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January 1988

Ophthalmology in West Germany

Author Affiliations

Erlangen, West Germany; Münster, West Germany

Arch Ophthalmol. 1988;106(1):129-132. doi:10.1001/archopht.1988.01060130135046

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The Federal Republic of Germany is densely populated by 60 million people who are served by 200 000 physicians, including 4500 ophthalmologists (ophthalmologist-patient ratio, 1/14 000). The epidemiology of diseases, diagnostic approaches, and therapies in many ways are similar to those of the United States. Many West German ophthalmologists maintain close professional contacts and personal friendships with colleagues in the United States.

There are, however, marked differences between the two countries in the overall organizational pattern of ophthalmic care. Many of these differences—for example, major surgical procedures are performed in relatively few West Germany university or municipal eye hospitals—have their roots in a different system of insurance. Since Bismarck's time, 90% of our patients are covered by mandatory insurance for comprehensive health care; only 10% of the patients have chosen private insurance. The "welfare patient" is practically unknown in West Germany.

GENERAL INFORMATION  About 3200 of the 4500 ophthalmologists

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