Basic and Clinical Science Course (BCSC) Reading Schedule

There's a lot of material to read in preparation for the OKAP, Written Qualifying Exam, and Oral Board Exam.  It's probably even more daunting as a first-year resident, when everything is completely new and unfamiliar.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has put together a reading schedule that lets you read through every single Basic and Clinical Science Course book (all except for Section 1, Update on General Medicine), starting from July 1 until the end of February.  It's broken up so that you average approximately 20 pages per night, which makes it slightly less painful.  The reading schedule is also arranged so that the higher-yield sections are presented first, to help first-year residents learn the key subjects first.  I think it's a great resource for people who are interested in reading through the BCSC material in less than 1 year.  With this schedule, it is very conceivable for an ophthalmology resident to read through the entire BCSC material 3 times in the course of residency (once per year).

When I was in residency, my fellow residents and I followed a similar reading schedule, with goals set at about 120 pages/week, taking a break for Thanksgiving.  We also decided not to go through Section 1 (Update on General Medicine) and Section 3 (Clinical Optics), instead using Last Minute Optics, by Drs. David Hunter and Constance West.

Since then, due to the many revisions of the BCSC and changes to my personal philosophies of studying, I've made some modifications to the previous reading schedule to ensure that all topics are still covered but the material is not as disjointed as it otherwise might be jumping from book to book with many areas of overlap. It doesn't completely mesh, but it should hopefully get pretty close. You can download a PDF version of the schedule on the Products page.

*I'm in the middle of updating this calendar based off the 2017-2018 edition of the BCSC. Stay tuned! If I can get a copy of the 2018-2019 edition, I will update page numbers and sections at that time.


Week
 

Book(s) (Pages)

Total Pages

Pages Per Week

Topics
 


1

Section 2, Fundamental and Principles of Ophthalmology, Chapters 1-3 (5-107)

103

15

Anatomy, cranial nerves


2


 

Section 2, Fundamentals and Principles of Ophthalmology, Chapters 4-6, 14-16 (111-208, 281-372)

190


 

27


 

Embryology, genetics, free radicals (skim);
ocular pharmacology
 


3

 



 

Section 2, Fundamentals and Principles of Ophthalmology, Chapters 7-8 (213-227)

Section 8, External Disease and Cornea, Chapters 1-2 (3-43)

109

 



 

15

 



 

Physiology of tear film and cornea
 

Structure and function, examination techniques
 


4

 




 




 

Section 8, External Disease and Cornea, Chapters 3-6 (45-132)

Section 6, Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, Chapter 20 (241-260)

Section 4, Ophthalmic Pathology and Intraocular Tumors, Chapters 8 and 12 (107-112, 181-199)

113

 




 




 

16

 




 




 

Ocular surface disease, congenital anomalies, depositions and degenerations

Pediatric cornea and anterior segment abnormalities

 

Pathology of sclera and uveal tract

 


5

 



 

Section 8, External Disease and Cornea, Chapters 7-9 (133-241)

Section 4, Ophthalmic Pathology and Intraocular Tumors, Chapter 6 (73-96)

133

 



 

19

 



 

Corneal dystrophies, ectasias, systemic disorders with corneal/anterior segment manifestations, infection basics, viral infections

Pathology of cornea


6

 




 



 

Section 8, External Disease and Cornea, Chapters 10-12 (243-350)

Section 6, Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, Chapter 21 (263-275)

Section 4, Ophthalmic Pathology and Intraocular Tumors, Chapter 5 (47-72)

147

 




 



 

21

 




 



 

Microbial/parasitic infections, inflammatory diseases, neoplasms

External diseases of the eye

Pathology of conjunctiva




 


7

 



 

Section 8, External Disease and Cornea, Chapters 13-15 (351-453)

Section 13, Refractive Surgery, Chapters 3-4, 7 (49-71, 127-135)

135

 



 

20

 



 

Corneal therapeutics, anterior segment trauma/toxic injury, corneal transplantation

