responsibilities during the pandemic.

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Medscape Ophthalmologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022

Sylvie M. Baggett; Keith L. Martin | February 18, 2022 | Contributor Information

A bit more than half of ophthalmologists said they are willing to take a cut in pay for better work-life balance or more free time. This is about the same as among physicians overall (55%).

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Medscape Ophthalmologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022

Sylvie M. Baggett; Keith L. Martin | February 18, 2022 | Contributor Information

Among all physicians who said they were depressed, about a quarter (24%) said they were clinically depressed. Only one tenth of ophthalmologists reported the same.

"Burnout is a syndrome caused by occupational stress, whereas depression is an illness caused by many different biological, psychological, and social (including occupational) factors. As such, they can be causally related in both directions — burnout can be a vulnerability factor that leads to depression, and depression can make an individual more likely to suffer burnout," says Peter Yellowlees, MD, an expert in physician health.

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Medscape Ophthalmologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022

Sylvie M. Baggett; Keith L. Martin | February 18, 2022 | Contributor Information

A bit more than half of depressed ophthalmologists said their depression does not have an impact on relationships with patients. Of those who saw an impact, the major behaviors they reported were being easily exasperated with patients and feeling less motivated to take patient notes carefully. (Participants could choose more than one response.)

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Medscape Ophthalmologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022

Sylvie M. Baggett; Keith L. Martin | February 18, 2022 | Contributor Information

Ophthalmologists are choosing to spend their time doing the things they enjoy, exercising, and being with the ones they love as main drivers to maintain their well-being, as are physicians overall. (Participants could choose more than one response.)

Alexis Polles, MD, medical director for the Professionals Resource Network, which assists impaired physicians, says that when doctors' lives get unbalanced, they need to find things that restore energy and joy.

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Medscape Ophthalmologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022

Sylvie M. Baggett; Keith L. Martin | February 18, 2022 | Contributor Information

Perhaps it's not surprising that more physicians were happier with their work-life balance before the pandemic. Among ophthalmologists, that was also the case.

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Medscape Ophthalmologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022

Sylvie M. Baggett; Keith L. Martin | February 18, 2022 | Contributor Information

Toyota, Honda, and Lexus are among the most popular makes of cars among ophthalmologists. Respondents could choose as many makes as applied.

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Medscape Ophthalmologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022

Sylvie M. Baggett; Keith L. Martin | February 18, 2022 | Contributor Information

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Medscape Ophthalmologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022

Sylvie M. Baggett; Keith L. Martin | February 18, 2022 | Contributor Information

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Medscape Ophthalmologist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2022

Sylvie M. Baggett; Keith L. Martin | February 18, 2022 | Contributor Information

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2022 Physician Lifestyle & Happiness Report

More than 10,000 physicians in various specialties told Medscape how they are faring amid the global pandemic.Medscape Features Slideshow, Jan 2022
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