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LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 68  |  Issue : 10  |  Page : 2316-2318

Academic quality of incoming ophthalmology residents in India: Concerns for the future


1 Faculty of Medicine, King George's Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
2 Department of Ophthalmology, King George's Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication23-Sep-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Siddharth Agrawal
Department of Ophthalmology, King George's Medical University, Lucknow - 226 003, Uttar Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_1154_20

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How to cite this article:
Ozair A, Singh KK, Agrawal S. Academic quality of incoming ophthalmology residents in India: Concerns for the future. Indian J Ophthalmol 2020;68:2316-8

How to cite this URL:
Ozair A, Singh KK, Agrawal S. Academic quality of incoming ophthalmology residents in India: Concerns for the future. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Oct 20];68:2316-8. Available from: https://www.ijo.in/text.asp?2020/68/10/2316/295659



Dear Editor:

We note with concern, for ophthalmology, the results of round-1 seat allotment for National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test—Post-Graduation (NEET-PG) 2020, declared in April 2020.[1] Except for a few institutions, all-India ranks (AIRs) on the NEET-PG perform as the sole admission criterion to the majority of residency positions in India, and thereby to a career as specialist. Top rankers here represent the finest candidates offered by our medical education system. Currently, India has 1616 MD/MS, 103 Diploma, and 292 DNB (post-MBBS) positions for ophthalmology training.[2]

Unfortunately, top AIRs have continued to ignore ophthalmology, as per last available data since NEET-PG 2017, when the exam began. In 2020, not a single examinee under-100 AIR chose ophthalmology, while seven of top-10 AIRs picked general medicine.[1] Similarly, no more than 2 in top-500 AIR and 10 in top-1000 AIR in each year have chosen ophthalmology. This year also saw the least number of candidates in both top-2500 and top-5000 AIRs choosing ophthalmology [Figure 1].
Figure 1: The graphs provide data of the number of candidates preferring ophthalmology residency via the NEET-PG, from its introduction as NEET-PG 2017, till the year 2020, amongst (a) the top-500 all-India ranks (AIRs); (b) the top-1000 AIRs; (c) the top-2500 AIRS; and (d) the top-5000 AIRs

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Regarding the academic quality of incoming ophthalmology residents in India, these observations are perturbing, considering the speciality's extremely competitive nature in developed nations. In the USA, where US Medical Licensing Examination Step-1 scores serve as a critical surrogate of competitiveness, average score for applicants accepted to ophthalmology usually hovers amongst the highest of all specialities.[3],[4] Similarly, in the UK, as per “competition ratios”, i.e., number of applicants per training position, ophthalmology is highly preferred as a speciality.[5]

Urgent action on multiple fronts, led by All India Ophthalmological Society, is warranted to encourage the best candidates to choose ophthalmology. While we have been addressing ways to improve our residency and fellowship programmes, time and again, this important aspect has been largely ignored.[6],[7] These unfortunate findings and ignorance of non-preference for speciality training have been true for otorhinolaryngology (ENT) as well, a field that is taught to MBBS students in the same year as ophthalmology.[8] Good quality seeds grow into the greatest trees; and the time has come to actively work towards acquiring them. Highlighting the obvious advantages of our field to the undergraduates, encouraging greater participation in clinical work, and having online career counselling prior to NEET-PG seat selection are some of the suggestions. We also need to widely promote the virtues of our profession through greater engagement on social media. By viewing third-year students as future trainees and treating them so, we shall go a long way.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Medical Counselling Committee. [Internet] India: Medical Counselling Committee. Final Result Round 1 PG 2020 (Medical): PG Medical Counselling. Available from: https://mcc.nic.in/PGCounselling/Home/ShowPdf?Type=50C9E8D5FC98727B4B BC93CF5D64A68DB647F04F and ID=7EE51D9582EF3D3B56E C2FC25B77FC147D8563E5. [Last cited on 2020 Apr 19].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Medical Council of India (MCI). [Internet] India: Medical Council of India. College and Course Search. Information desk. Available from: https://www.mciindia.org/CMS/informa tion-desk/college-an d-course-search. [Last cited on 2020 Apr 17].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
SF Match, US. [Internet] SF Match. Ophthalmology Residency Match Summary Report 2019. Available from: https://www.sfmatch.org/PDFFilesDisplay/Oph thalmology_Residency_Stats_2019.pdf. [Last cited on 2020 Apr 18].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
National Resident Matching Program, US. [Internet] National Resident Matching Program. Charting Outcomes in the Match: U.S. Allopathic Seniors. Available from: https://mk0nrmp3oyqui6wqfm.kinstacdn.com/w p-content/uploads/2019/10/Charting-Outcomes-in-the-Mat ch-2018_Seniors-1.pdf. [Published 2018 Jul, Last cited on 2020 Apr 18].  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Competition Ratios 2019. National Health Service. [Internet]. Available from: https://specialtytraining.hee.nhs.uk/Por tals/1/Competition%20Ratios%202019_1.pdf. [Last cited on 2020 Apr 17].  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Grover AK. Residency training in India: Time for a course correction. Indian J Ophthalmol 2018;66:743-4.  Back to cited text no. 6
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7.
Narayanan R, Gupta SR, Honavar SG. Fellowship training in India: How to produce leaders? Indian J Ophthalmol 2018;66:1671-2.  Back to cited text no. 7
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
8.
Ozair A, Singh AB. Why are India's best medical graduates not preferring ENT for postgraduate training through NEET-PG? Indian J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Published 30 Jun 2020. Epub ahead of Print, Available from: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12070-020-01926-6  Back to cited text no. 8
    


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