Why specialise in Ophthalmology?

Ophthalmology is a rewarding specialty with its mix of children and elderly patients, medical and surgical treatments, rapidly advancing technology and fascinating anatomy, physiology and optics. There is a growing demand for ophthalmologists because many diseases of the eye affect the increasingly prevalent older population, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataract. Basic eye assessment is fundamental for general practice and other specialties and there are exciting and revolutionary treatments and technologies appearing regularly that make ophthalmology a rewarding and dynamic specialty.

Career prospects

You would do well to choose a career in Ophthalmology, but even if you just want an introduction to eye conditions for general practice, then a busy Ophthalmology Department is the place to get it. We have four accredited RANZCO training posts, three non-training registrar posts leading up to training posts (or as extended preparations for general practice) and one full-time House Officer (for a less intensive introduction to Ophthalmology for general practice or other specialties.

Medical staff in our service

We have our training registrar posts accredited by RANZCO, three non-training registrar posts leading up to the training posts and one House Officer (with some time dedicated to ophthalmology as well as attending to the general medical needs of our outpatient and surgical patients.)

All about our service

The Canterbury Eye Service at Christchurch Hospital provides acute and elective services at a secondary and tertiary level to the people of Canterbury and Westland and provides tertiary level services to the South Island and quaternary level to people of New Zealand.

The service consists of twelve consultant ophthalmologists, two Fellows, four vocational trainees, three non-vocational training registrars and one House Officer. The Department has a staff of 85 in total.

All subspecialty areas of ophthalmology are covered by Fellowship tribes specialists in our department. The outpatient clinics and Department of Ophthalmology are based on level 2 of the new purpose-built Outpatients Service Building adjacent to the main Christchurch Hospital campus.  Ward, surgical theatres and an after-hours acute clinic room are in the main hospital.

Training registrars run elective clinics and learn surgery under the supervision of a consultant, rotating through various subspecialty runs.

Non-training registrars run acute, elective and some procedural outpatient clinics and attend a weekly theatre session.

The House Officer checks patients’ general fitness for surgery, participates in acute eye clinics, attends one theatre session per week and learns some basic eye procedures in outpatients.

Training in our service

All our resident staff participate in weekly clinical meetings, tutorials, a monthly journal club and can apply to attend courses. RANZCO training is of five years' duration.


Research is encouraged and the opportunity to present papers at national academic meetings is supported. We have an association with the University of Otago Medical and a number of SMOs in our department hold roles as Clinical Lecturer

SMO / Kaimahi (staff) support

Registrars always work under the supervision of a consultant and an on-call consultant is always available to call at any hour of the day or night. The House Officer has medical backup provided by other services in the adjacent hospital and always has access to ophthalmology registrars working with him/her. 

The Medical Staff are well supported by nursing and technical staff such as Orthoptists and Optometrists. 

Advantages to training at Department of Ophthalmology, Canterbury District Health Board

The Department of Ophthalmology offers one of the best supervised and hands-on surgical training experiences in Australasia.


Dr Sean Every
Clinical Director
Phone: (+64 3) 364 0640, ext. 80977 
Email: sean.every@cdhb.heatlh.nz 

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