A laser eye surgeon, typically known as an ophthalmologist, offers sophisticated treatment to improve the vision of patients. This is done to eliminate the need for patients to wear glasses and contact lenses. A laser eye surgeon would need to have excellent levels of dexterity and hand-eye coordination as procedures would be complex and demanding.
As with all surgical positions you would first need to attain a medical degree, as certified by the General Medical Council (GMC). This would typically last around five years. A two year foundation degree would need to be completed, which would include general training, surgical training and further specialist training. You would then need to apply for specialist training in ophthalmology, which would usually last around seven years and lead to a Certificate of Completion of Training.
You will need a minimum of five GCSEs graded A-C in subjects including science and mathematics, followed by the attainment of three A Levels graded AAB, including biology and chemistry, in order to be accepted on to a medical course. A medical degree would give you solid grounding in science and medicine, with a great level of practical experience. The foundation degree would add to your skills and knowledge. The seven year specialist training in ophthalmology would give you the basic skills of a laser eye surgeon. With experience and seniority would come more responsibility and theatre sessions.
Work experience is a valuable asset to any student wishing to enter a medical degree. This will demonstrate your desire to enter the profession and would give you valuable experience in a medical setting. You can contact local hospitals and laser eye surgery clinics to see if there are any work experience placements available. The NHS Jobs section is also a good resource.
Career pathway after graduation
Once graduated from your university course you will need to undertake the foundation and further specialist training as described above. During your specialist training in ophthalmology you will learn specialist surgical skills and undertake more surgical sessions. With experience you can choose to remain in the NHS or may even choose to join a private laser eye clinic. In the future you may even have the chance to open your own practice.