Whether you’re learning ophthalmology for the first time or reviewing some topic for the umpteenth time, it’s helpful to have as many tools readily available.  While Google makes it easy to search for specific topics, sometimes it’s also nice to have a list on hand.  Here are some websites that I’ve found extremely helpful for reviewing ophthalmology topics.


 Atlases and Comprehensive Websites

Atlas of Ophthalmology

This site has thousands of images of various eye conditions and diagnostic tests, most with brief commentary.  The higher-resolution images require a login/password, but the subscription is completely FREE (really can’t beat that!).  They’ve even put together a mobile app so that you can review images on the go.

Pros:

  • Extensive library of pertinent images
  • The sections are organized well
  • Submissions are reviewed by a board of editors
  • Endorsed by the International Council of Ophthalmology
  • iPhone app is the only ophthalmology atlas available

Cons:

  • The captions can sometimes be very sparse and lack sufficient detail to either describe the patient’s presentation or provide specific information about the disease
  • While some sections have lots of images, not all sections have many images to view
  • Some images are of poor resolution or quality
  • Sometimes the clinical finding displayed can be ambiguous or difficult to see in the image
  • The website does not keep me logged in between images, so if I am trying to view multiple images I may have to log in multiple times (more of a hassle than anything else)

How I use this website:

I used this website to find images of specific diseases, primarily when I created review presentations on various topics.

University of Iowa’s Eye Rounds

The University of Iowa Department of Ophthalmology has one of the largest online repositories of case presentations and clinical atlases.  Whether you prefer learning through case studies, looking at images in an atlas, or taking quizzes, EyeRounds.org is a great place to start learning about eye disease.  There are links to gonioscopy.org, which has tons of pictures and videos teaching the skill of gonioscopy.  There are tutorials about clinical skills, literature reviews, and detailed case discussions.  This is by far the highest-quality ophthalmology educational resource produced through an academic institution.

Pros:

  • Extensive case library covering most major topics in ophthalmology
  • Images are typically very high-quality and very useful for review
  • The formatting for the grand rounds cases is very good and very readable
  • The tutorials on basic ophthalmology skills include videos (while the resolution isn’t always great it’s better than trying to read it in a book)
  • The quality of the cases is usually very high and the content is reviewed by an editorial board
  • Both common and rare diseases are presented

Cons:

  • Not all of the links work anymore (such as articles about anterior ischemic optic neuropathy and giant cell arteritis by one of the world’s experts, Dr. Sohan Singh Hayreh)
  • Not all of the videos and images are high-resolution
  • The articles may be very long and may be too technical at times, and at times can be too brief due to author variation
  • The citation mechanism for the articles is a bit cumbersome for website reading (this is a minor issue)
  • Case-presentation format does not always present all of the information about a particular disease

How I use this website:

The atlas, videos, and cases reviews are all top-notch.  I used this website to study when I was having difficulty picturing the presentation of a particular disease, finding images to review for the oral board exam, and learning how some of the leading experts in ophthalmology manage different cases, especially when the initial diagnosis is uncertain.

Columbia University’s Digital Reference of Ophthalmology

Another online case atlas, the DRO contains images of many of the common ophthalmologic diseases and specific findings.  While the number of images is relatively small, most of the images here are pretty good.

Pros:

  • Many images, most with captions
  • Decent resolution of most images
  • Organized well
  • A few case presentations are also available

Cons:

  • Not updated
  • Website appearance and interface is not mobile-friendly
  • Limited content

How I use this website:

Finding high-quality images is essential to learning and reviewing ophthalmology.  This is one of those websites where words may be sparse but the quality of the images is still very good.  I would not use this site on its own, but is a great resource for building up a personal image library in your mind for pattern recognition.

OphthoBook.com (part of the Root Eye Network)

Dr. Timothy Root is an ophthalmologist who has worked very hard on developing quality educational resources about eye disease.  As someone who wants to create high-quality online educational content about eye disease, Dr. Root’s example is highly inspiring and encouraging to me.  He’s written an amazing e-book (also available for print on Amazon) called OphthoBook, that he provides on his website for free!  He is a very talented illustrator as well, and the cartoons he added to his book are very entertaining.  I would strongly encourage beginning residents (especially 4th year medical students and/or PGY-1s) to read OphthoBook as part of their introduction to ophthalmology – I wish I had realized its existence when I first started.  At 180 pages long, it is a quick read and serves as a great primer to the major concepts in ophthalmology.  On his websites he also has links to his atlas, which contains tons of short educational videos that are helpful for learning clinical ophthalmology.  Unfortunately, I don’t see any updates past 2013, so I don’t know how often material is being added.  This model for online eye education is very unique right now, and hopefully Dr. Root will continue to share his talents and passions!

