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Undergraduate Training in Ophthalmology

Examination of the eye and adnexa is an important part of the general examination of a patient. The eye may reveal a wide variety of systemic diseases and eye pathology is ever more common in the ageing population for whom we need to provide care.

An understanding of the effects of eye disease is critical to holistic patient care. Reduced visual function can have wide spread implications on the mobility, independence and psychological wellbeing of all patients.

Ophthalmic complaints are common and past estimates suggest that 6% of casualty attendances and 1.5% of GP consultations are ophthalmic. A number of acute ophthalmological conditions can be readily treated if recognised in their early stages and all doctors should be able to recognise these.

In addition, sight loss is an increasing health concern in the UK with an ageing population. An essential part of clinical work is to effectively diagnose, treat and refer people with an eye condition.

The curriculum for Undergraduate and Foundation Doctors is available to download.

The GMC website gives an indication of the skills you should try to acquire as an undergraduate, whatever branch of medicine you hope to practise in.

Ophthalmology as a Career

So you want to be an ophthalmologist’ provides an overview of working in ophthalmology including postgraduate training.

The companion document Academic Ophthalmology as a Career provides further information to guide undergraduates and trainees.

Resources available

Ophthalmology Training is an animated online resource for learning the key principles of ophthalmology and common eye disorders. The website uses quality animations and is an excellent resource for ophthalmologists starting training, as well as allied eye care personnel, medical students, and general practitioners.  Updates include: single best-answer, multiple-choice questions that highlight key learning points; “answer boxes” explaining the correct answer and why the other options are incorrect; and key questions to ask when taking a history from a patient with a red eye, as well as how to differentiate between potentially sight-threatening and less serious causes of red eye. This site requires a login and fee to access the coursework.

Duke Elder Undergraduate Prize in Ophthalmology

The Duke Elder Undergraduate Prize Examination Exam information takes place once a year in Medical Schools throughout the UK and Ireland.

Patrick Trevor-Roper Undergraduate Travel Award

This award in Ophthalmology is open to undergraduate medical students from the UK and Eire only with an interest in the specialty. There are now three awards made annually, each for the sum of £550. This money can be used to fund electives in Ophthalmology and may be spent on travelling or subsistence.
Further details on the next call and application forms are available on the Travel Awards page of the website.

Medical Students Taster Day

The day involves lectures and practical sessions and aims to provide an introduction to surgical skills including suturing, knots and the use of the operating microscope. Please click here for further details on Royal College events.

Useful links

British Undergraduate Journal of Ophthalmology (BUJO)
The BUJO is a peer-reviewed, open access, online journal aimed at medical students and junior doctors. BUJO is the official journal of the British Undergraduate Ophthalmology Society.