A picture of Bernie Chang chairing a meeting at the RCOphth

About the College

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists represents the profession in the United Kingdom and supports overseas members in developing countries, building a global community to influence eye health policy and to share standards, training, professional learning and development.

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists is committed to developing and promoting the highest standards of patient care in ophthalmology. We support our members throughout their careers with life-long learning in the management of eye disease and care of patients.  We work with organisations in the eye health sector and the healthcare system to influence policy development.

Our Charter sets our responsibilities as a membership body.

  • Setting the curriculum and standards for training, education and assessment
  • Producing guidelines for good clinical practice
  • Providing skills courses in eye surgery
  • Promoting and encouraging research and innovation, and publishing the results in our journal, EYE
  • Influencing policy and commissioning bodies to help shape the hospital eye service
  • Advancing education in eye health
  • Organising a comprehensive programme of seminars and an annual scientific Congress
  • Supporting NHS Trusts to review their eye health services

Our work is delivered through efficient, flexible and transparent processes, with staff, College Officers and committee members working together. The governance of the College as a charity and its finances are managed by the Trustee Board and Council, representing members across all four nations of the UK, focus on the development of sustainable ophthalmology services.

Our History

The College was originally formed from the Ophthalmological Society of the United Kingdom and the Faculty of Ophthalmologists. The Society, founded in 1880 by Sir William Bowman, had held a scientific meeting every year with only a few exceptions during the Second World War. The Faculty, formed in 1946 by Sir Stewart Duke-Elder, was the professional organisation for ophthalmologists. The Royal Charter creating the College of Ophthalmologists was granted on the 14 April 1988 and the Royal Licence was granted five years later.