Background: To investigate the factors influencing choice of ophthalmology as a career in medicine.
Methods: Data were extracted from the 2004 National Physician Survey, a questionnaire distributed to all physicians across Canada. Data were categorized by medical discipline, and chi2 comparative analyses were done.
Results: Intellectual stimulation emerged as the most frequently cited factor influencing career choice for ophthalmologists and nonophthalmologists alike (81% and 79%, respectively). Compared with other physicians, ophthalmologists were significantly more likely to cite flexibility (58% vs. 42%, respectively), mentorship (42% vs. 31%, respectively), and earning potential (38% vs. 26%, respectively) as important factors (p<0.001).
Interpretation: Intellectual stimulation is the principal reason physicians pursue a career in ophthalmology. Ophthalmologists cite flexibility, mentorship, and earning potential as important factors more frequently than do physicians of other disciplines.