Work satisfaction, burnout and gender-based inequalities among ophthalmologists in India: A survey

Work. 2017;56(2):221-228. doi: 10.3233/WOR-172488.


Background: Ophthalmology is a rapidly evolving branch of medicine and advancing technology has raised the bar of patient expectations and outcomes. However, studies that assess physician stress and satisfaction especially in developing countries are limited in literature.

Objective: This index study aims at looking at the levels of job satisfaction, burnout and perception of gender disparity among ophthalmologists in India.

Methods: An Internet-based survey was sent out to ophthalmologists. 297 respondents replied with responses, which were anonymized and analyzed.

Results: Of the 297 respondents, 101 were female and 196 were male ophthalmologists. The mean duration of practice of the respondents was 14.66 years. 54.21% (161/297) responded affirmatively when asked if they were satisfied with their careers. 19% (56/297) were not satisfied. 26.94% (80/297) replied that although they were satisfied, they wished they had more time for family. A quarter (25.2%; 63 out of 250) of the respondents felt burnt-out at that stage of their careers. 68.35% (203/297) of the respondents felt that being a woman ophthalmologist in India was more challenging than being a male ophthalmologist. This perception was significantly more amongst women respondents (p < 0.0002). Greater family responsibility, long working hours, and having to work harder were the challenges faced by female ophthalmologists. There was a significant difference in perception between male and female ophthalmologists regarding the presence of disparity in earnings given equal qualifications and experience with more women responding in the affirmative.

Conclusions: Indian ophthalmologists have personally and professionally satisfying careers with low rates of burnout. While good family support and an understanding partner help ophthalmologists achieve good work-life balance, women ophthalmologists perceive a gender-based disparity when it comes to proving their worth and getting suitably remunerated.

Keywords: Ophthalmology; gender disparity; job satisfaction; physician burnout; women in medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ophthalmologists / psychology*
  • Sexism / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires