The Royal College of Ophthalmologists is the only membership body for ophthalmologists, representing the profession in the development of standards and the workforce. Belonging to the College strengthens its ability to act on behalf of all ophthalmologists in all four nations.
The RCOphth welcomes all members, and those thinking of a career in the eye health sector, from diverse backgrounds, age, gender orientation and experiences so we represent the UK population and the patients our members serve. As an inclusive organisation, we encourage diversity and equal access to opportunities to take up roles and lead in the work of the College.
We expect and encourage all our members to demonstrate our values and behaviours in everything you do and to promote these values in the wider ophthalmic workforce.
Find out about our Values and Behaviours
By joining the RCOphth, you are able to actively contribute to the work we do in developing policy and standards to safeguard patient care and a sustainable workforce. If you have an interest in overseas development, you can offer your skills to support developing countries with education and training opportunities.
Your involvement can benefit you personally too. Work with colleagues and staff with a wide range of experience and knowledge, learn management and leadership skills and develop a varied and mutually beneficial network in the UK and internationally.
We have over 4,000 members that include ophthalmologists in training, consultants, SAS doctors and other professions such as ophthalmic nurses and optometrists.
Apply for Membership
Applicants applying for Fellowship by Election must meet the following requirements
- Be in a substantive NHS Consultant post in ophthalmology for 5 years or more
- Be a substantive NHS Associate Specialist post (on “old” associate specialist contract, with minimum 6 years in ophthalmology and minimum 10 years clinical practice since primary medical qualification
- Be a Specialist Ophthalmologist on “new” Specialist Grade contract (which has entry criteria as minimum 6 years in ophthalmology, 12 years clinical practice since primary medical qualification)
- Be a Specialty Grade (with > 10 years’ experience)
- Be a substantive Consultant in ophthalmology in a Non-NHS UK Healthcare provider for 6 years or more
- Must be a substantive Consultant in ophthalmology in a Healthcare provider for 6 years or more
All doctors applying for FRCOphth should be practicing at a clinical standard which meets the College standards and Guidelines and delivering high-quality and safe personal care to patients. The nature and quality of a candidate’s clinical responsibilities should be clear. The job plan should provide evidence of having a good balance of clinics and theatres being run at a level of a consultant. In addition, evidence of clinical governance, regular audits, research, leadership, service improvement and teaching will need to be provided.
In addition, overseas applicants must provide evidence of one or more of the following activities
- Teaching, Training and Education
- Innovation and Creativity
- Academic and Research
Applicants applying for Membership by Election must:
UK NHS Applicants
- Be a newly appointed substantive NHS consultant in ophthalmology or a SAS doctor in ophthalmology in a substantive NHS post for five years.
UK Non-NHS Applicants
- Be a substantive consultant in a Non-NHS UK Healthcare provider for three years.
- Be a substantive consultant in ophthalmology in a healthcare provider for three years.
Applications are welcomed from Consultants, SAS ophthalmologists, including Associate Specialists, Staff Grades, Specialty Doctors, Clinical Assistants and non-training Trust Grades
Applications are also welcomed from those who hold a higher qualification and are engaged in ophthalmic research but are not medically qualified.
Trainee membership is opened only to those who have been through a recruitment process and appointed to an Ophthalmic Specialist Training (OST) post within the UK – whether run-through or Locum Appointment for Training (LAT).
Ophthalmology services and healthcare in general is changing. The multidisciplinary team is delivering a much wider scope of practice, taking on areas that were traditionally delivered by doctors and optimising the role of the whole clinical team. In response to this, the RCOphth is offering Associate Membership to ophthalmic nurses, orthoptists, optometrists and healthcare scientists, with the aim of widening eligibility further in due course.
Although you will have your own colleges and professional bodies, RCOphth can provide further educational opportunities and learning materials, for extended and advanced practice. In recognition of your expertise we will collaborate with you to develop resources, such as specific standards and guidance, that enhance the role of multidisciplinary teams in eye care delivery.
Please view other areas of interest on the website.
RCOphth Educational Programme
The College has developed educational resources so that members can build up their own pathway of learning to suit their development needs or interests.
The Ophthalmic Practitioner Training (OPT) Programme trains postgraduate orthoptists, optometrists and ophthalmic nurses to develop their skills up to Level 3 in key subspecialties of eye care. Enrolment in this is programme included in membership.
INSPIRE – online learning platform
This is the RCOphth’s online learning platform for life-long learning materials, support and guidance for learners, trainers anywhere at anytime.