Medical Ophthalmology involves the management of patient with eye conditions. An ophthalmologist will be particularly involved with systemic eye disorders, such as hypertension, diabetes, and malignancy.
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Entry Route into Medical Ophthalmology
Applicants must have completed the two-year Foundation Programme to be eligible to apply for a core training programme. Core training comprises either:
Job Progression as a Medical Ophthalmologist
Higher specialty training starts at ST3 and applicants should have the full membership of the Royal College of Physicians before applying. ST3 training takes at least four years, but for trainees entering from Surgical Ophthalmology, training from ST1 takes over six years – with up to two years of Surgical Ophthalmology, two years of CMT and up to four years training in Medical Ophthalmology.
Trainees can apply for consultant positions six months before obtaining their CCT, and there are opportunities to work in management as a clinical lead, or a clinical or medical director. There are also formal opportunities to become involved in the education and training of junior doctors by working as
- a director of medical education overseeing postgraduate medical training,
- a training programme director responsible for the education of trainee doctors in the local region, or
- an associate dean responsible for managing the training programme.
Academic Medical Ophthalmology Roles
Trainees interested in an academic career can apply for an academic clinical fellowship. Alternatively, trainees can continue the ST clinical training programme after ST4 level.
Competition for Medical Ophthalmology Posts
In 2017, the competition ratio at ST3 was 3.56 in the first round, with 32 applications for 9 posts. The competition ratio at CT1/ST1 for Ophthalmology was 5.26 with 405 applications for 77 posts.
In December 2017, there were
- 1,263 consultants,
- 157 associate specialists,
- 332 speciality doctors,
- 113 staff grades,
- 721 speciality registrars,
- 63 core trainees,
- 30 F2 trainees, and
- 6 F1 trainees.
Salaries in Medical Ophthalmology
The salary for NHS consultants ranges from £76,000 to £102, 500, and for speciality doctors from £37,500 to £70,000. The salary for doctors in training ranges from £26,350 to £45,750.
A Day in the Life of a Medical Ophthalmologist
Medical Ophthalmology specialists generally work in teaching hospitals and other outpatient departments. Specialists may organise different clinics throughout the week, such as clinics for those with neurological disorders, those in need of genetic counselling, or clinics for patients who need intra-ocular treatments. Ophthalmologists supervise trainees, manage diabetic retinopathy screening, and conduct research. They have standard working hours, although there may be occasional on-call work.
There are no CCT subspecialties for Medical Ophthalmology, but there is a special interest group called The United Kingdom Neuro-Ophthalmology Special Interest Group (UKNOSIG) for specialists interested in neuro-ophthalmology.