MCh Vitreoretina Surgery

Dr. Ashish Markan, MD, DNB, FICO, FICO (Retina), FAICO (Retina)
  • Dr. Ashish Markan is currently pursuing MCh Vitreoretina Surgery at Advanced eye center, PGIMER, Chandigarh
  • He completed his Ophthalmology Residency from Dr. R. P. Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi and also pursued Senior Residency at RPC, AIIMS, New Delhi.
  • He holds an MBBS degree from Government Medical College, Patiala, Punjab.
  • He was conferred DNB, FICO, FICO (Retina) and FAICO (Retina) in 2018 and 2019.  


Q1. What is the advantage of doing MCh over SRship / Fellowship?


  • MCh Vitreoretina Surgery at Advanced eye center, PGIMER, Chandigarh was introduced 2 years back as a superspecialization degree in ophthalmology. This 3 years academic course is aimed at imparting comprehensive knowledge of vitreoretina, ROP and uvea. It involves a well structured training program starting with VR simulator training followed by surgical cases in the OR. 
  • Initially, limited surgical steps are performed by the residents under supervision. Once they have developed a basic set of skills, independent cases are allotted to them. There is extensive exposure to a variety of surgical cases during training. Residents can comfortably perform pars plana vitrectomies and sclera buckling procedures by the end of the 1st year.
  • Akin to other branches of medical science, MCh programmes in ophthalmology are the need of the hour for a holistic training focused on a particular sub speciality.
  • Fellowship programs are usually for 1-2 years, thus providing limited clinical and surgical exposure to the fellows.
  • Senior residency on the other hand is non academic training with limited research opportunities in majority of centres. Also most of the institutes do not provide senior residency in a particular speciality of ophthalmology.
  • Strong academics, ample surgical exposure and substantial research at PGIMER Chandigarh makes MCh vitreoretina programme a better alternative to a non-academic senior residency or a fellowship.
Q2. How and when did you apply for the MCh entrance exam?

A2. I applied in May 2019. PGIMER notifies well in advance before the exam on their website. Application form can be submitted online.

Q3. What is the pattern entrance exam?


  • The entrance examination is a computer based test (CBT).
  • It consists of 80 multiple choice questions divided in part 1 and part 2.
  • The duration of examination is 90 minutes.
Q4. What is the weightage of various subspecialties and VR in the entrance exam?


  • Part 1 consists of general ophthalmology and part 2 consist of questions pertaining to Vitreoretina.
  • Part 1 consists of 40 MCQs, each with four options  and single most appropriate response.
  • Part 2 consist of 40 MCQs, each with five options and single/multiple correct response(s).
  • Part 1 does not have negative marking, where as part 2 has negative marking.
Q5. How did you prepare for the entrance exam with emphasis on the textbooks and online resources?

A5. I focused mainly on textbooks like Ryan, Kanski and Retina medical and Surgical management (by Dr. Atul Kumar, Chief, RPC, AIIMS New Delhi). The latter helped me a lot to revise the entire syllabus in a comprehensive manner within a short duration of time. I also reviewed online sites like Retina today and Retina physician frequently to stay updated about the new advances in the field.

Q6. Tell us about your study plan. 

A6. Detailed and in-depth study of the subject during my Post graduation proved fruitful during my preparation. Two months prior to the exam, I used to study 2-3 hours daily.

Q7. Is there an interview and what are the questions asked in the interview and how did you prepare for them?

A7. There is no interview for MCh examination.

Q8. Is important to do SRship/fellowship in VR before pursuing the MCh?

A8. No, it is not necessary. MCh programme itself is quite comprehensive and well structured.

Q9. Tell us about the MCh program.


1. Clinical exposure

MCh residents get good clinical exposure to plenty of cases related to retina, ROP and uvea. They become competent to manage clinics independently. Residents also get ample opportunities to develop skills required to perform slit lamp laser and  LIO based procedures, retinal imaging like OCT, FFA,ICGA etc.

2. Surgical exposure

Residents are required to get vitreoretina simulator training for initial few months, following which they are given cases to perform, initially under supervision and later independently. They are expected to perform three to four pars plana vitrectomies per week. Complex surgical procedures are given once the resident is confident with the basic ones. Overall, MCh vitreoretina offers comprehensive surgical training.

3. Academic exposure

MCh vitreoretina is an academic course and comprises of 2-3 classes per week. This includes surgical grand round, medical grand round, journal clubs, imaging grand rounds and basic grand rounds. Challenging cases related to these topics are presented by MCh residents.

4. Research related activities

MCh residents are required to perform one thesis and submit it at the end of 2 years. Apart from this, candidates are always motivated to participate in various research activities. Department holds research meetings frequently, where candidates are free to present their research related protocols.  Residents get ample opportunities and motivation to publish.

5. Conferences and presentations

Residents are expected to attend both national and international conferences.

Q10. Why did you choose to go ahead with MCh (Vitreoretina speciality) at PGIMER after SRship at AIIMS?

A10.  Since the day PGIMER introduced MCh vitreoretina surgery, it was my dream to pursue this course. After completing 1.5 years of vitreoretina training at AIIMS, I decided to take up the exam for MCh. PGIMER is the only institute which provides a degree in field of vitreoretina. I believe MCh is the need of the hour and should be started by other premium institutes across the country.