The medical field can be extremely competitive and it’s not uncommon for a doctor in this line of work to feel dissatisfied with their job or the pay they receive. While there is no perfect career path that will make everyone happy all-the-time, here are some countries where you may find yourself more content than others if you choose to go into eye care as an occupation.
This list features ten countries with the highest average salary for ophthalmologists. According to PayScale data, these places have salaries ranging from $200K-$300K per year (in 2022), which means that even though your starting salary won’t necessarily be high at first, you should still get paid enough to live comfortably on your own in one of these locations.
So, here are Countries With Highest Paid Ophthalmologists:
- Average Annual Income: $320,000
- Healthcare System Type: Socialized medicine
- Hospital Staffing: 2 hospitals (one private)
- Medical School Affiliation: Public Institution
- Residents Per Physician: 18%
- National Health Expenditure % Of GDP: 16%
- Life Expectancy: 77 years old
According to the World Bank Group, Luxembourg has a life expectancy rate of 76/77 years old, making it one of the best places in Europe to retire. In addition, its healthcare spending accounts for about 16 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP).
This number isn’t too bad compared to other European nations like Sweden, who spends 23 percent of their GDP on healthcare. Luxembourg also tends to spend less on social services while putting more focus on education and research. As such, residents enjoy lower taxes than most people in other developed countries.
- Average Annual Income: $299,900
- Healthcare System Type: National public insurance funded by tax payments
- Number of Hospitals: 1 hospital
- How Many Physicians: 669 physicians
- Residents Per Physician: 3%
- National Average Compensation: $230,700 [Source: Payscale]
As far as health care systems go, Norway ranks pretty well across the board. It provides universal coverage through government programs, but patients must pay part of the bill when visiting certain facilities.
These include prescriptions, tests, surgeries, etc., according to Bloomberg Business News. Because of this, Norwegian doctors tend to charge higher fees than many other professionals in the same field.
However, since Norwegians have to foot bills whether they visit a physician or not, their overall costs aren’t as high as other countries’ expenses. Plus, because fewer people need to see specialists than in other areas, a lot of positions fall under general practitioners instead of specialist roles. Finally, due to low population density, only around three percent of residents actually practice privately in offices.
3. United States
- Average Annual Income: $272,400
- Healthcare System Type: Private individual market with subsidies
- Number of Hospitals: 13 hospitals
- How Many Physicians: 746 physicians
- Residents Per Physician: 11%
- National Average Compensation: $254,800 [Source: Payscale]
When talking about the US specifically, you’ll notice that the numbers don’t quite match up between different states. For instance, New York City boasts nearly double the amount of ophthalmologists compared to Washington D.C., yet the latter pays out over twice as much.
Additionally, the state of California offers significantly more compensation for ophthalmologists than any other area in the nation. Why? Since the majority of Americans reside within driving distance of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Memphis, Houston, Minneapolis, Denver, Austin, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Baltimore, Columbus, Louisville, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Nashville, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Richmond, Sacramento, St. Louis, Tulsa, Orlando, Detroit, Cincinnati, Toledo, Albuquerque, Des Moines, Springfield, Norfolk, Hartford, Pittsburgh, Birmingham, Allentown, Huntsville, Erie, Greensboro, Wilmington, Omaha, Providence, Charlotte, Greenville, Grand Rapids, Rochester, and Akron, there’s plenty of opportunity for ophthalmologists willing to relocate.
- Average Annual Income: $252,500
- Healthcare System Type: Medicare & Medicaid managed competition plan
- Number of Hospitals: 4 hospitals
- How Much Money Doctors Make: A bit above the national average
- Residents Per Physician: 25%
- National Average Compensation: $251,700
In terms of income, Australian ophthalmologists make slightly above average wages compared to other professions in the country. Like Norway, however, Australians must pay a portion of the cost when using services provided through the government program Medicare.
That said, Medicare does cover the bulk of surgical procedures, including cataract removal, LASIK surgery, glaucoma treatment, and cornea transplants. Also worth noting is that Australia doesn’t provide full funding for prescription drugs, meaning that these specialists often end up practicing in the private sector.
