Improving the training abilities of ophthalmic educators: the Ophthalmology Foundation’s initiatives

Improving the training abilities of ophthalmic educators: the Ophthalmology Foundation’s initiatives

Our goal as medical educators is for our students to learn what they need to know and competently perform ophthalmic procedures. In addition, the students need to have good communication skills and behave professionally and ethically (1,2). Most medical educators are not taught how to teach but rather learn by role-modeling their mentors. This can be good or bad depending on the mentor! In addition, the amount of knowledge and numbers of surgical procedures is ever increasing and yet, in most countries, the amount of time to train and become competent is not changing. Thus, our goal of creating competent ophthalmologists is ever more challenging.

The Ophthalmology Foundation (OF) was formed in 2020 with the mission to “…improve global eye care and advance scientific ophthalmology…” (3). To this end, the OF has two main initiatives. The first is to improve subspecialty care by providing subspecialty fellowship opportunities. In collaboration with the International Ophthalmological Fellowship Foundation (IOFF), the OF now offers nearly one hundred 3–12-month fellowships for ophthalmologists from under-resourced countries (4). The second initiative is to improve the training ability of ophthalmic educators. This is done through a variety of face-to-face and online activities.

Face-to-face activities include faculty development symposia and courses at national and supranational ophthalmology society meetings. Multiday “Leaders in Education” programs are specifically designed for countries or regions working to improve teaching skills of their ophthalmic educators (5). Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programs are targeted at specific national projects. Online courses include more than 20 modules created by international ophthalmology educators aimed at improving all aspects of ophthalmology training. This special AES edition is based on a portion of these online teaching skill modules. In addition, an online mentorship program is available for ophthalmologists (6,7).

In this special series on improving teaching skills, a wide variety of topics are discussed. These include teaching in the clinic and operating room with techniques for giving effective feedback, ethics curriculum and how to teach professionalism, and how to appropriately assess competence. We thank all the authors for their contributions.


Funding: None.


Provenance and Peer Review: This article was commissioned by the editorial office, Annals of Eye Science for the series “Improving Teaching Skills in Ophthalmology”. The article did not undergo external peer review.

Conflicts of Interest: All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form (available at The series “Improving Teaching Skills in Ophthalmology” was commissioned by the editorial office without any funding or sponsorship. K.G. served as the unpaid Guest Editor of the series and serves as an unpaid editorial board member of Annals of Eye Science from November 2023 to October 2024. Y.C.C., G.P. and M.S. served as unpaid Guest Editors of the series. K.G. is a volunteer ophthalmic educator for the Ophthalmology Foundation. The authors have no other conflicts of interest to declare.

Ethical Statement: The authors are accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

Open Access Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0), which permits the non-commercial replication and distribution of the article with the strict proviso that no changes or edits are made and the original work is properly cited (including links to both the formal publication through the relevant DOI and the license). See:


  1. The Milestones Guidebook. Available online:
  2. CanMEDS. Available online:,education%20and%20practice%20in%20Canada
  3. Announcing the New Ophthalmology Foundation. Available online:
  4. Fellowships. Available online:
  5. Leaders in Education. Available online:
  6. ProgramsMentoring. Available online:
  7. OFEC Teaching Skills for Ophthalmic Educators Online Series. Available online:
Karl Golnik
Yip Chee Chew
Gabriela Palis
Gabriela Palis

Karl Golnik1, MD, MEd

1Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA.(Email:

Yip Chee Chew2, MD

2Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Singapore, Singapore.(Email:

Gabriela Palis3, MD

3Ophthalmology Department, Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.(Email:

Meenakshi Swaminathan4,5, MD

4Capstone Clinic, Chennai, India;5Sri Ramachandra Medical College, Chennai, India. (Email:

Keywords: Ophthalmology Foundation; teaching skills; feedback

Received: 19 January 2024; Accepted: 01 March 2024; Published online: 29 March 2024.

doi: 10.21037/aes-24-8

doi: 10.21037/aes-24-8
Cite this article as: Golnik K, Chew YC, Palis G, Swaminathan M. Improving the training abilities of ophthalmic educators: the Ophthalmology Foundation’s initiatives. Ann Eye Sci 2024;9:6.

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