Academic Curriculum

The UBC Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences offers postgraduate medical education for doctors pursuing a career in ophthalmology. Programs begin in July of each year.

To produce a high-quality Ophthalmologist, a multi-faceted individual who has:

  • The ability to exercise sound clinical judgment and skills in dealing with ophthalmic medical, surgical and optical problems.
  • the ability to communicate with patients
  • the ability to recognize their limitations and has the desire to continue to update their knowledge
  • the highest ethical standards of the profession.
  • the opportunity to develop strong research skills
  • the opportunity to develop teaching skills.
  • the ability to adequately prepare for professional examination.

Competence by Design (CBD) is the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada’s major change initiative to reform the training of medical specialists in Canada. It is based on a global movement known as Competency-based medical education (CBME), and is led by the medical education community. The objective of CBD is to ensure physicians graduate with the competencies required to meet local health needs. It aims to enhance patient care by improving learning and assessment in residency.

In 2023, all post-graduate ophthalmology programs across Canada have begun the transition to CBD.  Residents will progress through 4 stages of training over the 5 years of their ophthalmology residency at UBC:

  1. Transition to Discipline: Provides an orientation to the program, the clinical learning environment, etc. In this stage, residents in our program spend 1 month in various adult and pediatric ophthalmology clinics.
  2. Core: Develops the resident’s fundamental knowledge and skills in medicine and surgery to assess and provide initial management of patients presenting with a broad range of common presentations relevant to Ophthalmology. In this stage, residents rotate through a variety of non-ophthalmology rotations (e.g. internal medicine, emergency, neurology, etc). They also spend some time in ophthalmology clinics, both through regular call-back days and through a dedication ophthalmology block. In addition, residents attend the TORIC course during the Core stage.
  3. Foundations: Provides experience in all aspects of Ophthalmology with patients of all ages. Residents build on the broad base of knowledge and skills acquired in Foundations to add abilities related to the assessment and diagnosis of the breadth of ophthalmic presentations and management using all available treatment modalities. Residents will also perform the procedural skills required for practice in Ophthalmology. This stage spans the majority of residency training, encompassing approximately 3.5 years and includes exposure to areas such as retina, cornea, glaucoma, oculoplastics, pediatrics ophthalmology, neuro-ophthalmology, uveitis, oncology, low vision, and emergency clinics. There are also dedicated OR blocks where residents gain experience in cataract and other surgical procedures.
  4. Transition to practice: Consolidates skills required to manage a practice, including an outpatient clinic and ophthalmic procedures. This stage also serves to prepare residents for independent practice, with instruction and experience in areas of administrative and professional responsibility, including implementing a plan for lifelong learning and continuing professional development. In this stage, residents spend time in a variety of clinical settings relevant to their personal practice goals.

Research: There are many excellent clinical and basic science researchers within the Department of Ophthalmology at UBC.  As such, there are many research opportunities and there is a dedicated Resident Research Director who helps provide guidance and support.  There is an expectation that each resident presents at the Departmental Annual Research Day.

Teaching: Within our program, residents are actively involved in teaching – opportunities range from teaching each other, more junior residents and medical students!   At UBC, the Office of Faculty Development and the PGME office supports the Residents as Teachers initiative.  This initiative is supported by our program and many of our residents have completed all of the modules!

Electives & Selectives:  Within the residency training program, dedicated blocks are scheduled into senior resident rotations to allow time to explore areas of special interest.

All applications to the UBC Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences Residency Training Program are processed through the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CARMS).

Please visit the CaRMS Website for more information