- Average Annual Income: $247,600
- Healthcare System Type: Single-payer national health service
- Number of Hospitals: 17 hospitals
- How Many Physicians: 843 Physicians
- Residents Per Physician: 15%
- National Average Compensation: $236,000
Like America, Canadian ophthalmologists generally rely on private practices rather than working directly for the federal government. Despite having universal coverage for Canadians, waiting lists exist depending on specific conditions. To combat this issue, Canada recently introduced new reforms aimed at improving wait times.
One major change was allowing pharmacists to prescribe non-emergency medications for minor ailments. Another recent reform allowed primary care providers to refer patients to specialty clinics, effectively bypassing long waits.
- Average Annual Income: $215,100
- Healthcare System Type: German statutory pension fund financed by contributions & payroll taxes
- Number of Hospitals: 5 hospitals
- How Many Physicians: 915 Physicians
- Residents Per Physician: 12%
- National Average Compensation: €183,500 /$237,000 = 79%
German citizens typically don’t require pre-existing appointments before receiving treatment, nor do they experience lengthy wait times for basic procedures. Instead, Germans prefer going straight to the source whenever possible.
Due to the fact that German ophthalmologists are already seeing patients without requiring referrals, they’re able to dedicate more time to training future generations of specialists. On the downside, some argue that German doctors get lazy once everything becomes routine, opting to delegate tasks to nurses instead of doing them themselves.
- Average Annual Income: $192,600
- Healthcare System Type: Mixed system with both private insurers and public financing
- Number of Hospitals: 14 hospitals
- How Many Physicians: 478 physicians
- Residents Per Physician: 20%
- National Average Compensation: €160,500/$195,580 = 80%
With regard to Dutch healthcare, the system consists of two main parts: public and private. Patients who want to use doctors outside of their network either pay extra to join a preferred provider organization (PPO) or opt out altogether.
If someone chooses the second option, they usually end up switching plans every few months. Meanwhile, those who sign up with a PPO enjoy discounts and access to specialized centers. Although PPOs allow greater choice and flexibility, critics claim that they encourage unnecessary demand and increase patient wait times. In contrast, those who reject PPOS say they would save money and stress levels by skipping monthly premiums.
- Average Annual Income: $167,000
- Healthcare System Type: Mutual aid voluntary association scheme
- Number of Hospitals: 40 hospitals
- How Much Money Doctors Make: About $169,000 annually
- Residents Per Physician: 24%
- National Average Compensation: €145,560/$180,370 = 78%
If you’d rather become an ophthalmologist in France, you can expect to earn roughly 78 percent of the national median wage. Eye care workers are considered essential personnel during flu season, so getting sick could mean losing hours or being fired outright.
Some employers force staff to stay home unless they’ve been given permission to return to work. Compared to many other countries, French doctors tend to specialize in small fields and are likely to serve rural communities rather than big cities.
9. United Kingdom
- Average Annual Income: £138,000
- Healthcare System Type: National Health Service
- Number of Hospitals: 31 hospitals
- How Many Physicians: 800 physicians
- Residents Per Physician: 21%
- National Average Compensation: £129,000
British ophthalmologists make considerably more than their counterparts in neighboring countries. According to the British Ophthalmic Society (BOS), the average annual salary for British ophthalmologists was £143,945 in 2022 (the latest year for which such data is available). This figure is much higher than the UK average salary of £129,000.
Average Annual Income: $120,500 Japan is ranked as the highest country with high average annual income for ophthalmologists by Payscale in 2022. This country is located in East Asia and has a population of 127 million people living there. The average annual income for ophthalmologists in Japan was found to be around $120,500 US dollars as of 2022.
The salary for ophthalmologists in Japan is calculated depending on factors like experience, skills and education. These factors make the pay range between $115,000 per year and $250,000 per year in this country.
The minimum salary for an ophthalmologist in Japan is around $70,000 US dollars per year and the maximum salary may go up to $140,000 US dollars per year depending on the experience and expertise of the individual ophthalmologist.