A Randomized Trial of Low-Cost Model Eyes for Cataract Surgical Training of Rural Chinese Ophthalmologists

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Centre for Public Health

PhD Funded Studentship

A Randomized Trial of Low-Cost Model Eyes for Cataract Surgical Training of Rural Chinese Ophthalmologists

Project Description

New training models for cataract surgery are needed which can safely support trainees during the transition from novice to experienced surgeon. Dr Will Dean and Prof Matthew Burton at the International Centre for Eye Health (ICEH) have developed and tested a novel cataract surgical training program in Africa, based on the use of high-fidelity, inexpensive, re-usable model eyes. We now propose to carry out a randomized trial comparing training using the model eye with traditional techniques, to study the impact on quality of surgery (assessed by masked grading of videos using the ICO OSCAR system), visual acuity and cost-utility outcomes.

Our research will reduce expenses by piggybacking on an on-going collaborative program between Orbis International, the Chinese MOH, Chinese National Blindness Prevention Committee and Tongren Hosptal (one of China’s largest and best-respected eye hospitals), which will train 120 rural cataract surgeons at 60 county hospitals in 6 provinces. Our collaboration involves internationally-respected vision research teams at ICEH, Queen’s University Belfast and Tongren, while offering opportunities for scale-up and engagement with Chinese policy makers at the highest level. A successful trial proving the training benefits of inexpensive model eyes will make a unique contribution to building the capacity to manage China’s leading cause of blindness, thus furthering the aims of SightFirst and the Chinese Ministry of Health, while improving the lives of Chinese people dwelling in low-resource areas.   


*FUNDING CONFIRMED – Department for the Economy (DfE)*


Fees (Home/EU £4260 for 2018/19 International £19,700) and maintenance (£14,777 for 2018/19)

Entry Requirements 

Candidates should have or expect to obtain a 2:1 or higher Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant public health, psychology, economics or social sciences subject

English Language

Candidates applying from countries where the first language is not English should produce evidence of their competence through a qualification such as IELTS or TOEFL score.

The minimum recommended score for the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science is:
• IELTS score of 6.0 with not less than 5.5 in each of the four component elements of listening, reading, speaking and writing taken within the last 2 years;
• TOEFL score of 80+ (internet basted test), taken within the last 2 years, with minimum component scores of; Listening 17, Reading 18, Speaking 20, Writing 17);
• A valid Certificate of Proficiency in English grade A or B;
• A valid Certificate of Advanced English grade A; or
• A first or upper second class honours degree from a university based in the UK, Republic of Ireland or other suitably quality assured location in a country deemed by the UK Border Agency to be majority English speaking.

For a list of English Language qualifications also accepted by the School and University please see the following link:

The English Language Unit (ELU) offers both pre-sessional and in-sessional courses in English for academic purposes and study skills. Courses vary in length and full information can be obtained from the ELU http://www.qub.ac.uk/tefl/


Dr VF Chan

Closing Date

Closing date for application is: Monday, March 04, 2019

How to Apply

Please refer to 'Entry Requirements' for specific admissions criteria.

Apply online via the Queen's on-line application portal .  Guidance is available on the University’s Prospective Student pages.

When applying for a project, please choose ‘MEDICINE’ as your subject area/School.

Please ensure you adhere to the closing dates.

If you have any further queries please contact:  pgoffice.smdb@qub.ac.uk  or +44 (0) 28 9097 2619/2042.

Please visit the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Centre for Public Health, website for further details about the Centre

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