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P-03 Practice approaches among Canadian ophthalmologists
  1. Mahraz Parvand1,
  2. Natalie Doughty2,
  3. Armaan Jaffer1,
  4. Emi Sanders2,
  5. Femida Kherani1,2
  1. 1Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
  2. 2Division of Ophthalmology, Department of Surgery, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Canada

Abstract

Introduction Although there has been a trend towards gender balance in ophthalmology, this has not yet translated into equal representation in leadership roles.

Aims We aimed to assess the current practice patterns of ophthalmology in Canada by analysing gender disparities in leadership and identifying barriers to leadership advancement.

Methods A listing of all ophthalmologists registered with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in 2019 was used as the sample population. A listserv was created by searching public websites and email invitations to participate in a survey was forwarded.

Results Out of 117 participants, 38 (32.8%) were female, with an average age of 49 years compared to 57 years for males. Female practitioners had 16.9 years of practice on average, while males had 25.6 years (P<0.001). Fellowship numbers were similar for both genders (P=0.39), but females leaned towards neuro-ophthalmology, while males favored retina.

Thirteen females (34.2%) and nine males (11.5%) held graduate degrees (P=0.005). Practice settings showed no significant gender difference, whether hospital-based or private clinics (P>0.05).

Fewer females held academic appointments (55.2% vs. 84.6%, P=0.001), especially full/associate professorships (18.4% vs. 41.0%, P=0.02). Assistant professorships were comparable (26.3% vs. 37.2%, P=0.29). Both genders faced similar career advancement challenges, including work-life balance, support, and time constraints.

Conclusion Ophthalmology has a male-dominated practice, and Canadian leadership trends reflect this. Inequities in higher leadership positions may stem from historical gender imbalances. Our survey reveals that those dissatisfied with their careers cite barriers related to work-life balance and support.

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