Demographic Information

Only six percent of ophthalmologists belong to Underrepresented in Medicine (URiM) groups (i.e., Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders, Southeast Asians or LGBTQ+). Based on a limited survey conducted by the DEI subcommittee, it was estimated that approximately 3.2% of retina specialists (80/2,500) were URiM physicians. Currently there are no means to accurately access the actual numbers. We are currently seeking to find a reliable method to obtain more self-reported data from the ASRS membership. However, even if we don’t have comprehensive data for retina specialists, it can be assumed that this percentage is even lower amongst this group of physicians. It is important to have retina specialists of all backgrounds, both for the sake of equity, and because studies show that health care is improved with doctor-patient concordance, and that most physicians, in particular URiM physicians, often return to their own communities to practice medicine. As part of its goal to increase the number of URiM in retina by 50% (approximately 40 new retina physicians) by the year 2030, the committee launched its Underrepresented in Retina Mentorship Program in 2022.

 A recent survey study of graduating American allopathic medical students between 2016 and 2019 ranked medical specialties by the percentage of graduates intending to pursue each specialty who identified as LGBTQ+. Ophthalmology ranked near the bottom. Of the 1,379 graduating students who planned to train in ophthalmology, just 46—or 3.3%—identified as LGBTQ+. With an estimated 5.3% of graduating medical students identifying as LGBTQ+, these figures suggest that ophthalmology training programs are under-attracting, and likely under-representing, LGBTQ+ individuals.

If you haven't done so already, please take a moment to update the "Background" section of your ASRS profile so that we can continue to track membership demographics.