Ophthalmic Specialist Training

Ophthalmic Specialist Training (OST) is a seven-year surgical training programme for ophthalmology.

Ophthalmic Specialist Training (OST) is a seven-year surgical training programme that you will only be able to join on completion of the two-year Foundation Programme, and after successfully competing for a training place.  If you are thinking to apply, please visit the Become an Ophthalmologist page for information about National Recruitment.

What does the training programme involve?

The RCOphth Training Committee determines the content and structure of the training programme, which is then approved by the  General Medical Council .We offer skills courses, training advice and educational resources to support your professional development. We represent the specialty interests and ensure both trainees and trainers have a voice in shaping current and future ophthalmic practice. 

Postgraduate Deans and regional Schools of Ophthalmology oversee the delivery of the training programme, which is managed at a local level by Training Programme Directors (TPDs).  Training takes place in hospital eye departments, under the guidance and supervision of consultants, speciality doctors and senior doctors in training.  Educational Supervisors, allocated by units, will oversee your educational development and support you to become a qualified ophthalmologist. 

Develop a breadth of knowledge and skills

During your training, you will learn from many different clinicians practicing across the breadth of special interest areas.  You will see patients from all walks of life because ophthalmology includes paediatric, trauma, geriatric care and more. Towards the end of the training, you will be able to specialise in one or more special interest areas including glaucoma, paediatrics, medical retina and others.

To progress through training, achieve your Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) and join the GMC Specialist Register you must:

  • Record training progress in the ePortfolio against the learning outcomes as defined in the OST Curriculum and demonstrate their achievement at the Annual Review of Competency Progression (ARCP)  
  • Record surgical data in the Eye Logbook
  • Pass the FRCOphth exams at set waypoints  

You are strongly recommended to use simulation extensively during your training to master micro-surgical techniques and other skills before in vivo training. 

Please visit the Out of Programme/Trainee Selected Components page for more information about taking time out of the programme. 


Simulation training

As a surgical-based specialty, ophthalmologists must learn micro-surgical techniques. Simulation training enables trainee ophthalmologists to master these skills before in vivo training.

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