Privacy Information Notice

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists champions excellence in the practice of ophthalmology. We are the only professional membership body for medically qualified ophthalmologists and for those who are undergoing specialist training to become ophthalmologists.

Privacy Policy

This policy explains how The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) collects, uses and protects any personal information that you provide online through digital media channels operated by the College and why we use cookies to enhance your browsing experience.

The confidentiality of your information is of paramount concern to The Royal College of Ophthalmologists. We comply with Data Protection Legislation, Data Protection Guidelines for Charities and Medical Confidentiality Guidelines. You may wish to review our Data Protection Policy and Explanation of Legitimate Interests document.

RCOphth works to ensure that your privacy is protected and you can be assured that your data will only be used in accordance with this Privacy Policy. Any other data which we collect that cannot be used to personally identify you will only be used to help us make improvements to the website.

We may amend this Policy from time to time and you are advised to check this site regularly to see if there have been any changes.

Please view our frequently asked questions below for further information.

If you have any further questions or require clarification about the Privacy and Cookie Policies, please email [email protected].


We collect two different types of data: (1) data about you and which you decide to submit in accessing our services (personal and sensitive information) and (2) anonymous aggregated data about how visitors use this site and interact with the content on the site, collected by cookies placed on your computer. Please see Cookie Policy below.

Personal Information

We may ask for data when you register for an event, an examination or an account with RCOphth. This data is stored on our databases in order that we can identify you as an individual and provide the services requested. This data will also enable us to manage our relationship with you as an RCOphth member or other party (such as health care professional, patient or member of the general public) and update and improve the accuracy of our records.

We refer to any information that may identify you as an individual such as your name and address, as personal data or personal information. For example, we may collect the following personal information:

  • Name and job title
  • Age and date of birth
  • Contact information including email address
  • Information relevant to applications and booking of events and examinations
  • Information relevant to enquiries from patients and the public

Sensitive Information

Sometimes you may be asked to submit personal information which is of a more private nature, which we refer to as sensitive personal information, and is required in order that we can, for example generate reports about the services we provide and reporting on the equality and diversity of our membership. We restrict access to any individual data to nominated ‘data-controllers’. All other general reporting is anonymous aggregated data. We may collect the following sensitive personal information if you decide to give it to us:

  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Ethnic origin
  • Sexual orientation
  • Employment information if you are applying for a job
  • Other lifestyle information

Under the General Data Protection Regulation 25 May 2018, the RCOphth has considered how we may protect and enhance your membership services.

To do this, we have reviewed how we collect and use your personal and sensitive data and what we do with it.

Primarily, as part of your membership service contract, we process your data to provide you with information via email communications. At the time of joining as a member you will be asked for your consent to receive communications and within the terms of being a ‘legitimate interest’.

Legitimate interest means the RCOphth has a genuine and legitimate reason to provide you with information relevant to your membership and also for your continued professional development, transactions such as event, course or examination bookings and other related activities. Our legitimate interest means we can process your personal information, but we do this in a way that does not override the impact on you and your interests.

As part of your membership, you will receive a number of benefits, some of which are outlined below:
• Eye Journal
• College News, our quarterly magazine posted to you
• eye-mail, our fortnightly e-newsletter
• Registration for eportfolio/WpBA/CPD
• Access to AAO ONE Network.

You can, at any time, withdraw your consent to receive communications from the RCOphth; we will inform you if any membership services or transactions may be disrupted.

All emailed communications allow you to unsubscribe and you may also update your preferences via your profile in the secure members’ area of the website. If you wish to discuss this further, please contact [email protected].

We use your personal information to provide information, services and transactions you have requested as well as for administrative purposes as part of your membership contract with the RCOphth.

We will ask you to indicate your consent for the College to keep you informed of our membership services, activities and events that we consider may be of interest to you via email. If at any time you no longer wish to receive such information, you have the right to withdraw your consent. You may also edit your preferences in the secure members’ area of the website.

The lawful reason for sending you information about membership services and transactions is called ‘legitimate interest’.

Sometimes we need to share your information with carefully selected third parties in order to administer membership services, such as distribution of College publications. We will not sell, distribute or lease your personal information to third parties and any other organisations to use for their own purposes unless we have your permission or are required by law to do so.

