118.759 Ophthalmology in Small Animal Practice (15 credit)

Lecturers: Mark Billson BVSc PhD DVOphthal DipVetClinStud MANZCVSc MRCVS Specialist in Veterinary Ophthalmology in Australia
Kellam Bayley BVSc  MVSc CertVOphthal Dip ECVO

Massey University’s Master of Veterinary Medicine (MVM) Ophthalmology in Small Animal Practice course helps practicing veterinarians become more confident in ophthalmology issues with small animals.

With practical support material and knowledgeable lecturers, this course will help you manage troubling and often debilitating eye problems with understanding and confidence, benefiting both you and your patients.

What will you learn?

On this course you'll learn:

  • a step-by-step approach to ocular examination.
  • current medical and surgical options available for treatment.
  • confidence in the ongoing management of canine and feline eye diseases - both common and complicated.
  • the range of referral procedures available and when to refer a case for specialist management.

How the course works

Ophthalmology is one of the MVM courses for postgraduate veterinarians which is taught online via distance learning and led by a recognised international expert in the field.

The course is supported by the latest research, reviews and case material to challenge veterinarians with in-depth, relevant continuing education. Course materials include a printed guide to your reading and assessment which integrates online learning activities such as discussions, quizzes, lessons, library searches, critical evaluation and exercises for self-assessment with reading materials and personal study tasks.

Highlights of the ophthalmology course include:  Facilitated online discussion, teacher feedback on case material, and the contact workshop experience.

With the MVM programme you have the flexibility to study when and where you want and the support of the MVM team to gain an internationally-recognised veterinary qualification that will help you in your practice every day.

Your lecturers

Mark graduated from the University of Sydney, Australia in 1990. He was awarded his PhD in 1996 from the University of Sydney before moving to the University of Glasgow to take up a residency in Veterinary Ophthalmology. He obtained the RCVS Certificate in Veterinary Ophthalmology in 1997 and RCVS Diploma in Veterinary Ophthalmology in 1999. He was appointed as a Lecturer in Veterinary Ophthalmology at the University of Glasgow in 2001 before returning to Australia in 2003. Mark became a recognised specialist in Veterinary Ophthalmology in Australia in 2005 and set up the Small Animal Specialist Hospital (SASH) in Sydney in 2007 along with two other specialists where he continues to work. Mark is interested in all aspects of ophthalmology and has a keen interest in ocular pathology. Mark has a strong interest in teaching and providing a unique and rewarding experience for students. He is a regular presenter at CPD events and also contributes to undergraduate teaching of ophthalmology.  He is the current President and an Examiner for the ophthalmology chapter of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists.

Kellam graduated from Massey University in 2006, completed the MVM Ophthalmology paper in 2007, gained the RCVS Certificate in Veterinary Ophthalmology in 2011 and an MVSc in 2016. Kellam is now a diplomat of the European College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, based in a clinic in the Wellington region he also travels for clinical work in Adelaide.

Course features

In-depth part-time study 24 teaching weeks spread over a 7-8 month period

Learning materials and facilities

  • Study guide
  • Self-assessed activities
  • Electronic library access
  • 3-day contact/virtual workshop*

Learning community

  • MVM Commons community site
  • Online case discussion required
  • Social forum


  • Portfolio of coursework (two submissions)
  • Online final examination

Course requirements

  • Internet access
  • Textbook: Slatter's Fundamentals of Veterinary Ophthalmology, 6th Edition (2018)
    Authors: David Maggs, Paul Miller, and Ron Ofri
    ISBN: 9780323443371 (hardcover)
    Publisher: Elsevier
    You may already have a copy of the 5th edition - this will also be suitable as a core text for the course.

Mark Billson
Mark Billson

Kellam Bayley
Kellam Bayley

"On call over the New Year's weekend and had some good cases, including ophthalmology cases that now make a lot more sense now that this course has been digested and understood!"

"Thank you for a wonderful year and a remarkable learning experience. I was reading the introduction that I wrote at the beginning of the year. I said I wanted to develop my ophthalmology skills and knowledge so I could diagnose and treat my patients better—and also stimulate some atrophied brain cells. I have certainly achieved these goals, and I’ve had a lot of fun doing it. In particular, I want to thank you for your replies to my postings and your input into my cases. Your prompt, thorough, and professional replies, as well as your endless patience, have been superb."

Contact/virtual workshop Information

*Due to COVID-19, contact workshops may have to be virtual. Please check your Stream site once enrolled for the current information or contact mvm@massey.ac.nz for the current information before you enrol.

The workshop is an opportunity for real-time interaction with your class and lecturer. Together you can build on the knowledge you’ve gained on the course through small group teaching, practical sessions and discussions of experiences in your own practice. 

For the best workshop experience, we recommend that you attend in real-time. While attendance is highly-recommended it is not compulsory in order to pass the course.

Mega 2 2021

In 2021 the contact workshop for Ophthalmology will run alongside those for the Neurology and Orthopedic surgery courses. This format provides a great opportunity for you to meet students and staff from other courses within the MVM programme and to combine with them for some sessions.

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Course Information, Dates, and timings

You will find more detailed information on the 118.759 Course Page. Enrolments open October 1st in the year prior to study.

For more information on delivery and course content please contact the MVM team.