Present and future of the undergraduate ophthalmology curriculum: a survey of UK medical schools

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Abstract

Objectives: To investigate the current undergraduate ophthalmology curricula provided by the UK medical schools, evaluate how they compare with the guidelines of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) and International Council for Ophthalmology (ICO), and determine the views of the UK ophthalmology teaching leads on the future direction of the curriculum. Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire was sent to teaching leads in 31 medical schools across the UK. The questionnaire evaluated eight themes of the curriculum: content and learning outcomes, communication of learning outcomes, organisation of the curriculum, assessment, educational resources, teaching methods used, and the educational environment. The ophthalmology teaching leads were also asked their opinion on the current and future management of the curriculum. These were compared with RCOphth and ICO guidelines and descriptive statistical analysis performed. Results: A response rate of 93% (n=29/31) was achieved. The knowledge and clinical skills taught by the UK medical schools match the  RCOphth guidelines, but fail to meet the ICO recommendations. A diverse range of assessment methods are used by UK medical schools during ophthalmology rotations. Variation was also observed in the organisation and methods of ophthalmology teaching.  However, a significant consensus about the future direction of the curriculum was reported by teaching leads. Conclusions: Comprehensive RCOphth guidance, and resource sharing between medical schools could help to ensure ophthalmology's continuing presence in the medical curriculum and improve the effectiveness of undergraduate ophthalmology teaching, while reducing the workload of local teaching departments and medical schools.

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Hill, S., Dennick, R., & Amoaku, W. (2017). Present and future of the undergraduate ophthalmology curriculum: a survey of UK medical schools. International Journal of Medical Education, 8, 389–395. https://doi.org/10.5116/ijme.59ac.f69b

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