Surgical Ophthalmology

The Surgical Ophthalmology programme is an seven-year competence-based curriculum consisting of three core years (BST1-3) followed by four years (HST4-7) of subspecialty training.

Surgical ophthalmologists perform microsurgical intraocular operations such as cataract extraction surgery or retinal detachment repair surgery. Most surgical ophthalmologists perform cataract surgery as well as sub specialising in another area.  Although the eye is a very small organ there are a numerous subspecialties in ophthalmology.

Basic Specialist Training in Surgical Ophthalmology

Basic Surgical Training is the entry route to Higher Specialist Training Surgical Ophthalmology in Ireland.

The purpose of the foundation years is to provide a broad based initial training in ophthalmology with attainment of knowledge, skills and professional behaviours relevant to the practice of ophthalmology in any specialist discipline. Following successful completion of Basic Training in Surgical Ophthalmology (requires passing the MRCSI exam) and candidates can compete to enter Higher Specialist Training in Surgical Ophthalmology.

This curriculum defines the principles and practice of Basic Training.

Information on Basic Training application and entry process is available on the ICO website here.

Higher Specialist Training in Surgical Ophthalmology

After successful completion of the three core years of training, trainees can compete to enter the specialist training program provided they meet the selection criteria. Progression is based on performance in core training and by competitive interview held centrally in conjunction with the RCSI.  There are clearly defined competencies which must be achieved in order to progress from Basic Training to Higher Specialist Training in Surgical Ophthalmology.

The purpose of the Higher Specialist Training Programme in Surgical Ophthalmology is to provide in-depth surgical training so as to equip doctors with skills both in cataract surgery as well as in the subspecialties of anterior segment (corneal transplant), glaucoma (trabeculectomy), strabismus (squint surgery), orbit (enucleations), vitro-retinal (retinal detachment repair), nasolacrimal and oculoplastic surgery.  Specialist trainees, irrespective of preference and future career choice, must undertake training in all subspecialties to successfully complete their training. Most trainees go on to complete a Fellowship in the subspecialty of their choice.

The Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (FRCSI) is the exit appraisal for the Specialist Training in Surgical Ophthalmology programme.   The MRCSI is an entry requirement for the FRCSI and candidates for the FRCSI must be in their final year of Specialist Training in Surgical Ophthalmology in Ireland.

Trainees must also have the European Board of Ophthalmology Diploma (EBOD).  The examinations take place each year in Paris during the month of May.

View Specialist Training in Surgical Ophthalmology Curriculum

Training Pathway for Specialist Training in Surgical Ophthalmology

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4
Training Level Medical School Intern Year Basic Training in Surgical Ophthalmology Higher Specialist Training in Surgical Ophthalmology
Duration 4-6 years 1 year 3 years 4 years
Entry Process Graduate or direct entry Entry through the HSE Intern Match Entry based on competitive interview Entry based on on-going assessment (CAPA), successful completion of the MRCSI exam and Specialty Interview
Mandatory Examinations As per curriculum N/A MRCSI Exam  FRCS Exam
Application Date CAO process opens in November Application process opens in October Application process opens in November  Application process opens in November
Programme Operated by: Undergraduate Universities Intern Networks ICO RCSI

The Specialist Training Programme in Surgical Ophthalmology is governed by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

For further information about training in Medical Ophthalmology click here.

For further information on Specialist Training in Surgical Ophthalmology please visit the website of the Irish College of Ophthalmologists