University of Sydney Handbooks - 2016 Archive

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Cataract and Refractive Surgery

Graduate Diploma in Cataract and Refractive Surgery

Master of Medicine (Cataract and Refractive Surgery)


  Graduate Diploma in Cataract and Refractive Surgery Master of Medicine (Cataract and Refractive Surgery)
Course code GNCAREFS1000 MAMECARS1000
Degree Abbreviation GradDipRefCatSurg MMed(RefCatSurg)
Credit points required to complete 36 48
Time to complete full-time 1 year 1 year
Time to complete part-time 1.5 - 3 years 1.5 - 6 years


Refractive surgery is an ever-expanding area within the field of ophthalmology, encompassing both laser and non-laser vision correction. This has traditionally been performed by surgeons in large private clinics, but in recent years has become accepted as part of mainstream ophthalmic care. Laser eye surgery is now the most frequently performed eye operation in Australia.

The Refractive Surgery program aims to equip students with knowledge of refractive surgery theory and practice, using distance learning complemented by a two-week placement in an accredited refractive surgical centre, including time spent in the wet lab at Sydney Eye Hospital. The program is offered jointly by the University of Sydney and the University of Auckland, and is the first of its kind in any country. The lecturers include internationally recognised corneal and refractive surgeons.

Course outcomes

Graduate Diploma in Cataract and Refractive Surgery students will be able to:

  • Understand the indications, limitations and contraindications for refractive surgery
  • Understand the various surgical procedures that are used in refractive surgery
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the corneal and anterior segment imaging used in refractive surgery
  • Understand the medicolegal and ethical issues associated with elective surgery of this type.
  • Understand and critically evaluate the latest research literature and synthesise novel ideas

In addition to the above, Master of Medicine (Refractive Surgery) students will be able to:

  • Collaborate and conduct research in an area related to cataract and/or refractive Surgery

Further information

The majority of the degree is in the form of distance learning.

Each of the following core units of study - Ophthalmic Anatomy, Ophthalmic Optics, Refractive Surgery 1 and Refractive Surgery 2 - requires one semester of study to complete and is taught online. The method of assessment is based on assignments (3x2000 word assignments set every three weeks: 90 percent), problem-based learning modules and online participation (10 percent).

The Practical Refractive Surgery unit of study is offered once a year in November. Students are required to attend a two-week full-time course (2x5 days) held at accredited private refractive surgery centres. Assessment will be based on an online surgical logbook (40 percent) and an observed structured clinical exam (60percent).

Important note

Overseas-trained specialists who wish to practise in Australia will require documentation from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) that they meet RANZCO guidelines for specialist practice in Australia.

Suitably qualified candidates can apply for credit for Ophthalmic Anatomy (OPSC5001) and Ophthalmic Optics (OPSC5003) on the basis of prior learning. Requests for credit must have approval from the Unit of Study Coordinator, the Course Coordinator and the Chair of the Board of Postgraduate Studies before credit will be granted. If credit is approved, students will be exempt from payment for any units for which credit is given.

Further enquires

Postgraduate Coordinator (Education)
Phone: +61 2 9382 7284