Comparison of ophthalmic training in 6 English-speaking countries



      To compare key characteristics of ophthalmology training programs in 6 different English-speaking countries: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.


      Seven ophthalmologists with personal knowledge of all 6 systems contributed.


      The main features examined were career pathway, duration of training, surgical training, governing bodies, and examination structure. Data were collected from the literature, online resources, and personal experience.


      Several differences were highlighted, including length of training (ranging from 4 to 9 years after medical school), number of surgical procedures such as cataracts (ranging from minimum 86 to approximately 600), and structure of fellowship training.


      As trainees increasingly seek international experience to enhance their knowledge and skills, the similarities and differences between training programs in different countries have become more relevant. Some of these differences may reflect differing needs of different patient populations and different healthcare delivery systems across the globe. However, these differences should also prompt educators to more carefully scrutinize their own training system and search for potential improvements.



      Comparer les principales caractéristiques des programmes de formation en ophtalmologie dans six pays anglophones : Australie, Nouvelle-Zélande, Canada, Irlande, Royaume-Uni et États-Unis.


      Les principales caractéristiques examinées étaient le cheminement de carrière, la durée de la formation, la formation chirurgicale, les organismes de réglementation et de la structure d'examen. Sept ophtalmologistes ayant une connaissance personnelle des six systèmes ont contribué à l'étude. Les données recueillies viennent de la documentation, de ressources en ligne et de l'expérience personnelle des participants.


      Plusieurs différences ont été soulignées, dont la durée de la formation (de 4 à 9 ans après l'école de médecine), le nombre d'interventions chirurgicales comme la cataracte (de 86 à environ 600), et la structure de la formation postdoctorale.


      Comme les stagiaires cherchent de plus en plus à acquérir de l'expérience internationale pour enrichir leurs connaissances et leurs compétences, il est de plus en plus pertinent de s'intéresser aux similitudes et aux différences entre les programmes de formation des pays. Certaines de ces différences tiennent aux besoins des patients et aux systèmes de soins de santé qui diffèrent d'un État à l'autre. Elles devraient toutefois inciter les professeurs à examiner plus attentivement leurs propres programmes de formation et à voir comment ils pourraient les améliorer.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


      1. Flexner A. Medical Education in the United States and Canada: A Report to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. New York City; 1910.

      2. AIHW. Medical Workforce 2012. National health workforce series no. 8. 2014; Cat. no. HWL 54.
      3. Australian Bureau of Statistic. 2013; 〈[email protected]/Lookup?3101.0Main+Features1Jun2012?OpenDocument〉. Accessed October 22, 2015.

        • Duffy T.P.
        The Flexner Report--100 years later.
        Yale J Biol Med. 2011; 84: 269-276
      4. International Council of Ophthalmology. Number of ophthalmologists in practice and training worldwide. 〈〉. Accessed October 22, 2015.

      5. CARMS. 2015 R-1 Match - First iteration. 2015; 〈〉. Accessed October 22, 2015.

        • Noble J.
        • Schendel S.
        • Daniel S.
        • Baerlocher M.O.
        Motivations and future trends: a survey of Canadian ophthalmology residents.
        Can J Ophthalmol. 2007; 42: 821-825
      6. Specialty Training Requirements in Ophthalmology. 2012; 〈〉. Accessed October 30, 2015.

      7. General Standards Applicable to All Residency Programs. 2007; 〈〉. Accessed October 22, 2015.

      8. Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada: CanMEDS. 2014; 〈〉. Accessed July 24, 2015, 2015.

      9. Policies and Procedures for Certification and Fellowship. 2014; 〈〉. Accessed Oct 22, 2015.

      10. Irish College of Ophthalmologists: Trainees. 2015; 〈〉. Accessed October 22, 2015.

      11. Irish College of Ophthalmologists: Core Training in Ophthalmology. 2015; 〈〉. Accessed October 22, 2015.

      12. Medical and Dental Recruitment and Selection. 2014; 〈〉. Accessed April 4, 2015.

      13. The Royal College of Ophthalmologists. 2015; 〈〉. Accessed April 04, 2015, 2015.

      14. sfmatch: Ophthalmology Residency Match Report. 2015; 〈〉. Accessed October 22, 2015, 2015.

        • Parke D.
        In the Pursuit of Fellowship.
        Young Ophthalmologists. 2015; (Accessed October 22, 2015, 2015)
      15. Required Minimum Number of Procedures for Graduating Residents in Ophthalmology. 2013; 〈〉. Accessed October 22, 2015.

      16. Ophthalmology Case Logs National Data Report. 2014; 〈〉. Accessed November 2, 2015.

      17. AUPO Fellowship Compliance Committee. 2011; 〈〉. Accessed October 22, 2015.

      18. Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education: Milestones. 2015; 〈〉. Accessed October 22, 2015.

      19. American Board of Ophthalmology: Facts & Statistics. 2015; 〈〉. Accessed October 22, 2015.

        • Liesegang T.J.
        • Hoskins Jr, H.D.
        • Albert D.M.
        • et al.
        Ophthalmic education: where have we come from, and where are we going?.
        Am J Ophthalmol. 2003; 136: 114-121
        • Chan W.H.
        • Saedon H.
        • Falcon M.G.
        Postgraduate ophthalmic training: how do we compare?.
        Eye (Lond). 2011; 25: 965-967
      20. Advisory Opinion - Ethical Issues in Global Ophthalmology. 2015; 〈〉. Accessed October 30, 2015.

        • Lee A.G.
        • Golnik K.C.
        • Tso M.O.
        • Spivey B.
        • Miller K.
        • Gauthier T.M.
        The international council of ophthalmology: vision for ophthalmic education in an interdependent world.
        Am J Ophthalmol. 2012; 154 (620-624 e622)
      21. The Royal College of Ophthalmologists Ophthalmology Specialty Training. 2014; 〈〉. Accessed October 30, 2015.