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Instructions for Authors

For guidelines on policy and submission across our journals, please click on the links below:
Manuscript preparation
Editorial policies
Patient consent forms
Licence forms
Peer review
Submission and production processes

Editorial Policy

British Journal of Ophthalmology is committed to disseminating ongoing advances in ophthalmology across the whole range of sub-specialties and globally. Clearly the requirements of clinicians vary within different settings and in different countries. This is an essential principle that underlies the future planning of the journal and guides the editorial board and reviewers in making their judgements on whether papers submitted to British Journal of Ophthalmology should be accepted or rejected.

Our policy is to provide a broad mix of articles that will be of professional and educational value to specialist, visual scientists and trainees. Our priorities are to:

  • Publish up-to-date advances on diagnosis, management and pathogenesis of ocular disease.
  • Continue to develop specialist areas of publication that deal with health service delivery globally.
  • Publish contentious issues that are of educational importance.
  • Ensure that a fair, independent peer review system is in place.
  • Adhere to the highest ethical standards concerning research conduct.

Submission to British Journal of Ophthalmology implies that the work described has not been accepted for publication elsewhere, that it is not under consideration for publication elsewhere and does not duplicate material already published.

All articles are subject to peer review and editorial approval.

Open Access

Authors can choose to have their article published Open Access for a fee of £1,950 (plus applicable VAT).

Colour Figure Charges

During submission you will be asked whether or not you agree to pay for the colour print publication of your colour images. This service is available to any author publishing within this journal for a fee of £250 per article. Authors can elect to publish online in colour and black and white in print, in which case the appropriate selection should be made upon submission.

Language Polishing Service

If you are not a native English speaker, we recommend that you have your manuscript edited by a native speaker prior to submission. Professional editing will improve the grammar, spelling and punctuation of your manuscript, providing clear language which will mean that reviewers and editors are better able to concentrate on the scientific content of the paper. Click here for more information.

Article Types and Word Counts

The word count excludes the title page, abstract, tables, acknowledgements and contributions and the references. For guidance on how to improve your graphs and tables please view these BMJ demonstration videos.

Information on our publication turnaround times and acceptance rates can be found here.

Authors should use the American Joint Commission on Cancer classification scheme when describing patients with ophthalmic malignancies; see American Joint Committee on Cancer. JCC Cancer Staging Manual, Seventh Edition, Springer, New York.


Editorials are timely succinct commentary's on any aspect of clinical or laboratory ophthalmology, usually in relation to the subject matter of a paper to be published in the same issue. All Editorials are commissioned.

  1. Word count: up to 1500 words
  2. Tables/illustrations: up to 2 images and tables
  3. References: up to 25 references

Original Research

  1. 1. Clinical Science: up to 2500 words, 5 images and tables, 25 references
  2. 2. Laboratory Science: up to 2500 words, up to 5 images and tables, 25 references

Editors may request authors to shorten a submitted article when in the opinion of the Editorial Board, the content does not justify the length.

Original Research should include the following:

  • Title
  • Synopsis/Precis: all Original Research articles should include a 35 word summary of the main findings or outcomes of the study for the 'At a Glance' article.
  • Structured abstract: (250 words, headings, "Background/Aims", "Methods", "Results", and "Conclusion")
  • Introduction
  • Materials and methods
  • Results
  • Discussion


Review articles will provide in-depth summaries of the literature and future directions on topics related to any aspect of clinical or laboratory ophthalmology. Most Review articles are commissioned but uninvited reviews are also welcome. Prior discussion with the Editor is recommended.

  1. Unstructured abstract: up to 250 words.
  2. Word count: up to 3000 words
  3. Tables/illustrations: up to 5 images and tables
  4. References: up to 100 references

Global Issues

Global Issue articles emphasise epidemiology and public health issues especially from the underdeveloped countries.

  1. Summary: should not exceed 250 words
  2. Word count: up to 2000 words
  3. Tables/illustrations: up to 5 images and tables
  4. References: up to 25 references


Innovation articles should describe innovative techniques in any field of ophthalmology including ophthalmic surgery, drugs, optics, and devices. Any relevant preclinical and clinical data should be included. The chief criterion for publication will be the novelty of concepts involved and potential for clinical applications.

  1. Summary: should not exceed 250 words
  2. Word count: up to 1000 words
  3. Tables/illustrations: up to 5 images and tables
  4. References: up to 25 references


BJO eLetters are electronic responses to published BJO articles posted online. To submit an eLetter use the submit a response option in the content box menu seen in all abstract/extract, Full text and PDF views of a published article. All eLetters are subject to editorial approval.

  1. Word count: 300 words
  2. References: 5 references


BMJ journals are willing to consider publishing supplements to regular issues. Supplement proposals may be made at the request of:

  1. The journal editor, an editorial board member or a learned society may wish to organise a meeting, sponsorship may be sought and the proceedings published as a supplement.
  2. The journal editor, editorial board member or learned society may wish to commission a supplement on a particular theme or topic. Again, sponsorship may be sought.
  3. The BMJ itself may have proposals for supplements where sponsorship may be necessary.
  4. A sponsoring organisation, often a pharmaceutical company or a charitable foundation, that wishes to arrange a meeting, the proceedings of which will be published as a supplement.

In all cases, it is vital that the journal's integrity, independence and academic reputation is not compromised in any way.

When contacting us regarding a potential supplement, please include as much of the information below as possible.

  • Journal in which you would like the supplement published
  • Title of supplement and/or meeting on which it is based
  • Date of meeting on which it is based
  • Proposed table of contents with provisional article titles and proposed authors
  • An indication of whether authors have agreed to participate
  • Sponsor information including any relevant deadlines
  • An indication of the expected length of each paper Guest Editor proposals if appropriate

For further information on criteria that must be fulfilled, download the supplements guidelines (PDF).

Plagiarism detection

BMJ is a member of CrossCheck by CrossRef and iThenticate. iThenticate is a plagiarism screening service that verifies the originality of content submitted before publication. iThenticate checks submissions against millions of published research papers, and billions of web content. Authors, researchers and freelancers can also use iThenticate to screen their work before submission by visiting

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