Basic Specialist Training

Basic Specialist Training is for three years with six monthly hospital contracts.

All SHO posts in the seven teaching units are recognised for basic specialist training (ref; ICO/EBO inspection 2007).

Application & Registration

The College advertises and appoints to the National BAsic Specialist Training Programme. Available posts are advertised via this website in January of each year. Entry to the programme is by competitive interview.
Successful candidates are appointed to one of three rotations for a three year period.

The BST Regional Training Programmes include 3 rotations;

  • (No. 1) Royal Victoria Eye & Ear Hospital & Sligo General Hospital
  • (No. 2) Mater Hospital, University College Hospital Galway & Waterford Regional Hospital
  • (No.3) Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick & Cork University Hospital

Specific allocations will be determined for each trainee by the regional hospital.

Each training position has a unique post number issued by the ICO in addition to the trainees Medical Council number

Trainees must have full registration with the Irish Medical Council.

Contracts of employment are issued by the relevant hospitals.

Trainees attend an induction day in the College prior to the commencement of their post.


Basic Specialist Training is a common trunk of training which is undertaken by all trainees.

It is intended to introduce trainees to the principles of ophthalmology and ophthalmic surgery in general and to give them the knowledge, skills and attitudes which are required by all trainees.

BST 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
  • BST introduces trainees to the specialty of ophthalmology and ophthalmic surgery and to the care and management of the ophthalmic patient;
  • Principles of assessment and investigation of the surgical patient (elective / emergency)
  • Pre-operative preparation, peri-operative management and postoperative care of the surgical patient.
  • Principles of operative surgery and theatre etiquette.
  • Surgical and multidisciplinary team working
  • Professional behaviour/ethical practice
  • Pattern of life long learning

Career progression pathway

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

Download the curriculum (MS Word Document)


The MRCSI (ophth) is run by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

MRCSI/FRCSI Ophthalmology (Adobe PDF / 300 KB)

Please visit for further details.

For further information on the funding available from the HSE Medical Education & Training Unit for exam fees please review this document


Maintenance of a detailed validated elogbook by trainees is essential to include surgical procedures, laser treatments and certificates of attendance at post graduate teaching.

Download logbook template


Trainees are assessed every six months in the Irish College of Ophthalmologists.

Trainees must submit two weeks in advance of their assessments the following documentation:

  1. Consultant Trainer(s) completed CAPA assessment form
  2. Up to date CV, including contact details
  3. Summary of logbook, including courses, examination completed, meetings & lectures attended, presentations & publications
  4. Current timetable
  5. BST Appriasal Form


On satisfactory completion of all elements of Basic Specialist Training trainees will be awarded a Certificate of Completion of Basic Specialist Training. This certificate signifies that the trainee has performed satisfactorily and has reached the level of competence which is expected at the end of Basic Specialist Training. In order to obtain a Certificate of Completion of Basic Specialist Training, trainees must:

  1. Have a minimum of five satisfactory CAPA Process grades
  2. Have passed the MRCSI Examination or equivalent

Trainees are eligible to apply for specialist registration in ophthalmology with the Medical Council when the ICO has issued a Certificate of Satisfactory Completion of Specialist Training in Ophthalmology. Applicants must have completed a minimum of four years duration of training and have documented evidence of satisfactory experience in the core competencies.

The European Board of Ophthalmology Examination is a requirement from 2011 for recommendation for specialist registration for Ophthalmology and will be taken during the final 4th year of specialist training in Ophthalmology. Eligibility for the EBO exam requires success in the MRCSI examination.