Training and development (ophthalmology)

This page provides useful information on the training and development for this specialty and also has tips for people at all stages of their training including medical school.

Training for ophthalmology is a run-through training from ST1 – ST7,  which normally takes seven years.

Recruitment at ST1 is undertaken nationally on behalf of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.

You will need 18 months’ or less experience in ophthalmology before commencement of ST1 training.

The length of training can vary, for example it is possible to train flexibly if you fulfil the criteria for Less than Full Time Training (LTFT).

You’ll need a commitment to the specialty and this can be demonstrated by attendance at training courses relevant to ophthalmology, participation in extra-curricular activities and other relevant achievements.  

Selection panels also look for evidence of academic and research achievements, which as well as additional academic qualifications include prizes, awards, distinctions, publications and presentations. An understanding of research, audit and teaching is also important as is evidence of the ability to work in a multidisciplinary team. Good leadership and organisational skills are also important.

The GMC provides information on the curriculum for ophthalmology training.

Consult the NHS Specialty Training website for more information.

Getting in tips

It is important to develop your practical skills and interest in ophthalmology as early as you can. This will also give you valuable experience to add to your CV.

    • attend conferences in ophthalmology - this will give you an opportunity to network and meet your future colleagues
    • make contact with a local ophthalmology department and find out how you can get involved (eg audit and case presentations )
    • aim to get a rotation in ophthalmology
    • try to ensure your e-portfolio has broad clinical experience especially in related areas and that this is kept properly up-to-date
    • try to gain teaching and management experience
    • undertake a relevant research project and clinical audit
    • try to get some of your work published and present at national and international meetings
    • teach junior colleagues
    • take on any management opportunities you are offered
    • join the Royal College of Ophthalmologists as a trainee affiliate member
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