Corneal refractive surgery and collagen crosslinking
 


8



 

Section 13, Refractive Surgery, Chapters 5-6, 8-12 (73-126, 137-208)

 

126



 

18



 

Photoablation, treatments for presbyopia, systemic considerations and post-surgical considerations, emerging technologies


9
 



 



 

Section 10, Glaucoma, Chapters 1-4 (3-115)

Section 2, Fundamentals and Principles of Ophthalmology, Chapter 9 (229-240)

Section 4, Ophthalmic Pathology and Intraocular Tumors, Chapter 7 (97-106)

135
 



 



 

19
 



 



 

Introduction to glaucoma, aqueous physiology, evaluation, open-angle glaucoma

Pathology of anterior chamber and trabecular meshwork


 


10
 




 

Section 10, Glaucoma, Chapters 5-8 (117-221)

Section 6, Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, Chapter 22 (277-289)

118
 




 

17
 




 

Angle-closure glaucoma, pediatric glaucoma, medical and surgical treatment of glaucoma

Pediatric glaucoma
 


11
 



 



 

Section 12, Retina and Vitreous, Chapters 1-3 (7-56)

Section 2, Fundamentals and Principles of Ophthalmology, Chapters 11-13 (249-279)

Section 4, Ophthalmic Pathology and Intraocular Tumors, Chapter 11 (139-180)

123
 



 



 

18
 



 



 

Retinal anatomy, diagnostic testing of the retina, electrophysiology

Physiology of the retina and retinal pigment epithelium

Pathology of the retina and retinal pigment epithelium
 


12

 




 

Section 12, Retina and Vitreous, Chapters 4-8 (57-168)

Section 6, Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, Chapter 25 (321-329, 347-349)

124

 




 

18

 




 

Choroidal neovascularization, retinal vascular disease, retinopathy of prematurity




 


13

 



 

Section 12, Retina and Vitreous, Chapters 9-10 (169-208)

Section 9, Intraocular Inflammation and Uveitis, Chapters 6-7 (132-219)

128

 



 

18

 



 

Choroidal disease, retinal inflammations
 

Posterior uveitis and infectious uveitis (up to ocular histoplasmosis)


14


 




 

Section 9, Intraocular Inflammation and Uveitis, Chapters 6-11 (111-132, 219-301)

Section 6, Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, Chapter 24 (309-320)

117


 




 

17


 




 

Anterior and intermediate uveitis, infectious uveitis, endophthalmitis, masquerade syndromes, complications of uveitis, AIDS-associated ocular infections

Pediatric uveitis
 


15

 



 




 

Section 9, Intraocular Inflammation and Uveitis, Chapter 5 (71-109)

Section 12, Retina and Vitreous, Chapters 11-14 (209-266)

Section 6, Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, Chapter 25 (330-338, 349-351)

109

 



 




 

16

 



 




 

Clinical approach to uveitis

Congenital and stationary retinal disease, retinal and choroidal dystrophies, retinal degenerations, toxicities

Pediatric retinal disease



 


16

 



 

Section 12, Retina and Vitreous, Chapters 15-19 (267-356)

Section 4, Ophthalmic Pathology and Intraocular Tumors, Chapter 10 (125-137)

103

 



 

15

 



 

Retinal detachment, vitreous disease, trauma, lasers, injections, and surgery

Pathology of vitreous

 


17

 

Section 5, Neuro-Ophthalmology, Chapters 1-3 (5-97)

93

 

15

 

Neuroanatomy, imaging, clinical evaluation of vision loss


18

 




 



 

Section 5, Neuro-Ophthalmology, Chapters 4-6 (99-181)

Section 6, Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, Chapter 26 (353-365)

Section 4, Ophthalmic Pathology and Intraocular Tumors, Chapter 15 (241-250)

106

 




 



 

15

 




 



 

Approach to vision loss, transient visual loss, illusions and hallucinations

Pediatric optic disc anomalies

Pathology of optic nerve




 


19

 




 

Section 5, Neuro-Ophthalmology, Chapters 10-14 (253-358)

