I am a medical student interested in pursuing a career in ophthalmology. Is there anything that I can do now to improve my future success? 

Ophthalmology is a highly competitive specialty. If as a medical student you are seriously considering a career in ophthalmology, it is worthwhile thinking how you might enhance your curriculum vitae. You may like to include ophthalmology in one of your elective or optional periods. Clinical medical students are eligible to enter the Duke-Elder Prize in Ophthalmology, which is a national competitive MCQ examination run by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. 

Additional ways to improve your CV include:

  • Doing a BMed Sci related to ophthalmology in your intercalated year. This may be ocular anatomy, physiology, pharmacology or microbiology. Extra points will be gained if the study is presented or published. 

  • If you were about to finish your medical study and possess no BMed Sci. or are not interested in doing one, you may consider doing an elective in ophthalmology. You can do so by writing to well known Ophthalmology Institution either in the UK or outside (contact your medical school to find out if anybody has done so in the past or your university eye units for more information about such Institutions; you may also get the addresses from the Internet). It is important to give yourself plenty of time to avoid disappointment as they are quite popular. While doing your elective, you may want to find out if you could participate in any study or help to write up an interesting case report. Any presentation or publication will put you ahead of your competitors.

  • If you were adventurous, you may like to do your elective in a developing country. You can either join an eye camps or primary eye care. The London Institute of Ophthalmology in City Road, London has done excellent works in such countries and would be a good source of information about such services in the developing countries. Again give yourself plenty of time, as you may need to collect all the necessary documents and vaccinations for such trip. You can carry out study to find out the local needs and the ways common eye problems are managed. Photographs and videos will be invaluable for later presentation in either your medical school or some medical meetings. The Royal Society of Medicine in Wimpole Street organizes many medical meetings including ophthalmology, your study is likely to find an audience there. 
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