The RCSI Department of Ophthalmology was established in 1986 and is located at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Adelaide Road, Dublin 2. The department delivers Undergraduate and Postgraduate teaching and assessment and has an active research programme.

The undergraduate experience in ophthalmology occurs mainly in the penultimate year, Senior Cycle 1. Following a short didactic course, the focus is on patient-based experiential learning in a variety of settings in the hospital. Clinical experience is gained at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital and at Waterford University Hospital, a long-standing partner of the RCSI School of Medicine.

The Department of Ophthalmology at RCSI is responsible for the assessment of post-graduate trainees in medical ophthalmology and ophthalmic surgery in Ireland in conjunction with the Irish College of Ophthalmologists. Together, we ensure the highest of standards in training and assessment for early career ophthalmologists. The Membership and Fellowship examinations of RCSI are the core postgraduate assessment instruments for ophthalmology in Ireland.

We have a productive research programme in the areas of ocular inflammation and corneal disease, with strong laboratory and clinical research components. Opportunities are provided to undergraduate and postgraduate students to undertake high-quality research in a collaborative, supportive and stimulating environment. 

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Undergraduate ophthalmology is taught as part of a seven-week module on medicine, surgery, ophthalmology and otolaryngology in Senior Cycle 1. The course comprises a full day of didactic lectures during week one or two and a one-week clinical attachment at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital or University Hospital Waterford during weeks three to six. Emphasis is placed on developing essential clinical skills and using these to assess and manage patients with common and important eye diseases. Week seven of the module is for revision and assessment.

A busy schedule of clinical activities is followed during the clinical attachment. The Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital benefits from a new Education and Conference Centre that provides state-of-the-art facilities for medical education. Experience is gained in the out-patient clinic, eye emergency department and operating theatre. Clinical tutorials, case-based discussion groups, clinical skills sessions and hands-on group teaching with patients give students plenty of opportunity to develop the requisite skills of a practising doctor. Clinical and research electives are available for those interested in expanding their knowledge and experience in ophthalmology beyond the core curriculum.

The RCSI Department of Ophthalmology works in close partnership with the Irish College of Ophthalmologists in delivering assessment for the post-graduate training programmes in medical ophthalmology and ophthalmic surgery.

The MRCSI (Ophth) examinations are taken during the basic specialty training programme and the FRCSI (Ophth) examination is taken at the end of higher specialty training.

The research focus of the Department of Ophthalmology aligns closely with the clinical activities of the Professorial team in the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, namely cornea and external eye disease and ocular inflammation.

We are particularly interested in investigating disease mechanisms in dry eye disease and uveitis and in improving outcomes for patients with a variety of inflammatory diseases through a multidisciplinary collaborative approach to clinical research. 

We established the Ocular Immunology Research Group in 2011. Our laboratory is located in the School of Pharmacy Biomolecular Science in St Stephen’s Green. With funding support from the Health Research Board, the European Commission, The ICO/Novartis Research Bursary and the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital Research Foundation, we are exploring how small genes called microRNA influence the development of dry eye disorders and acute anterior uveitis.

We are part of an international European research consortium called VISICORT in which we are profiling biological specimens from thousands of corneal transplant patients to generate a better understanding of why transplant rejection occurs in some patients and how better outcomes might be achieved through the identification of biomarkers and the use of novel stem cell therapies. Strong long-standing research collaborations exist with St James’s Hospital Department of Haematology and REMEDI at NUIG.

Professor/Chair of Department

Honorary Senior Lecturer

  • John Stokes (University Hospital Waterford)

Senior Clinical Lecturer

  • Emer Henry (University Hospital Waterford)  

Clinical Lecturers

  • Terence McSwiney
  • Denise Curtin


Clinical Tutor

  • Nazri Mohamed (University Hospital Waterford)
  • Emily Greenan