Pros:

  • Very high quality content
  • Entertaining
  • Illustrations make me jealous
  • Video atlas and terminology dictionary are tremendously valuable for the training eye provider

Cons:

  • Not updated
  • May not be suitable for in-depth study

How I use this website:

Finding high-quality images is essential to learning and reviewing ophthalmology.  This is one of those websites where words may be sparse but the quality of the images is still very good.  I would not use this site on its own, but is a great resource for building up a personal image library in your mind for pattern recognition.

EyeGuru.org

For a more detailed analysis, see my in-depth review article!

EyeGuru.org is a fairly new site, developed by two ophthalmology residents and a medical student.  Targeted specifically for beginning ophthalmology residents, it features 12 “courses” that discuss many of the common diseases and exam techniques necessary for a successful ophthalmology career.  The articles are well-written, very thorough, and excellently organized.  Because the site is geared towards helping the beginning ophthalmologist get familiarized with ophthalmology quickly, this might not be the best place to go when it comes time for studying for OKAPs or the board exams in finding help in the minutiae, but this is and will be the place to go for practical tips on how to survive the steep learning curve of ophthalmology training.

Pros:

  • Very high quality content
  • Organized well
  • High-resolution images of common ophthalmic diseases
  • Mini-“courses” offer easily digestible articles to learn the basics of a particular topic
  • Offers unique practical tips on resident life
  • Founders are currently in training (so they are living it first-hand)

Cons:

  • Limited content (for now)
  • May not be suitable for in-depth study

How I use this website:

There are some great high-quality images can help you learn about the most common diagnoses in ophthalmology.  The founders are hoping to add more articles to the blog section that address practical topics.  This is definitely a site worth bookmarking if you are just starting out and want some help with the basics of ophthalmology.


Online Textbooks

I’m not 100% about the legality of these sites, but there are a couple of places to get access to some ophthalmology textbooks online.  Since money can be tight for a resident/fellow/young ophthalmologist, being able to read some textbooks for free can be great (apart from whatever texts may be available to you through any academic institution).

The Wills Eye Hospital Atlas of Clinical Ophthalmology

There is simply not enough time to read every major text on ophthalmology in the span of a residency, unless you speed read, never see any patients, and forsake friends and family for 3 years.  Still, this textbook is a good summary of most of the things you’ll probably see in clinical practice with quite a few pearls.  I’ll try to post a more detailed review of the textbook itself when I review ophthalmology textbooks.  In terms of an online resource, it has all of the text from the book and has all of the images from the book as well.

Pros:

  • It’s a textbook on ophthalmology available for free
  • All of the images are available on the site to view
  • It’s very clinically relevant

Cons:

  • Since it’s originally a textbook, the formatting can be challenging to read
  • There are also a ton of ads on the website which can take up a ton of space
  • I also don’t know how legit the site itself is (hopefully by my posting/linking to it I don’t end up causing all sorts of problems!)

How I use this website:

I have my Wills Eye Manual that I keep around for a quick reference and used it for studying for the board exams.  This atlas has some of the same pictures but it’s formatted slightly differently and worked really well for oral board exam review.

Duane’s Ophthalmology

One of the pillars of ophthalmology textbooks, all 6 volumes of Duane’s Clinical Ophthalmology (2006 edition) and 3 volumes of Duane’s Foundations of Clinical Ophthalmology are available in their entirety on the Internet.  Be excited.  Seriously, be very excited.  Again, I don’t know how legal this is, but hey, I found it by searching Google.

Pros:

  • The entire stinkin’ textbook is there – all the pictures, captions, explanations, etc.
  • Every page is formatted and linked for easy web viewing
  • Very high detail and quality information

Cons:

  • It’s hard to think of any major criticisms when such a high quality textbook is made available in a readable format online for free!
  • The image links don’t work (but if you right-click and select View Image you can see a larger-resolution version of the same images)
  • I do wonder if my linking of these books is going to lead to these resources being taken away…I certainly hope not!
  • The information is often more detailed that you need for clinical practice and basic understanding of the material, but if you really want to know your basic science, this is a great resource!

How I use this website:

When I have a difficult time understanding the 1-2 paragraph blurb about a particular topic in the BCSC, I will often need to consult some textbooks for further explanation.  This is one of the various sources I use.  I also appreciate all of the references listed at the end of each chapter.