Section 6, Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, Chapters 20, 28 (260-261, 377-404)

108

 




 

15

 




 

Pupil, eyelid/face, head/eye/facial pain, nonorganic disorders, systemic diseases

Pediatric pupil abnormalities, systemic pediatric diseases

 


20

 




 

Section 5, Neuro-Ophthalmology, Chapters 7-9 (183-251)

Section 6, Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, Chapter 13 (149-159)

80

 




 

12

 




 

Diplopia, nystagmus

Childhood nystagmus




 


21




 

Section 6, Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, Chapters 7-12, 14 (65-148, 161-178)

 

102




 

15




 

Diagnostic evaluation of strabismus, eso- and exo-deviations, pattern deviations, vertical deviations, special forms of strabismus, strabismus surgery, botulinum


22

 



 

Section 6, Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, Chapters 1-6, 15-16, 27 (5-64, 181-193, 367-376)

 

83

 



 

12

 



 

Pediatric exam, strabismus terminology, amblyopia, sensory and motor physiology

Growth and development of eye, decreased vision, ocular trauma in childhood


23

 




 

Section 7, Orbit, Eyelids, and Lacrimal System, Chapters 1-5 (5-101)

Section 6, Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, Chapter 18 (205-230)

123

 




 

18

 




 

Orbital anatomy, evaluation of orbital disorders, congenital anomalies, inflammations, infections, neoplasms, malformations

Pediatric orbital disorders
 


24

 




 



 

Section 7, Orbit, Eyelids, and Lacrimal System, Chapters 6-10 (103-196)

Section 6, Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, Chapter 17 (195-203)

Section 4, Ophthalmic Pathology and Intraocular Tumors, Chapter 14 (223-240)

121

 




 



 

17

 




 



 

Orbital trauma, orbital surgery, anophthalmia, facial/eyelid anatomy, lid disorders

Pediatric eyelid disorders

Pathology of orbit



 


25

 




 



 

Section 7, Orbit, Eyelids, and Lacrimal System, Chapters 11-13 (197-287)

Section 6, Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, Chapter 19 (231-240)

Section 4, Ophthalmic Pathology and Intraocular Tumors, Chapter 13 (201-220)

121

 




 



 

17

 




 



 

Eyelid malpositions/involutional changes, lacrimal system

Pediatric lacrimal system disorders

Pathology of eyelids



 


26


 


 



 




 

Section 4, Ophthalmic Pathology and Intraocular Tumors, Chapters 1-4, 9 (5-45, 115-124)

Section 11, Lens and Cataract, Chapters 1-5 (5-68)

Section 2, Fundamentals and Principles of Ophthalmology, Chapter 10 (241-248)

Section 6, Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, Chapter 23 (291-308)

141


 


 



 




 

20


 


 



 




 

Pathology basics, wound healing, stains, special testing, pathology of lens

Lens basics

Physiology of lens

Pediatric cataracts and lens abnormalities





 


27
 

Section 11, Lens and Cataract, Chapters 6-9 (69-193)

125
 

18
 

Cataract surgery
 


28

 


 

Section 9, Intraocular Inflammation and Uveitis, Chapters 1-4 (9-67)

Section 13, Refractive Surgery, Chapters 1-2 (7-48)

101

 


 

14

 


 

Basics of immunology

Basics of refractive surgery


 


29


 




 

Section 4, Ophthalmic Pathology and Intraocular Tumors, Chapters 16-20 (253-316)

Section 6, Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, Chapters 25, 27 (338-347, 367-375)

83


 




 

12


 




 

Intraocular tumors

Pediatric retinal tumors, ocular trauma in childhood




 


30
 

Section 3, Clinical Optics, Chapters 1-3 (3-149)

147
 

21
 

Geometric optics, optics of human eye, clinical refraction


31


 

Section 3, Clinical Optics, Chapters 4-8 (151-311)

 

160


 

23


 

Contact lenses, intraocular lenses, keratorefractive surgery, instruments, low vision, geometric optics