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Ophthalmic Specialist Training

Ophthalmic Specialist Training (OST) requires a minimum of seven years of specialty training (ST1–ST7) to be completed following the two years of foundation training.

The programme follows the College OST Curriculum, which is presented as a web-based document. The RCOphth Guide for delivery of OST (June 2018) is recommended as essential reading.

The diagram below sets out the path of the OST programme:

ost programme










Who’s responsible for the training programme?

The RCOphth Training Committee determines the content and structure of the training programme, which is then approved by the General Medical Council (GMC). The Training Committee is also responsible for making recommendations to the GMC about the eligibility of doctors for the award of the Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) or Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (Combined Programme).

Postgraduate Deans and LETB/Deanery Schools of Ophthalmology oversee the delivery of the training programme, which is managed at a local level by Training Programme Directors (TPDs).

During each post of the specialty training programme trainees are allocated an Educational Supervisor, who will oversee their educational development. During each appointment, a range of consultants and other professional staff will provide clinical training and supervision.

The OST curriculum

The Curriculum for OST consists of 180 defined learning outcomes in 13 domains of clinical practice, each of which can be mapped to the GMC’s description of Good Medical Practice (GMP).

The award of a CCT is normally achieved after seven years in OST. Progress from one year to the next is determined by the achievement of learning outcomes as defined in the OST Curriculum. Achievement is determined by defined assessments, which is appropriately documented and scrutinised at the Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP). Assessment panels are convened from LETB/Deanery training committees and determine whether a trainee can progress to the next year, requires additional training time or should be released from the programme.

e-portfolio and Eye Logbook

The College will provide all doctors accepted into specialty training with an e-Portfolio, which must be used to record training and document individual progression through the training programme. The e-portfolio includes comprehensive user guides for trainees, trainers and LETB/Deanery administrative staff. Further information is available here .

The Eye Logbook is the online surgical logbook for ophthalmologists, designed for the entry and analysis of ophthalmic surgical data. Surgical information is displayed in both tabular and graphical forms allowing the easy analysis of data for training progress, audit and revalidation purposes. The Eye Logbook is a prerequisite for award of the CCT / CESR(CP) and entry onto the Specialist Register.

Use of the e-portfolio and Eye Logbook is mandatory for all OST trainees.


Trainees will need to pass three exams in order to progress through training:

  • Part 1 FRCOphth, which trainees will need to pass before they enter into the third year of ophthalmic specialist training
  • Refraction Certificate, which trainees will need to pass by the end of the third year of ophthalmic specialist training
  • Part 2 FRCOphth, which has a Written and Oral component. Trainees are required to pass this examination by the end of the seventh year of ophthalmic specialist training

Trainee representation at the RCOphth

The Ophthalmologists in Training Group (OTG) discusses issues relevant to training in OST and is a channel for communication between trainees and Council, as well as other relevant RCOphth committees and external organisations.  Regional representatives speak on behalf of trainees and are able to provide them with the most up-to-date information from the College.

Find out more