Ophthalmic Pathology Websites

Mission For Vision USA

This site is by far the most detailed resource for understanding ophthalmic pathology.  While not every ocular condition is described, it is very high-level information that is awesome for understanding pathology.  I was unaware of this site until my second year of residency.  Using this site and outlining the BCSC Pathology book raised my OKAP score from less than the 20th percentile to the high 80th percentile in 1 year.  As someone who didn’t really pay much attention in histology, the captions are fantastic.  The images are awesome for review as well.

Pros:

  • Detailed FREE site on ophthalmic pathology (most other pathology atlases require some money)
  • Each image is labeled with highly specific and detailed descriptions
  • High-resolution images are available for most of the slides
  • The diseases are organized by anatomy
  • There are links to study guides and tutorials about histology and pathology
  • The content was developed by a large board of directors

Cons:

  • The web design is minimal (it was created using Blogger)
  • There has not been any update to the website in many years
  • The site is not comprehensive in its content

How I use this website:

I used this website initially as to learn, and later to review, many of the basic ophthalmic pathology concepts.  A picture here is worth at least 5,000 words.

Atlas of Genetics and Cytogenetics in Oncology and Haematology: Eye Tumors

This website is a mouthful to say and to read, but has TONS of information and high-resolution images on the many major intraocular tumors.  This is yet another jewel of a resource for those people who may have struggled with ophthalmic pathology and intraocular tumors like I did.

Pros:

  • Each major tumor described has a very detailed explanation regarding etiology, epidemiology, clinical presentation, pathology, cytogenetics/genes (when available), treatment, and prognosis
  • The images are extremely high quality
  • The list of references for additional reading is amazingly detailed and makes for one of the best bibliographies on the subject material

Cons:

  • Not every intraocular tumor is listed
  • The atlas is having difficulty with funding so the content may be lost sometime in the future

How I use this website:

I had a hard time remembering the differences between retinal cavernous hemangiomas, retinal capillary hemangiomas, choroidal hemangiomas, and combined hamartomas of the retina and RPE.  This website not only described each one in detail, but provided excellent images that helped me remember the difference between each one.  I’m also a sucker for high-quality images, and this page is awesome.

University of Utah’s WebPath Special Stains in Histology

I remember using WebPath in medical school during my histology course, but didn’t think I would ever come back to it later on when I was learning ophthalmology.  Since one of the tips I learned about studying ophthalmology was forming as many associations as possible with each concept, having a detailed description of each histopathological stain, its uses, and its categorizations was extremely helpful for me to group information together.

Pros:

  • Very easy to read
  • Each stain is listed in great detail
  • Clinical examples are listed for each stain
  • Links are provided to examples of each stain to see what it actually looks like

Cons:

  • The website is for general histology/pathology, so the examples are not specific to ophthalmology
  • The page is not organized in any specific order so searching for a particular stain is a bit more tedious

How I use this website:

While I can’t say that I think much about histologic staining in my daily clinical practice, I do think that understanding how each tissue and disease stains differently does give me a better insight into how some disease processes may be linked, related, or similar (such as spheroidal degeneration of the cornea and a pterygium with elastoic degeneration).  Also, knowing how the stains are performed is essential for biopsying tissue and know whether to submit the tissue in formalin, as a frozen section, fresh, etc.  I referenced this site a lot when writing my outlines.

The David G. Cogan Ophthalmic Pathology Collection at the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

One of the things I do appreciate about our government is that there are resources like this available on the internet.  Just think, a huge collection of high-quality histopathologic images from one of the great ophthalmologists, Dr. David G. Cogan, made available to everyone for free and with full license to reproduce without need for permission (citation/credit required).  There are over 1040 cases (with typically 3-5 images per case) covering every section of ophthalmic pathology.  There is not enough gratitude available to reflect the appreciation we need to have to Dr. Cogan, his family, and his associates for making this information available to the public.

Pros:

  • High-quality cases and images of ophthalmic pathology collected over the course of a great ophthalmologist’s career
  • Captions available on most of the images
  • Images are available to download and distribute without any major copyright restrictions (attribution credits only)
  • Most images are very high quality
  • Cases are indexed by individual patient, with keyword tags to allow for search by anatomy, clinical description, histopathology description, normal tissue, or Cogan collection case number

Cons:

  • User interface is not aesthetically compatible with mobile formats
  • Captions are not directly linked with each image
  • Descriptions of the slides is sometimes vague which makes it more challenging for non-pathologists like myself to see the pertinent findings in the image

How I use this website:

Truth be told, I was unaware of this resource while I was studying for my exams.  At the same time, I may consult this site for images and information as I build up this review website, as the content is available to be reproduced without permission.


