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Higher education in ophthalmology: An overview for the aspiring eye surgeon


Elysia Jongue, Amir Taher, Hema Karthik

Meeting:  2022 RANZCO


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Purpose: Today’s ophthalmology trainees develop proficiencies in seven key roles that are assessed by RANZCO in the VTP selection process. Proficiencies in these roles are achieved by engaging in a variety of endeavours, including higher degrees, to bridge areas and skills identified for further development. The value of lifelong continual education is reflected in the VTP selection process, whereby higher education qualifications are assigned points. A post-graduate qualification with an ophthalmology focus, remains highly relevant to the aspiring eye surgeon. Several courses with various components are available for enrolment.

Method: An online-based search was performed to identify higher degrees in ophthalmology. Higher degrees were included if they included ophthalmology units, and were available to Australian pre-VTP trainees for enrolment. Non-ophthalmological higher degrees, or those courses unavailable for enrolment by Australian candidates, were excluded.

Results: Seven higher education courses in ophthalmology available to Australian citizens, were identified. Five courses were delivered by Australian universities; two were international courses available to Australian candidates. All courses were available for part-time, and online study with a component of face-to-face intensive classes. All higher education courses included a research component. One degree was available for completion by research only. Conclusion: Ophthalmology-focussed higher education degrees are valuable to the aspiring eye surgeon. They develop candidates’ knowledge and experience in pre- clinical and clinical ophthalmic sciences. These higher education degrees also aim to foster skills in other areas such as research, communication, and professionalism – all roles contributing to developing competent, autonomous, and safe specialist ophthalmologists.