One of the premier residency programs in North America, the Ophthalmology Residency Training Program at the University of Ottawa established in 1963. Since then, many residents have graduated and now practice throughout North America and in several countries overseas.
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 first year of broad-based clinical exposure, the residents are ready to begin their four core years of ophthalmology. Throughout the four years, there are dedicated formal lecture times and seminars which continue throughout the academic year. Also, the Department sponsors an active Visiting Professors’ Program attracting world-class clinicians and scientists and a journal club is held monthly with both faculty and community ophthalmologist participating. Residents attend a number of conferences throughout the year and are encouraged to make presentations at national and international ophthalmic meetings. The academic highlight of the year is the resident Scientific and Research Day. Residents and Fellows present the results of their research projects to staff and community ophthalmologists and a visiting professor is invited to give the J.D. Allen Lecture (named after the chairman of the Department at the time when the first residents were enrolled).
The new curriculum, encompassing four years of training, has dedicated research time, elective and more in-depth exposure to subspecialties. The resident’s progress is closely monitored in clinics, operating room and teaching sessions and by practice oral examinations. All residents write the OKAP (Ophthalmic Knowledge Assessment Program) exam in the spring of each year.
The Department of Ophthalmology has continued to grow and now consists of forty-five full-time and part-time ophthalmologists and two PhDs. Voluntary part-time ophthalmologists make a major contribution to the Program, devoting their time to teach, to supervise clinics, and to assist residents in surgical cases.
The faculty is consistently amazed at the quality of applicants. Unfortunately, with only two to three residency positions funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care available each year, the selection process is extremely difficult.
Many changes will occur in Postgraduate Medical Education in the future and the faculty is committed to maintaining the level of excellence it has achieved over the years.