Department of Ophthalmology

Professor Lorraine Cassidy is the Trinity Professor of Ophthalmology at the Eye and Ear Hospital.

The TCD Department of Ophthalmology comes under the auspices of the Department of Surgery in TCD, and is clinically based in the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital in Adelaide Road. It was established on 1st November 2001. The aim of the Department is to provide teaching for fifth year medical students.   This is done by formal lectures, and tutorials and seminars for small groups of students during two-week rotations in the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital.

In the past, Ophthalmology has been taught on a very formal basis, with very little focus on clinical skills, so Professor Cassidy altered the methods of teaching in order to focus more on clinical skills.   A learning centre has been established in the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital where medical students are taught how to perform a comprehensive ophthalmic examination and use diagnostic aids and equipment.   Each student is examined in their skills by Objective Structured Clinical Skills examination at the end of their rotational visit.

There is also a small library for the medical students in the hospital.   Students are encouraged to sit the Duke Elder Prize Examination, which is held on a yearly basis and is set by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, London.   Approximately two hundred and fifty to three hundred medical students from all over England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales sit this examination every year.   It is a very competitive and prestigious exam. and is of a very high standard.   Professor Cassidy’s students have twice won this very prestigious prize, and Dr. Sorcha ni Dhubhghaill, who with Dr. Oliver Tobin is a previous winner, is now conducting research in the Department.

Students are also encouraged to come to the Department during the summer for electives if they are interested in Ophthalmology, and some students have submitted papers to the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

The Department of Ophthalmology is undergoing continuous development.   Podcast versions of Professor Cassidy’s lectures are currently being organised for the Ophthalmology Website, which is an innovation in that it allows students to learn in transit through the medium of MP3 players and Ipods.

The core objective of the Department, which is to provide all doctors with basic clinical ophthalmic skills, will become manifest in the next couple of years when these young graduate doctors begin practising in the community.

Professorial Team outline

RCSI– 1 Professor, 1 full-time lecturer/registrar, 2 part-time lecturers, 1 secretary

  • The Professor lectures the medical students, teaches in the clinics (large screen is attached to the slit-lamp) and oversees the undergraduate examination at RCSI which currently occurs every six weeks.
  • He also oversees the paper for the yearly MCQ examination for the Penang Medical College, Malaysia. The Professor is also invited to travel to Penang with another in-house ophthalmologist to examine in the clinical part of this examination. This examination in Penang is shared with the UCD Chair and rotates every 3 years through the RCSI Chair.
  • The Professor may travel overseas to other institutions to examine in both undergraduate and post-graduate ophthalmology examinations.
  • The Professor also has clinical duties that involve active teaching ward rounds (students may attend), 3 clinics at The Royal Victoria Eye and Ear hospital (students must attend) and one to two theatre sessions per week (students must attend).


  • Full-time RCSI lecturer/ registrar is also involved in ward work, all clinics attached to the Chair, theatre, lecturing, the 6-weekly undergraduate ophthalmology exam, and the yearly MRCOphthal (Irl) Part 2 and Final post-graduate examinations, as well as the setting the yearly MCQ examination for the Penang Medical College, Malaysia. The latter rotates every 3 years through the RCSI Chair.
  • Part-time Lecturers give lectures and clinical tutorials to the students and also attend all clinics attached to the Chair
  • 1 part-time lecturer involved in both the 6 weekly undergraduate examination and the MRCOphthal (Irl) Part 2 post-graduate examinations
  • RCSI medical students – 3 week rotations


  • Whole group (25 students) have access to the lectures which are on line. This group is split into smaller groups that attend either RVEEH or Waterford Regional Hospital for 5 days in the three weeks rotation. At both of these hospitals they have both consultant and lecturer led tutorials, they practice clinical skills at the outpatients and observe operations in theatre.
  • The final fourth medical year undergraduate RCSI Ophthalmology oral examination occurs every 6 weeks for 50 students at RVEEH. Ophthalmology will also be examined the final medical year.
  • The Duke-Elder examination held once a year for RCSI and Trinity medical students at RVEEH.
  • Medical Students (from both Irish and International Medical schools) can attend RVEEH for observational electives in Ophthalmology as part of their required training.


1. Non-consultant hospital doctors( NCHD’s)

  • 7 Senior House Officers- BST, 4Spr-HST, 1Registrar, 3 Lecturer/ Registrars,1 A& E Registrar, 1Orbito-plastic Fellow, 1 Medical Registrar
  • BST AND HST are recognized training posts by the Irish College of Ophthalmologists
  • Requirements – Meetings, publications, presentations, research, audit appraisal

2. Post-Graduate teaching – (approx. 18 sessions per month for 9 months a year)

  • Consultant-led teaching 11 mornings a month for in house NCHD’S
    • 1 Clinical case examination and discussion of appropriate investigation and management- in house patient volunteers (Mr. W J Power)
    • 1 Glaucoma session (Ms. A Doyle)
    • 4 Journal club sessions (Professor L Cassidy
    • 2 Retinal evidence-based sessions (Mr. DJ Kilmartin)
    • 2 Medical retinal sessions (Mr. M Cahill)
    • 1 Accident and Emergency session
    • All 11 with Continuous Medical Education accreditation
      • Weekly 2 hour Thursday afternoon consultant-led post-graduate teaching for RVEEH and Mater NCHDS, RVEEH and Mater Consultants, RVEEH and other Nursing and Orthoptic staff, Community Ophthalmologists, and other practising and retired Ophthalmologists. Medical students are also encouraged to attend.
      • The meeting starts with Clinical case presentations and audits by RVEEH NCHD’s- teams rotate. The Mater may present twice a year. These presentations are often relevant to the feature address.
      • This is followed by invited in house and nation-wide consultant ophthalmologists, International guest speakers (most often consultants) in Ophthalmology. Other guest-speakers in Interview Techniques, General Medicine, Laboratory Sciences, Medico-legal affairs, Microbiology, Neurology, Optics, Orthoptics, Otolaryngology, Pathology, Radiology and Research are invited for these meetings. One Thursday a month a video-link with Galway, Letterkenny and Sligo Hospitals is held at the HSEA building and these ophthalmology departments are also invited to participate in the pre-lecture case and audit presentations.
      • Continuous Medical Education accreditation
      • 1 Orthoptic teaching sessions a month (Mr. T McAleer)

Post-graduate examinations – RCSI

  • RCSI Professor and Lecturers
  • Part 1 MRCOphthal (Irl) Multiple choice-examination set by RCSI but overseen by the Professor
  • Part 2 MRCOphthal(Irl)

Link To Trinity College Website