General Eye Clinic (GEC)
Residents spend the majority of their first and third years in the General Eye Clinic, learning to become proficient and efficient comprehensive ophthalmologists. Headed by the two chief residents, the clinic is fully resident-run, with residents taking primary responsibility for the examination and management of all patients. The clinic also functions as the only walk-in eye emergency clinic in the city of Chicago, exposing residents to a huge breadth of medical and surgical pathology in all subspecialties. First year residents are given graduated responsibility with oversight and mentorship by third year residents. The clinic is supervised by faculty members from the different clinical subspecialties, and all patients are seen and discussed with an attending ophthalmologist.
Millennium Park Eye Center (MPEC)
The Millennium Park Eye Center features state-of-the-art diagnostic and surgical equipment for the treatment of eye diseases. Residents travel to this location on subspecialty rotations during their first and second years to participate in clinics, minor OR, and surgical procedures. The majority of exposure to refractive surgery during residency, including LASIK and PRK, occurs at this location.
First Year Experience
The first year resident typically starts with a two week orientation and introduction to basic ophthalmology lecture series in the beginning of July. The year is then divided into six 8-9 week clinical rotations, where first years will learn the basic techniques of diagnosis and medical management of various diseases. The majority of the year is spent in the General Eye Clinic, with one to two days a week spent on subspecialty services. First year residents also spend time on the consult rotation, where they encounter a great variety of ocular pathologies and emergencies. They also spend a rotation at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, which is located a few blocks away. Lastly, residents perform and assist with surgeries and are heavily involved with on call duties.
The optional UNIFESP exchange program includes a one-week rotation in Sao Paulo, Brazil, which takes place during the PGY-2 year.
Second Year Experience
In the second year of training, residents experience an in-depth immersion into the subspecialty clinics, spending 8-9 weeks in each of the following: Cornea/Contact Lens, Neuro-Ophthalmology/Uveitis/Pathology, Glaucoma, Pediatric Ophthalmology, Retina/Hereditary Disease and Oculoplastics. In each subspecialty clinic, residents play an integral role in the care of patients, working closely with world-class faculty members in clinic and in the operating room. By the end of the year, PGY-3 residents are expected to have gained confidence and experience in the management of complex subspecialty cases as well as completed several subspecialty surgeries as a primary surgeon, including cataract surgeries.
PGY-3 residents also have the opportunity to participate in a two-week exchange program with KEIO University in Tokyo, Japan and share call responsibilities with Northwestern for the Jesse Brown VA.
Third Year Experience
In the final year of training, senior residents essentially run their own comprehensive ophthalmology practice under the supervision of faculty while helping to supervise the junior residents in the General Eye Clinic and the Jesse Brown VA. They also have an 8-9 week surgical rotation at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago. The main goal of the third year is to prepare residents to be a competent and efficient comprehensive ophthalmologist as well as to provide in-depth experience with intraocular surgery. Every intraocular surgery performed is staffed by an attending physician. Third year residents also participate in backup call for both the first and second year residents, which includes assisting in management of emergencies overnight, supervising bedside procedures, and performing open globe surgeries.
Additionally, two PGY-4 residents are appointed each year to become chief residents. The chief residents are responsible for conducting morning report and BCSC review sessions for the first year residents, serving as a liaison between the faculty/administration and the residents, as well as assisting in the general scheduling and function of the program.