Short courses


Introduction to Research Methods in Ophthalmology

  • 6 hours self-study
  • 14 hours of lectures (pre-recorded)


This online self-paced course is aimed at those who are new to research.

The course will focus on three core themes: Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Health Economics. It will provide students with the core knowledge to understand, interpret and appraise published research as well as a foundational skill set for conducting their own research within ophthalmology.

This course is run jointly by the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital

Who this course is for 

This course is designed for for the following health care professionals who want to learn more about the principles of research in ophthalmology:

  • ophthalmologists
  • optometrists
  • orthoptists
  • nurses
  • health care technicians
  • general physicians
  • medical students 

Course content 


This section includes an introduction to disease measurement at a population level and key aspects of epidemiological study design and analysis, such as bias, confounding, validity and reliability. You will learn about at the following epidemiological study designs, discuss their strengths and limitations, and discuss how to critically appraise and interpret epidemiological research:

  • Observational study designs: cross-sectional, cohort and case-control studies
  • Interventional study design: randomised Controlled Trials

You'll also look at studies from each category within ophthalmology, including key studies important in ophthalmic public health such as the ‘Global Burden of Disease Study’ – Prevalence and Causes of Blindness and Visual Impairment.

Basic Statistics

This section covers the basics of biostatistics, suitable for those new to quantitative research. You will learn about:

  • Different types of data
  • Summary statistics and graphical display of data
  • Hypothesis testing
  • p values
  • Confidence intervals
  • Statistical tests
  • Measures of association.

Health Economics

This section includes an introduction to health economics and economic evaluation in health care. It is increasingly important for researchers undertaking studies on healthcare interventions to incorporate economic evaluation into their study design and for healthcare workers to understand how economic evaluation influences and translates into health policy. You will learn about:

  • The principles and key concepts within health economics
    • Scarcity of resources
    • Opportunity cost
    • Efficiency
    • Marginal analysis
    • Equity
  • Different forms of economic evaluation and measures of health outcomes
    • Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs)
    • Vision Related Quality of Life (VRQOL)
  • Methods for Cost-Effectiveness Analysis
    • Decision analysis
    • Markov models
    • Handling uncertainty 

Teaching and structure 

The course content is designed so that you can go through the topics and pre-recorded lectures online at your own pace. There will be an online forum for asking questions.

The course will be hosted on UCL Extend, UCL's learning platform for short courses and professional education.

Access to the course materials will end one month after the course end date. This will be listed on the course area on UCL Extend.

Certificates and assessment 

There will be a multiple-choice quiz with 20 questions at the end of the course.

A certificate of completion will issued on completion of the multiple choice quiz and course feedback form.

Ophthalmologists are eligible for self-certification of CPD points at 1 point/hour in their portfolio.

Learning outcomes


By the end of this course you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of how epidemiology developed as a discipline and the concept of causation 
  • Identify different measures of health and disease occurrence
  • Demonstrate an understanding of key epidemiological concepts such as measures of incidence and prevalence, bias and confounding, and reliability and validity
  • Evaluate the strengths and limitations of different epidemiological study designs including cross-sectional, cohort, case-control and interventional studies
  • Interpret and critically appraise ophthalmic epidemiological research 

Basic Statistics

By the end of this course you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of different data types, summary statistics and graphical display of data
  • Demonstrate an understanding of hypothesis testing, p values and confidence intervals
  • Identify and interpret statistical tests for different types of data
  • Interpret measures of association in eye health research

Health Economics

By the end of this course you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the key concepts within health economics, including scarcity of resources, opportunity cost, efficiency, marginal analysis and equity
  • Discuss the rational for economic evaluation and identify the various types of economic evaluation
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the measures of health outcome used in economic evaluation including the concept of Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) and Vision-related quality of life (VRQOL) measures
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the methods of cost-effectiveness analysis including decision modelling and how to interpret results including the ICER (incremental cost-effectiveness ratio)


The standard course fee is £850.

Course team

Neda Minakaran

Neda Minakaran

Neda is an Honorary Clinical Lecturer at UCL and a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon specialising in Uveitis and Inflammatory Eye Disease at Kings College Hospital. Previous clinical work in Southern Africa fuelled her interest in public health, health economics and equity, leading to further qualifications and research projects in these disciplines. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and leads the Research in Ophthalmology seminar programme for the UCL MSc Ophthalmology and Clinical Ophthalmic Practice programmes.

Course information last modified: 13 Nov 2023, 13:30