See how to become a ophthalmic nurse with our career guide
What is an Ophthalmic Nurse?
An ophthalmic nurse provides holistic nursing care to people with eye conditions and also to people with a visual impairment.
What does an Ophthalmic Nurse do?
The ophthalmic nurse has many roles caring for people of all age groups in hospitals and the community. For example, ophthalmic nurses advise patients about their eye health, eye drops and how to manage their wellbeing. Patients and their family are cared for before, during and following procedures, operations and outpatient clinic visits. Ophthalmic nurses have particular expertise in caring for people with a visual impairment.
What do you get from this role?
It is a privilege to look after someone who may be feeling vulnerable because of treatment for their eye condition or due to temporary or permanent visual impairment.
There are opportunities to undertake further university education in ophthalmic nursing which facilitates progression into careers such as advanced ophthalmic nurse practitioner, and into management, research, education roles.
What do you need to apply?
Entry requirements for nursing degree courses vary because each university sets its own entry criteria, but you are likely to need at usually three A-levels, Highers, or equivalent qualifications at Level 3, plus supporting GCSEs including English, maths, and a science (usually biology or human biology).
Courses often specify preferred or essential A level, Higher, or equivalent subjects, such as one science (for example biology) or social science (for example psychology). Some universities offer courses with a foundation year for those without the necessary entry qualifications.
What skills do you need?
Communication skills, empathy, understanding and ability to think about the person as an individual.
What does your working day look like?
Ophthalmic nursing is so varied no two days are the same. The working day depends on the ophthalmic clinical area, so it could be working shifts in wards or in clinics or operating theatres. Read about a day in the life of an Ophthalmic Nurse who cares for patients with eye cancer.