Basic Training in Medical Ophthalmology


The national Specialist Training Programme in Medical Ophthalmology is five years in duration.  The curriculum is competence-based and and consists of three years basic training (BMT1, BMT2 & BMT3) and two years of higher training (HMT4 & HMT5) in the subspecialties of paediatrics, glaucoma and medical retina.

The training programme in Medical Ophthalmology provides the structure for specialist training, culminating in graduation as an independent Medical Ophthalmologist with achievement of the Certificate of Completion of Medical Ophthalmology Training (CCST). 

The varied role of the Consultant Medical Ophthalmologist delivering general and subspecialty care across both the adult and paediatric population along with the rewarding nature of the specialty makes it an attractive career choice for many doctors.

Medical Ophthalmology is predominantly an out-patient based specialty with a varied work-load including laser sessions, minor-op sessions, and injection sessions while incorporating new technological and ophthalmic advances, including the development of Integrated Eye Care Teams. Medical Ophthalmology is a fast-paced,  high-tech and hi-skill specialty suited to driven individuals who can adapt to its evolving and dynamic nature.

Consultant Medical Ophthalmologists lead and work as part of the Integrated Eye Care team (ophthalmic nurses, orthoptists, optometrists and ophthalmic technicians). Consultant Medical Ophthalmologists deliver specialist care in both the traditional acute setting and the developing non-acute setting. The incumbents work in both settings, to ensure access to acute inpatient services if required, sub specialty resources for more complex cases, cross specialty multidisciplinary care and participation in the delivery of on-call services. Patients are provided with specialist care irrespective of whether it is delivered within the traditional acute hospital building or in newly developed and equipped specialist community eye clinics.

Given the frequency of ocular involvement in many systemic diseases, ophthalmologists often work in close collaboration with other specialists including diabetologists, rheumatologists, neurologists, ENT and maxillo-facial surgeons as well as paediatricians, general practitioners and geneticists.

Entry on to the programme is by interview held at the Irish College of Ophthalmologists. An applicant’s undergraduate performance together with their personal and professional attributes, such as, ability to work as a team, communication skills and personal motivation, are all relevant. Successful candidates are appointed to the basic training programme for a three-year period. 

Trainees rotate around the clinical training sites and contracts of employment are issued by the relevant hospitals. Trainees are rotated to a new team every 6 months in order to acquire the skills and competencies required to successfully complete BMT. 

Further information on how to apply and details on the application scorecard for entry to BMT is available below under “Application & Entry”.

Entry on to the National Training Programme (NTP) in Medical Ophthalmology is by annual competitive interview run by the Irish College of Ophthalmologists. Available posts are advertised via this website in November/December of each year.

To apply for the NTP in Medical Ophthalmology a trainee needs to be registered with the Medical Council of Ireland and eligible for trainee specialist registration.

Successful candidates are appointed to the training programme for a three year period. Trainees rotate around the clinical training sites and contracts of employment are issued by the relevant hospitals.

Entry on to the Programme is by competitive interview held at the Irish College of Ophthalmologists.  Your Undergraduates performance together with your personal and professional attributes, such as, ability to work as a team, communications skills and personal motivation, are all relevant. 

Any interested graduate can contact Andrea Farrell, Training and Education Support Administrator at  who can put you in touch with the Dean of Postgraduate Education or other Eye Doctors working throughout the country, whose team, either junior or senior, would be happy to talk to you about a career in Ophthalmology. 

Online Applications for Basic Training in Medical Ophthalmology, commencing July 2024, will open on Wednesday 25th October 2023  and will close 4pm Friday, 2nd February 2024.  Further information on the application, eligibility requirements and English language requirements are outlined in the documents below. We recommend that all interested doctors review the documents below prior to submitting an application.
To submit an online application, please click here. Please note that you will be redirected to the ICO page on the  Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC) website.

Specialist Training Programmes in Ophthalmology

Ophthalmology Application Scorecard


Basic Training in Medical Ophthalmology BMT1, BMT2, BMT3.

The purpose of the first three years of Basic Training in Medical Ophthalmology is to provide a broad based initial training in ophthalmology with attainment of knowledge skills and professional behaviours relevant to the practice of ophthalmology in any specialist discipline.  Following successful completion of BMT1, BMT2 & BMT3 (requires passing the MRCSI (ophth) exam), candidates can compete to enter higher training in Medical Ophthalmology HMT4 - 5 

Basic Training is based on a clearly defined curriculum which sets out:

  • Training structure and pathway
  • Educational content
  • Assessment and appraisal processes
  • Examination format and regulations
  • Counselling and support arrangements
  • Multidisciplinary team working
  • Professional behaviour/ethical practice
  • Pattern of life-long learning

There are clearly defined competencies which must be achieved in order to progress to the next phase of training. This curriculum defines the principles and practice of Basic Training BMT1 - BMT3.

Download the Medical Ophthalmology curriculum (PDF Document)

The medical workforce is changing and, over recent years, numerous reports have pointed to the importance of providing flexible working arrangements for doctors. The HSE National Flexible Training Scheme for Specialist Trainees is a national scheme managed and funded by NDTP for supernumerary posts. The scheme facilitates doctors to continue their training in a flexible manner for a set period of time. The HSE National Flexible Training Scheme Guide sets out details of the National Flexible Training Scheme and provides information for trainees, training bodies and employers about the programme.

If you wish to apply to the HSE National Flexible Training Scheme please complete and submit the application form.  Applications for the scheme in 2024 will open on September 11th to November 10th 2023

Financial Supports

There are currently three schemes in operation which provide financial supports to NCHD's and Consultants, funded by the NDTP.

Details of the schemes can be found on the HSE website .