Postgraduate Diploma in Ophthalmology

Postgraduate Diploma Ophthalmology


The Postgraduate Diploma Ophthalmology programme is designed specifically for Primary Care Physicians, and other healthcare professionals e.g. optometrists, nurses and orthoptists, to build on your existing knowledge, skills and experience and develop mastery in the clinical and service aspects of Ophthalmology.

  1. The Rila Institute of Health Sciences administers the programme, which is validated by the University of Plymouth
  2. This means that when you successfully complete all parts of the programme, you will receive the University of Plymouth qualification of a Postgraduate Diploma in Ophthalmology, and may if you wish, attend the graduation ceremony.
  3. You will enrol as a student of the Rila Institute of Health Sciences and will be registered with the University.
  4. Should you not complete the full programme, then you will be provided with a transcript recording the individual elements of the programme successfully completed.

General information – Postgraduate Diploma Ophthalmology:

Rila Institute of Health Sciences has developed a Postgraduate Diploma in Ophthalmology to be offered to students from the UK and overseas.

  1. The programme has been designed specifically for Primary Care Physicians, Optometrists and Orthoptists wishing to gain experience in the management of clinical and service aspects of Ophthalmology.
  2. The course runs over approximately 9 to 11 months. For exact course dates and locations please check the website.
  3. The course integrates several components of learning. There are reading topics available on-line. Understanding of these core topics is assessed through a series of online Higher Order Thinking Questions.
  4. The reading topics i.e. resource learning material, which are specifically commissioned by Rila Institute of Health Sciences, cover the essential elements in developing core knowledge and skills in Ophthalmology.
  5. Workshop/lectures are held at the start of the course in the international regional centre, but usually in the UK. This is structured to include lectures and a one day workshop relevant to developing a sound basis for Ophthalmology.
  6. Workshop/lectures will also be held during the course.
  7. Situational Judgement Tests and Learning will provide experience in core domains for a clinician e.g. Professionalism, Patient Focus, Effective communication, Working under pressure, Working within a Team
  8. Assessment is partly by continuous assessment of the reading topics and mini-tests, both carried out online. There will also be a final examination held in the international regional centre or UK.

Structure of the Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma:

  1. There are 3 modules leading to the Postgraduate Diploma level award.
  2. In each period of 5-7 days, a particular topic (detailed in the programme calendar) is studied by way of a specially written article. Each topic is assessed by way of Higher Order Thinking Questions, for which there is a deadline date. A number of timed mini-exams are conducted online, and the student is strongly recommended to participate in this activity.
  3. Workshop/lectures, held in the international regional centre at the start of each programme. This will provide tutorials, lectures and practical demonstrations.
  4. You will also have an opportunity to meet other doctors on the course and medical staff from the UK and overseas.
  5. You will be expected to participate in the online clinical activity and will be graded by the online facilitator. You must attain a “satisfactory” grade.

Course Syllabus

Postgraduate Diploma comprises Modules 1, 2 and 3

Module 1: Core generic knowledge & skills

  • Determinants of health
  • Lifestyle factors in health
  • Identification of risk factors
  • Nutrition and health
  • Breaking bad news.

Module 2: Advances in Ophthalmology

Topics include:

  • Basic anatomy & physiology, ophthalmological history taking, red eye/conjunctivitis, acute angle closure glaucoma, acute anterior uveitis, cornea (infection, itchy & watery eyes), central retinal vein occlusion, central artery occlusion, amaurosis fugax/visual obscurations, retinal detachment, refractive errors, clinical assessment of cataract, preop cataract assessment, cataract surgery, postop cataract care, age related macular degeneration, primary open angle glaucoma, secondary glaucoma, visual fields (defects/recognition), ocular tumours, periocular lumps/bumps, diabetic eye disease (screening/diagnosis), treatment of diabetic eye disease, the eye & systemic disease, cranial verve palsies/botox, paediatric eye disease, congenital defects

Module 3: Clinical Practice in Ophthalmology

Clinical skills related to the following procedures. These are presented as a series of specially selected key video clips to enable you to understand the procedure and the steps required. Assessment of clinical skill competency is not within the remit of this award. You are strongly recommended to access hands-on clinical sessions with a local clinical specialist to further enhance your skills outside of the programme.

