Fellowship in Cornea and Refractive Surgery

The Cornea Service of the University of Illinois offers a comprehensive one-year fellowship in cornea and external ocular disease and refractive surgery. There are two concurrent fellows which are governed by the terms of the AUPO-FCC Cornea fellowship guidelines.

Fellow in surgery

Clinical Practice

Fellows serve as junior faculty members and attend a Cornea Fellows Clinic one 1/2 day a week as well as seeing and examining patients in the UIC Cornea Clinic and Millennium Park Eye Center under the supervision of the Cornea faculty. The fellows also run a cornea clinic at the Jesse Brown Veterans Administration Hospital one morning every other week and take trauma call as a faculty member in rotation with other subspecialty fellows from Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary. Refractive Surgery experience is obtained at the Millennium Park Eye Center on Michigan Avenue and with Dr. David Lubeck at Arbor Centers for Eye Care.


A robust clinical and basic science research program exists both within the Cornea section as well as the IEEI as a whole.The fellow has an opportunity to participate in these investigative pursuits and is expected to give at least one presentation at the end of the year.


Surgical opportunities are derived from the patients seen in the clinic. Typically, each fellow does 60-80 penetrating and lamellar keratoplasties, 150+ complex and routine cataract extractions including anterior segment reconstruction, and 20+ LASIK and other refractive procedures during the fellowship year as well as FLACS. Substantial additional experience with keratoprostheses, ocular surface and trauma surgeries rounds out the year.


Educational opportunities in addition to those gained directly with the Cornea Service include participation in Grand Rounds and Cornea Teaching Rounds weekly, and lectures which are available for the residents on weekday mornings as well as Saturday mornings. Substantial exposure and opportunity to teach residents both clinically and surgically make up an important component of the fellowship.


The facilities at the University of Illinois at Chicago, including the Eye and Ear Infirmary, the Lions of Illinois Eye Research Institute, and University of Illinois Hospital as well as the Jesse Brown Veterans Hospital and Millennium Park, are utilized for the fellowship program as well as Arbor Centers for Eye Care for Refractive Surgery.

Application Deadline

Sep. 1, 2022

(Rolling applications)

Interview Date

2022 Dates TBD

Start Date

July 7, 2023

Length of Program

12 months


Elmer Tu

Elmer Tu, MD
Director, Cornea Service and Cornea Fellowship

Soledad Cortina

Soledad Cortina, MD
Director, Comprehensive Eye Service and General Eye Clinic
Co-Director, Cornea Fellowship

Joel Sugar

Joel Sugar, MD
Professor Emeritus of Ophthalmology

Dimitri Azar

Dimitri Azar, MD, MBA
B.A. Field Chair in Ophthalmologic Research

Jose de la Cruz

Jose de la Cruz, MD
Co-Director, Millennium Park Eye Center

Ali Djalilian

Ali Djalilian, MD
Director, Corneal Epithelial Biology and Tissue Engineering Laboratory

Sandeep Jain, MD
Director, Corneal Neurobiology Laboratory
Director, Corneal Research

Mark Rosenblatt

Mark Rosenblatt, MD, PhD, MBA
Executive Dean, University of Illinois College of Medicine

To learn more about the Cornea Fellowship, contact Elmer Tu, MD or M. Soledad Cortina, MD.

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