Training & Education

Formal teaching exercises include blocks of didactic lectures on specialties, fluorescein conferences and grand rounds which are scheduled daily from 7:00 - 8:00 a.m., August through June. The Grand Rounds and Chairman rounds are attended by all residents, fellows, and full-time faculty; voluntary faculty and area ophthalmologists are frequent participants. During the course of the year, conferences include research presentations, lectures in the subspecialties with patient examination where possible, followed by discussion of the patients as the basis for Chairman's Rounds.

Numerous visiting professors and update courses are scheduled throughout the year. Once a month, invited speakers present at Grand Rounds in the afternoon and again in the evening in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Ophthalmology Society dinner meeting, with all residents in sponsored attendance. Additionally, all residents attend the Pittsburgh Ophthalmology Society's one and one-half day Spring Meeting where papers are presented by nationally-recognized authorities. The Department sponsors an annual Residents' Day with required presentation of scientific papers by all residents.

During all three years of training, all residents help with both informal, and on a more limited basis, formal instruction of students and allied personnel. Residents are part of the faculty for the formal course of instruction in ophthalmoscopy given to the second-year medical students, as well as for the informal instruction given the junior and senior medical students on their rotation in ophthalmology.

PGY-2: The First Year of Training

During the first two weeks of residency, first-year residents participate in an orientation period where instruction on the instrumentation of ophthalmology, emergency room procedures, refraction, basic lectures and introduction to the subspecialties, microbiology and hospital services are among the topics covered. First-year residents taking night call will have a second or third year resident on site during their initial months of training. A senior resident is always on call from home. In-house ER night call is every sixth night for each first-year resident.


In the first year of training, residents spend the majority of their assigned time in the Eye Clinics located in The Eye and Ear Institute. Experience in the clinic and emergency room is supplemented by two half days per week exposure to the various subspecialties and the operating room. In addition, first year residents will rotate on the pediatric ophthalmology service at Children's Hospital and its out-patient Eye Services department. First-year residents perform strabismus surgery during their pediatric ophthalmology rotation.

All residents in the first year of training participate in the American Academy of Ophthalmology's Basic and Clinical Science Course of directed study.

PGY-3: The Second Year of Training

The second year of training concentrates on the subspecialties. Rotations, each approximately ten weeks in length, include cornea, glaucoma, retina, and neuro-ophthalmology services. During each rotation, residents see subspecialty private and clinic patients along with a full-time or voluntary member of the faculty. Residents have the opportunity to observe or assist in surgical cases performed by the faculty, and participate in all regularly scheduled specialty clinics. In the second year, residents begin to perform extra-ocular procedures on scheduled clinic patients under the direct supervision of the faculty. An additional rotation at the Veterans Administration Hospital serves as an introduction to microsurgical techniques and intraocular surgery (including phacoemulsification) as well as a broad spectrum of ophthalmic pathology.


PGY-4: The Third Year of Training

The third year of training is the residents' principal surgical year (intra- and extraocular). During rotation blocks of approximately two months at each location, third-year residents see patients in the clinics and perform all resulting surgical cases. Resident will rotate on the pediatric ophthalmology service which will allow them to perform advanced strabismus and other pediatric cases in conjunction with the attending. Our senior residents are required to participate in a 10-12 week away rotation at the University of New Mexico. Transportation and apartment expenses are covered by the Department. The residents will split time between the University Hospital and the Veterans Administration Hospital in Albuquerque. This rotation significantly enhances the residents' surgical experience, particularly in the area of phacoemulsification, by teaching different techniques and medical philosophies. Third-year residents take at-home call for surgical care.