An analysis of undergraduate ophthalmology training in Canada
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OBJECTIVE: To investigate the adequacy of undergraduate ophthalmology education in Canada in comparison with the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) guidelines. DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey. PARTICIPANTS: First-year residents who had graduated from Canadian medical schools. METHODS: Eligible residents were invited to participate in an online survey in 2007. Data were categorized by demographic variables, and basic statistics were done. RESULTS: Responses were obtained from 386 of the 1425 individuals (27.0%) contacted. The majority (64.0%) stated they had "too little" or "no exposure" to ophthalmology in medical school. The majority (76.2%) of respondents stated that they had had 1 week or less of overall exposure to ophthalmology. Sufficient exposure to several ICO core subspecialty areas was reported, including lens/cataract (81.1%) and cornea/external diseases (81.6%); however, some areas did not receive adequate time allocation, such as vitreoretinal disease (41.9%). Similarly, competency was obtained in certain ICO examination skills, including assessment of visual acuity (83.3%) and pupillary reflexes (90.7%) but was not achieved for other skills, such as fundoscopy (52.3%), slit-lamp examination (44.8%), and intraocular pressure assessment (19.9%). When asked whether sufficient ophthalmology knowledge and skills had been obtained during medical school, only 42.9% and 25.9% agreed, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Undergraduate ophthalmology training in Canada contains gaps in certain key areas. Developing a national, standardized curriculum could ensure that medical students acquire competency in the ophthalmology knowledge and skills required for future clinical practice.
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