Program Information

The program goals and objectives are the minimum requirements to graduate in Ophthalmology following four core years of training. Individual differences in talent and capacity will be recognized. The Department provides training through didactic sessions as well as observation and hands on experience. It is the responsibility of the residents, to take the fullest possible advantage of these opportunities to not only qualify for the examinations, but also to become an accomplished ophthalmologist.

The day-to-day performance in the clinic, rounds, operating room, Journal Club and teaching sessions provides the basis for the resident evaluations. Mock orals and the examinations throughout the year provide additional opportunities for assessment.

Each month, the program celebrates the achievements of a resident through a  “Resident of the Month” award. This is an acknowledgment of the hard work and dedication to the program as voted by the group of residents.

General Goals

To produce a high-quality ophthalmologist who can function as a:

Medical expert by

  • demonstrating diagnostic and therapeutic skills for ethical and effective patient care;
  • accessing and applying relevant information to clinical practice;
  • demonstrating effective consultation services with respect to patient care, education and legal opinions.

Communicator by

  • establishing therapeutic relationships with patients and families;
  • obtaining and synthesizing relevant history from patients / families / communities;
  • listening effectively
  • discussing appropriate information with patients/families and the healthcare team.

Collaborator by

  • consulting effectively with other physicians and healthcare professionals;
  • contributing effectively to other intra-disciplinary team activity.

Leader by

  • utilizing resources effectively to balance patient care, learning needs and outside activities;
  • allocating finite healthcare resources wisely;
  • working effectively and efficiently in the healthcare organization;
  • utilizing information technology to optimize patient care, learning and other activities

Health advocate by

  • identifying the important determinants of health affecting patients;
  • contributing effectively to improve health of patients and communities;
  • recognizing and responding to those issues where advocacy is appropriate;

Scholar by

  • developing, implementing and monitoring a personal continuing education strategy;
  • critically appraising sources of medical information;
  • facilitating learning of patients, house staff/students and other health professionals by contributing to development of new knowledge.

Professional by

  • delivering highest quality care with integrity, honesty and compassion;
  • exhibiting appropriate personal and intrapersonal professional behaviours
  • practising medicine ethically, consistent with obligations of a physician.
  • To provide an opportunity to develop research skills.
  • To provide an opportunity to develop teaching skills.
  • To provide the basic and clinical knowledge and skills to pass professional examinations in the specialty (Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and American Boards).
Curriculum Overview

The University of Ottawa provides a five-year comprehensive training in ophthalmology, leading to eligibility to write the Royal College specialty examinations in ophthalmology. Following the PGY-1 year, which is designed to give a broad-based clinical exposure, the residents start their four core years of ophthalmology.



The first year will provide a broad clinical background for residents entering ophthalmology. This will include 50 to 60% of the year in medicine, with exposure to general medicine, intensive care, ambulatory, endocrinology, neuro-radiology, and neurology. Non-medicine rotations would include plastic surgery, ENT, paediatric emergency, and adult emergency. There is a four-week elective block. In May, the residents spend two weeks in ophthalmology clinics, before going to the Toronto Ophthalmology Introductory Course (TORIC).



The residents are introduced to ophthalmology. The second-year residents participate in both general and subspecialty clinics.

During this year, residents are mainly based at the University of Ottawa Eye Institute and the Riverside Eye Care Centre, with a a block in Ophthalmic Diagnostics.

During the Ophthalmic Diagnostics rotation there is dedicated time to learn contact lens fitting and management of the low vision patient.



The highlight of this year is an intensive four-month rotation at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Paediatric Ophthalmology under the direction of paediatric ophthalmology and strabismology specialists. During this rotation, the residents have a weekly seminar series that covers all aspects of paediatric ophthalmology and strabismus. The surgical training is particularly rewarding and allows the residents to gain a comprehensive experience in routine strabismus procedures. The remaining rotations of the year are based at the University of Ottawa Eye Institute. There is a two-month oculoplastics rotation. Dedicated research time will be available. During the remaining rotations, the residents will continue to acquire expertise in the general and sub-specialty clinics as well as develop their skills in cataract, glaucoma and retina-vitreous surgery.


In this year, time is devoted to further developing clinical skills in the general and subspecialty clinics while gaining further experience in cataract surgery including phacoemulsification, glaucoma, oculoplastics and retina-vitreous. The resident has the opportunity to serve as Chief resident and be responsible for the organization of the resident on-call schedule, resident clinics, O.R. and journal club.


The curriculum ensures that the resident has a solid grounding in general ophthalmology, has attained a high level of surgical expertise and is adequately prepared to take the Royal College examinations in May/June of that year. In the final year, in addition to perfecting clinical skills in all areas of surgery and in the general and specialty clinics, time is available for research and electives as well as any remedial training that is deemed necessary. Block rotations during the final year allow the resident to function at an advanced level on different subspecialty services as well as an opportunity to gain experience in community general ophthalmologists' practices. These block rotations allow the resident to spend 2-3 blocks in each of the following subspecialty areas glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology, retina, oculoplastics, cornea and anterior segment, including photorefractive surgery.

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