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.
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The RCSI Undergraduate experience in ophthalmology occurs mainly in the penultimate year of the programme, Senior Cycle 1. Following a short didactic course, the focus is on patient-based experiential learning in a variety of settings in the hospital.
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 opportunities to develop the requisite skills of a practising doctor.
Clinical and research electives are also available for those interested in expanding their knowledge and experience in ophthalmology beyond the core curriculum.
The department is also responsible for the assessment of postgraduate 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.
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, which has a laboratory in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics in St Stephen’s Green. With funding support from the Health Research Board, the European Commission (EU FP7 2013) 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 also 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 the Department of Rheumatology in St Vincent’s University Hospital in the area of giant cell arteritis and uveitis-related spondyloarthritis and with the NICB at Dublin City University in the area of corneal tissue engineering.