a. Measurement of visual function:

  • Snellen & reading vision
  • Logmar
  • Contrast sensitivity
  • Paediatric visual assessment

b. Visual fields & interpretation

  • Automated tests (Humphrey VFA)

c. Intraocular pressure measurement

  • Goldman, totnpen or pulsair

d. Adnexal assessment

  • Lid position
  • Exophthalmometry

e. Biometric assessment

  • Measurement of spectacle prescription
  • Autorefraction
  • Autokeratometry
  • Understand a and b scan measurement

f. Slit-lamp assessment

  • Biomicroscopy including corneal assessment (+/- Placido disc)
  • Gonioscopy
  • Diagnostic contact lens measurement
  • Accessory lens examination (90D 78D superfield etc)

g. Ophthalmoscopy

  • Direct
  • Indirect

h. Screening for squint

  • Corneal lit reflexes/cover test
  • Ocular excursions

i. Procedures

  • Irrigation of chemical injury & assessment of pH
  • Corneal foreign body removal +/- rust ring removal & eye pad application
  • Sub tarsal foreign body removal
  • Corneal scrape for infected ulcer
  • Bandage contact lens supervision
  • Lid taping for exposure/entropion
  • Instillation of eye drops
  • Syringing +/- Jones dye test
  • Schirmers test for dry eyes
  • Conjunctival swabs
  • Removal of concentrations

Time allocation for the Postgraduate Diploma:

  • Approximately one half to one full day a week is recommended as being the suggested allocation time for each of the programmes.

Minimum Requirements for the web learning aspects:

  1. A specific area of the Rila Institute of Health Sciences website is dedicated to the Postgraduate Diploma in Ophthalmology.
  2. You will be issued with a user name and password.
  3. You MUST have computer access to the internet and it will be your responsibility to ensure that this is the case.
  4. The website will provide facilities such as Forums, a Bulletin Board, online Chat Room etc.
  5. You will be provided with information on how to use the web site.

Admission criteria:

Participants admitted to this programme will need to meet the following criteria:

Provide a satisfactory reference from a senior health care practitioner or line manager with knowledge of your work and experience, and who is able to support your suitability to participate in the programme.

Plus, fulfil one of the following two criteria:

  • Be in possession of an MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) an equivalent medical degree from a World Health Organization recognised institution or
  • Be an Optometrist.

Note that if the medical degree or other qualification was not taught in the English language a score of 5.5, in all elements, in the British Council IELTS test, or equivalent (e.g. Test of English as a Foreign Language) will usually be required

Award of the Postgraduate Diploma:

  1. You are strongly recommended to complete the formative assessments related to each topic and the mini online exams. Try and attain at least 50% marks.
  2. The final examination, to be held in the central location, is mandatory for all students.
  3. The final examination MUST be passed for the Diploma (Modules 1, 2 and 3) to be awarded.
  4. The final examination consists of a paper-based format of Higher Order Thinking Assessments (Single Best Option, Extended Matching Questions, and Clinical Quiz).
  5. The examiners are consultants and an external examiner(s) are appointed by University of Plymouth.

Recognition of the Certificate and Diploma:

  1. You, as a Medical Practitioner or healthcare professional, with the Diploma, will have greater confidence and knowledge to better manage your patients.
  2. Furthermore, you, as a Medical Practitioner or healthcare professional, will be further recognized and appreciated, by clinical colleagues, as having a special interest in Ophthalmology.
  3. The Postgraduate Diploma are academic qualifications.


The Diploma are accredited/validated as follows:

  1. Validated by the University of Plymouth – awarding institution
  2. Approved by the General Optical Council for Continuing Education and Training  (CET)

Organisations involved

  1. University of Plymouth with whom the candidates are registered and who control the quality assurance and the award of the final diploma.
  2. The UK and overseas-based specialists in Ophthalmology, provide the content, curriculum and clinical guidance, and host the final examination.
  3. Rila Institute of Health Sciences, London, which is a collaborative organisation of the University, provides all administrative and logistical support to the course.

Programme handbook and Extenuating circumstances
Full details of the PG Diploma and the process for extenuating circumstances and withdrawal can be found in the Programme Handbook.

If you have any questions, then upon request, our enrolment advisor will contact you with help and/or assistance with your application.

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