A trainee ophthalmologist being supervised on an eyesi surgical simulator


Ophthalmology requires a unique combination of medical and surgical skills that can only be developed through our robust training programmes.

Training programmes

There are three training programmes:

  1. Ophthalmic Specialist Training: Doctors join this programme after completing two years of foundation training and applying for a training post through National Recruitment.
  2. Ophthalmic Local Training: Non-numbered training posts for trust-appointed specialty doctors.
  3. Ophthalmic Practitioner Training: Training for postgraduate orthoptists, optometrists and ophthalmic nurses that develops skills in cataract, glaucoma, medical retina or emergency eye care.

How the College Delivers Ophthalmic Training

The College plays an important role in the training of ophthalmologists. We ensure ophthalmologists can provide excellent patient care by:

  • Developing and reviewing the curriculum and examinations
  • Providing training to perform safe and efficient eye surgery
  • Providing awards and scholarships to future trainee’s careers
  • Offering advice on education and training issues
  • Providing an e-Portfolio where trainees can record training progression and continuing professional development

The Education and Training Department is the first port of call for training and education queries.

The role of simulation in training

Simulation facilities trainophthalmologists in the development ofsurgical and clinical skills by simulating live surgery situations. Frequent practice on simulators, such as the state-of-the-art EyeSi surgical simulators, enables trainee ophthalmologists to become familiar with surgical steps and finesse their techniques in a safe environment.

More information about simulation

COVID-19 Support for Trainees

Although there are some specific learning opportunities that may be delayed in your training, in these unprecedented times there are lots of other skills and professional capabilities you will be acquiring, not least around teamwork and leadership, which will be of great value to you as consultants in the future.

The College has taken a number of proactive steps to support trainees during this time. We continue to monitor and assess this situation and adapt our support accordingly.

Please follow the link Decision aid (approved) to see the RCOphth ARCP 2021 curriculum derogations.   

COVID-19 and Recognition of Trainee Progression

Support for Trainers

The College is committed to supporting doctors throughout their careers. Trainers will find the range of resources available on the ‘Support For Training’ pages under each training programme. These pages provide a resource hub for both trainers and trainees.

Find links to the ‘Support For Training’ pages here:


Simulation training

As a surgical-based specialty, ophthalmology encompasses a wide range of operations and clinic-based procedures, requiring ophthalmologists to make use of micro-surgical techniques. Simulation training enables trainee ophthalmologists to master these skills before in vivo training.

Find out more