University of Sydney Handbooks - 2018 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


The Cataract and Refractive Surgery program equips students with knowledge of cataract and refractive surgery theory and practice. The online component of the course includes lectures from internationally recognised corneal and refractive surgeons and interactive online discussions with the course coordinators. Students are also given the opportunity to attend a week of workshops and wet labs at the Sydney Eye Hospital as well as undertaking placements in accredited refractive surgical centres.

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.

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 (Cataract and 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 delivered online.

Each of the following core units of study requires one semester of study to complete and is taught online:

  • Ophthalmic Anatomy
  • Ophthalmic Optics
  • Cataract and Refractive Surgery 1
  • Cataract and Refractive Surgery 2

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 October/November. Students are required to attend a one-week full-time course (5 days) held at the Sydney Eye Hospital and ophthalmic clinics in Sydney. Students are also required to undertake a clinical placement in an accredited refractive surgery centre. This can be completed in the student's home town or arranged for them in Sydney. Assessment is 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 enquiries

Discipline of Clinical Ophthalmology and Eye Health
Phone: +61 2 9382 7284