We may disclose your personal information to third parties if we are under a duty to disclose or share your personal data in order to comply with any legal obligation, or for the purposes of fraud protection and credit risk reduction.

We are committed to protecting the privacy of your personal information. In an effort to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure we have put in place strict physical, electronic and operational procedures intended to safeguard and secure the information we collect online.

RCOphth may use third parties to process data on its behalf. Such processing, which may be outside the European Economic Area, is subject to contractual restrictions with regard to confidentiality and security, in addition to the obligations imposed by the Data Protection Act 1998 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) May 2018.

If the URL of a web page starts with HTTPS or you see a locked/green padlock symbol, your data should be encrypted when it is sent from your computer to our server. However, we cannot ensure the security of your data when it is being transmitted to our website or other digital sites from other pages and all transmission of personal information and other data is done at your own risk.

Information submitted to us over the RCOphth website is normally unprotected until it reaches us. In addition, you are requested not to send confidential details or credit card numbers, for example, by email.

Our website contains links to other websites. This privacy policy only applies to this website so when you link to other websites you should read their own privacy policies.

You may request details of personal information that we hold about you by exercising your right of data subject access under data protection legislation. Please review our Subject Access Request Policy to request a copy of the information held about you.

You can at any time ask us to correct or remove information you think is inaccurate.

If your personal details change, please help us to keep your information up to date by going to the secure Members’ area, logging into your profile and updating your details. Alternatively, you may contact [email protected].

We will only hold personal information for as long as it is necessary to do so, having regard to the purposes for which it was collected and the purposes for which it is to be further processed.


We may store information about you using cookies on our website. These are files which are sent by us to your computer which we can access when you visit our site. We make use of cookies to help manage the functionality of the website to provide relevant information and a user-friendly experience. Cookies provide us with information about how the website is used. We do this for a number of reasons including administering the site’s registration system, customising your experience and transactions. The data is aggregated and anonymous so we cannot identify you personally. We refer to this as non-personal information.

We may use non-personal data in order that we can learn more about online behaviour to improve our website, mobile website, apps, general marketing and to provide a better user experience.

Cookies are small text files that are sent to and stored on your computer, smartphone or other devices used to access the internet, whenever you visit a website. Cookies are useful because they allow a website to recognise the device you are using. We use cookies for a variety of reasons, such as to determine user preferences, let you navigate between pages efficiently, verify you and provide the RCOphth with useful information which helps us identify ways to improve the total user experience whilst visiting the website, such as the number of site visits and the most popular pages visited.

Information on controlling cookies is available at here. Please note that by deleting our cookies or disabling future cookies you may not be able to access certain areas or features of our site. To read more about the cookies used on this site, please see below.

Cookies set across our website can be in the form of session cookies (lasting only as long as your visit to our website) or persistent cookies (saved on your device for a fixed period), and may use different technologies, such as JavaScript or Flash.

You can choose to manage the cookies we use on our website through your internet browser settings at any time. Certain cookies may be set as soon as you visit our website, but you can remove them using your internet browser settings.

Cookie name Cookie type Reason for Cookie Description
_UTMZ  1st/Persistent Analytics Extracts the following information – where the visitor came from, what search engine they used, what link they clicked on, what keyword they used and where in the world they accessed a website.
_UTMA 1st/Persistent Analytics Keeps track of the number of times a visitor has been to the site and when their first visit and last visits were
_UTMC  1st/Persistent Analytics Works with UTMB_ to determine how long the visitor spends on the site
_UTMB  1st/Persistent Analytics Works with UTMC_ to determine how long the visitor spends on the site


By using our website you agree to the use of cookies as described in this Cookie Policy. You will be presented with a request to accept the use of cookies.

If you do not want the website to set cookies on your device then you should either not use the site, or you should delete RCOphth cookies once you have finished visiting the site. Alternatively, the ‘Help’ menu on the menu bar of most browsers will tell you how to prevent your browser from accepting new cookies, how to have the browser notify you when you receive a new cookie and how to disable cookies altogether. However, because cookies allow you to take advantage of some of the website’s essential features, we recommend you leave them turned on.

Preventing cookies is likely to impact the functionality or performance of the website and could stop you from accessing certain services provided through it. If you choose to disable cookies, we cannot guarantee how the operation of the website will perform during your visit. It will also affect our ability to improve the website, make changes to user preferences and provide relevant information services which would otherwise be available.