Neuro-Ophthalmology Websites

The Neuro-Ophthalmology Virtual Education Library (NOVEL)

If there’s going to be any list discussing neuro-ophthalmology websites, the NOVEL really ought to be put at the top of that list.  Backed by NANOS and hosted by the University of Utah, NOVEL is a tremendously useful resource for learning neuro-ophthalmology, finding patient handouts and resources about neuro-ophthalmology, and finding other links and resources about neuro-ophthalmology.  Dr. Neil Miller, one of the great leaders and experts in Neuro-Ophthalmology and chief editor of the definitive texts of neuro-ophthalmology, Walsh and Hoyt’s Clinical Neuro-Ophthalmology, generously provided the copyright license for distribution so that the entire textbook, all 3 volumes, is available for free in PDF format.  There are links to special collections containing lectures, images, articles, etc. from some of the great ophthalmologists and neuro-ophthalmologists over their very distinguished and illustrious careers.  Manuscripts submitted to the Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology and NOVEL are also available, and they are working on a wiki that will also contribute to the overall knowledge and understanding of neuro-ophthalmology.  There is a great patient portal that has NANOS-supported patient handouts covering many common neuro-ophthalmic conditions.

Pros:

  • Extensive library, easily the most comprehensive online resource for neuro-ophthalmology
  • Special collections of some of the great ophthalmologists available for free
  • Patient handouts are extremely helpful when trying to explain some of these very complex diseases
  • Because this site serves as the official NANOS repository of clinical information there is high-quality content from the community of neuro-ophthalmologists around the world
  • The development of this site still has a lot of momentum and drive towards adding more content

Cons:

  • There is no organized index for all of the articles and resources
  • There are still significant knowledge gaps where content is still being developed
  • The patient portal does not contain handouts on every major neuro-ophthalmic disease

How I use this website:

As a neuro-ophthalmologist, my patient handouts come off this website.  I am also slowly reading through the Walsh and Hoyt, courtesy of NOVEL (eventually I would like to own the physical set but I need to pay off my student loans first).  While the site does not translate as well to a learn/review format, it still is a site with a ton of information.

*Disclosure:  I have a published article through NOVEL, and as a neuro-ophthalmologist and member of NANOS, I suppose one could make the argument that I have some interest in the success of this website.  At the same time, I have no financial interests, as NOVEL is a free educational resource and I do not receive any financial compensation for my published article.

Canadian Neuro-Ophthalmology Group

This is the official website for Canada’s neuro-ophthalmology group.  There are great image galleries of various neuro-ophthalmic diseases and links to case presentations.  There is also an online textbook of eye movements that is really good for learning/understanding nystagmus, with video links and everything.

Pros:

  • High-quality pictures, articles/cases, and videos of neuro-ophthalmic disease
  • Lots of references for additional reading
  • Organization of the website is very good

Cons:

  • Content is not comprehensive

How I use this website:

I used this site to learn the eye movements and eye movement disorders.  When I initially used this website, I don’t think the image archive was as detailed as it is now, but this is another good site for finding images for review.

Neuro-Ophthalmology: Stanford University

I came across this site as I was preparing this article.  There seems to be daily quiz questions with detailed answers.  There is a link to EyeQuiz.com, which is a free question bank that has over 600 review questions that I will have to investigate further when I write my review of question banks.

Pros:

  • Question banks with detailed answers with citations of the literature and summaries of those articles (super bonus points!)
  • Its content is part of the official ophthalmology department website
  • Quiz format is different since most sites don’t have any practice questions

Cons:

  • Limited information
  • Questions are taken from EyeQuiz.com, so there aren’t any additional original questions
  • Only the neuro-ophthalmology questions have been detailed

How I use this website:

I haven’t used this site before, but I will definitely have to spend some time reading through the questions and article reviews.


Glaucoma Websites

Gonioscopy.org

Next to hands-on experience, this website is how I learned the finer points/details of gonioscopy.  With detailed and labeled images, videos, and tutorials, this website really helps you understand what it is you’re seeing on gonioscopy.  Examples of normal angles and pathologic findings are there as well.  As one of the leaders in ophthalmology, the University of Iowa has done a great job of providing high-quality content.

Pros:

  • Pretty much everything you need to know about gonioscopy is available on one website
  • Large library of examples of diagnoses made by gonioscopy
  • Tons of narrated videos – almost better than trying to peer through a teaching scope with your attending

Cons:

  • Highly specialized site
  • Does not discuss use of gonioscopic techniques for procedures (ALT, SLT, goniotomy, iStent placement, etc.)

How I use this website:

As I’ve said before, I used this site to learn gonioscopy during residency.  It still remains one of the best-made websites for learning a specific clinical skill, in my opinion.  I only wish there was this level of quality available for every clinical skill!


Are there any websites I missed?  Do you have any other online resources you use to review?  Leave a comment!