Glaucoma Fellowship


The University of Illinois Eye & Ear Infirmary has a longstanding history of providing exceptional care for patients with the most complex ophthalmic disorders.  The one-year clinical glaucoma fellowship offers an opportunity for direct participation in this care while under the guidance of accomplished, fellowship-trained glaucoma specialists.  By completion of the fellowship year, the fellow will be expected to have gained the clinical and surgical skill set necessary to provide this complex level of ophthalmic care independently.

Clinical Glaucoma Faculty

Ahmad Aref, MD —Glaucoma Fellowship Director
Thasarat S. Vajaranant, MD —Director of UIC Glaucoma Service

Mark I. Rosenblatt, MD, PhD, MBA– Dean of the College of Medicine
Jacob T. Wilensky, MD
David Hillman, MD

Clinical Training

The glaucoma fellow will participate in the clinical care of patients seen in the attending glaucoma clinics at UIC. Patients are seen in the attending clinics 5 days/week. In addition, the fellow will hold his/her glaucoma clinic 2 half-days/week. Patients scheduled in the glaucoma fellow clinic are seen primarily by the fellow, who is expected to formulate an independent plan for ophthalmic care. An attending glaucoma specialist is physically present in the clinic at all times, and consultation is encouraged. The glaucoma fellow clinic offers an exceedingly unique opportunity to independently care for patients with consultation from the glaucoma faculty readily available, as needed.

The fellow will spend an additional 1 day/month directly caring for patients afflicted with glaucoma at the Jesse Brown VA hospital. The majority of these patients have a complex glaucomatous process that requires surgical intervention.

Surgical Training

The majority of the fellow’s surgical case load is generated from his/her own clinics. In addition, the fellow will actively participate in the surgical care of patients seen in the attending clinics.

The fellow will spend an additional 1 day/month as primary surgeon at the Jesse Brown VA Hospital. This surgical case load is generated from the Jesse Brown VA glaucoma fellow clinic and is directly supervised.

By completion of the fellowship year, the fellow will have gained direct experience with the following surgical procedures: trabeculectomy using antifibrotic agents, Ex-Press shunt surgery, glaucoma drainage implant surgery (using the Baerveldt glaucoma implant, Ahmed glaucoma valve, and Molteno glaucoma drainage devices), Trabectome surgery, trabeculotomy, goniotomy, complex cataract surgery, external cyclophotocoagulation, laser trabeculoplasty, laser iridotomy, and laser iridoplasty. The fellow will also have the opportunity to perform femtosecond laser assisted cataract surgery.  A significant proportion of cases performed by the fellow will involve a combined approach with other ophthalmic subspecialists at the University of Illinois Eye & Ear Infirmary. The Infirmary has a thriving keratoprosthesis service, and surgical cases often involve active participation by the glaucoma staff and fellow.

In total, the glaucoma fellow will be expected to have performed over 100-150 procedures as primary surgeon by completion of their training.


The glaucoma service at the University of Illinois Eye & Ear Infirmary has seven examining lanes. It has one Goldmann, one Humphrey, and one FDT perimeter. It has argon, diode, and Nd: YAG lasers. The department has Spectral-Domain OCT (Spectralis OCT, Heidelberg Engineering), HRT (Heidelberg Engineering), and Time-Domain OCT (Stratus OCT, Carl Zeiss Meditec) devices for the purposes of optic nerve and retinal nerve fiber layer imaging. The department also has a high-resolution ultrasound biomicroscope for in vivo imaging of anterior and posterior chamber anatomy

Educational Conferences

The glaucoma service holds a 90-minute educational conference each Wednesday afternoon. Approximately 30 minutes are dedicated to the discussion of complex cases that have presented to the attending, fellow, and/or resident glaucoma clinics over the prior week. The fellow actively participates by presenting his/her own cases and by offering his/her opinion regarding the management of other cases. The remainder of the conference is dedicated to discussion of recent ophthalmic literature pertaining to glaucoma (journal club) and/or dedicated topical discussion

The department holds weekly grand rounds each Wednesday evening, 5:00-6:00 pm. Each grand rounds session is dedicated to a particular ophthalmic subspecialty and is moderated by a leading expert in the field. Approximately five of these sessions are moderated by the UIC glaucoma faculty per academic year. The Grand Rounds presentations are prepared and delivered by the UIC ophthalmology resident staff.

The University of Illinois Eye & Ear Infirmary hosts an annual Spring Glaucoma Symposium. Highlights of this day include clinical lectures, case presentations and two named lectures (The Schoenberg Glaucoma Lecture and The Wilensky Glaucoma Lecture). The glaucoma fellow is expected to participate in this symposium by presenting a timely clinical topic, interesting case presentation, or research findings.

The University of Illinois Eye & Ear Infirmary also hosts an annual, week-long review course, The Illinois Eye Review, in February/March of each year. The course is extremely well-attended and offers over 80 hours of continuing medical education credit. The glaucoma fellow is invited to attend the course to learn about important new developments and current concepts in ophthalmology as presented by world-renowned program faculty and leaders in ophthalmology.


The fellow is encouraged to participate in one clinical research project during their training period. Reimbursement for registration and travel expenses is available for research activities culminating in an oral or poster presentation at a major national ophthalmic meeting (e.g., AAO, AGS, ARVO, ASCRS)

Call Duties

The UIC ophthalmology resident staff takes primary responsibility for emergency call at the Infirmary. On a weekly rotating basis, the UIC fellow staff takes home call for the purposes of “back-up” trauma coverage. The glaucoma fellow is expected to be readily available for consultation and/or surgical supervision during their scheduled week of trauma call duty.

In addition, the glaucoma fellow is expected to be available for consultation regarding the management of patients presenting to the resident staff with an ophthalmic emergency related to glaucoma. All after-hour surgical cases are discussed with the scheduled attending glaucoma faculty member, who will directly supervise any of these procedures.


All fellows must have completed an accredited residency training program and obtain an unrestricted license to practice medicine in the State of Illinois. We recommend starting the process of obtaining this license as soon as the fellow has matched with the program. The offer for glaucoma fellowship training and employment with UIC is contingent on his/her obtaining this license.


The glaucoma fellow will be paid at the PGY-5 level, as established by the office of Graduate Medical Education at UIC. Link to salary schedule. Fellows are entitled to benefits, including health and life insurance, vacation, sick leave, and malpractice insurance coverage as determined by the University of Illinois.

List of former UIC Glaucoma Fellows


The University of Illinois Eye & Ear Infirmary participates in the Ophthalmology Fellowship Match Process coordinated by the San Francisco Match. Applicants must register with the San Francisco Match online at and complete the CAS fellowship applications.

Specific questions should be directed to the Assistant Director of Medical Education, Tina Lee. Email: [email protected]