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Have you ever wondered what it takes to qualify as a laser eye surgeon? As you’d expect of any surgical career, this highly skilled profession requires years of study, specialist training and on-the-job experience. Let’s take a closer look at the skills and qualifications needed for a career in laser eye surgery.

Medicine

The first step on the path to becoming a laser eye surgeon is to gain a medical degree. Studying medicine at a UK university takes up to 6 years, after which you can call yourself Doctor. But the hard work doesn’t end there; on registering provisionally with the General Medical Council (GMC), new graduates must complete a 2-year foundation programme, in which they gain experience as a junior doctor under supervision, and have responsibility for caring for patients.

Ophthalmology

ophthalmology Laser eye surgeons are medical doctors trained in ophthalmology (the branch of medicine specialising in eye health). Following their foundation programme, would-be laser eye surgeons should complete ophthalmologist specialist training for a further 7 years. During this time, they will gain a Fellowship in Ophthalmology qualification (FRCOphth) and a Refraction Certificate enabling them to carry out eye examinations and complete prescriptions. The latter part of the training, in years 4-7, covers laser eye surgery and other advanced skills.

Continued professional development

Qualified ophthalmologists must keep their training up to date in order to remain registered with the GMC. They must also be registered with the Royal College of Ophthalmologists; you can contact the RCOphth on 020 7935 0702 or email membership@rcophth.ac.uk to double-check the credentials of your chosen surgeon.

In order to practise as a laser eye surgeon, ophthalmologists should study for the RCOphth’s Certificate in Laser Refractive Surgery. Passing the examinations allows individuals to use the letters “CertLRS” after their name.

Like all doctors, laser eye surgeons will keep studying throughout their careers. Their continued professional development may include attending conferences and workshops related to ophthalmology and laser eye surgery, as well as carrying out research in the field.

Where to work

Laser eye surgery is not routinely available on the NHS, so most laser eye surgeons work in private clinics. Some, like Allon Barsam, may choose to set up their own practice. A career in laser eye surgery means that your skills will be in demand anywhere in the world, so you could consider moving overseas.

Allon Barsam: a career in laser eye surgery

In addition to some impressive medical qualifications, which include a Distinction in Surgery from the University of London Medical School, Allon Barsam has outstanding credentials as a laser eye surgeon par excellence. A world-renowned researcher, laser eye surgical teacher and lecturer, Mr Barsam has successfully pioneered new procedures using cutting-edge technology and won many prizes throughout the course of his career. You can read about some of his laser eye surgery research here.

If you’re wondering what to look for in a laser eye surgeon, here are some factors to consider when checking their skills and experience. Or find out more about renowned laser eye surgeon Allon Barsam and his qualifications and experience.