The Department has a strong Global Ophthalmology Division, and we support residents who are interested in developing clinical and global ophthalmology projects. We also offer international exchange programs through which our residents may visit institutions such as KEIO University in Tokyo, Japan, and Universidad Federal de Sao Paolo in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
One of the exciting events for our department has been the initiation of an exchange program with KEIO University in Japan. 8-10 KEIO residents will visit from Tokyo to spend 2 weeks at UIC to observe our clinicians. Additionally, UIC residents will visit Japan for 2 weeks to both observe clinical practices and to enjoy their time in Tokyo.
On the clinical end, some surprising cultural differences in clinical approaches have emerged. In Japan, not only is everyone insured, but everything is covered. The residents are also able to see some surgeries they might not see in the US due to differential treatment approaches. In the US, only pediatric glaucoma is treated with trabeculotomies, but in Japan, open-angle glaucoma among adults is treated with trabeculotomy. Because some approaches are different, the residents will be able to see complications they may not see in the US (for example, corneal decompensation post laser surgery due to the argon laser).
The approach to training residents differs in some interesting ways as well. Notably, when using teaching scopes to examine dry eyes in patients, the doctors are able to show patients and residents videos of what happens in the eye that causes dry eye. Because the scopes are connected to video equipment, the physicians are able to rewind the tape and show patients what happens in their own eyes.
Past residents reported having greatly enjoyed the sightseeing and the hospitality of the faculty, residents, and staff at KEIO University. One of the most important things to come out of this exchange program will continue to be the relationship formed with the KEIO University and the relationships with the doctors and residents.
Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Our residents have the opportunity to travel to UNIFESP in Sao Paulo, Brazil for one week. During this time, they are exposed to clinical practices and academic opportunities they would not otherwise experience in Chicago. Along with the knowledge gained from this experience, they also enjoyed the local customs and hospitality offered by the friendly faculty and staff at UNIFESP.
During the time in UNIFESP, the residents get to see how ophthalmology is practiced in Brazil and have the chance to learn about eye conditions that are very rare in the United States. A lot of time is spent in their busy 24 hour ophthalmology emergency room, where eye conditions like Toxoplasmosis are frequently seen. Residents also rotate through their busy uveitis, ultrasound, and retinoblastoma clinics.
UNIFESP residents come to UIC for a unique learning opportunity. It is usually coordinated so that they are able to attend the week-long Illinois Eye Review Course, where the visiting residents will get exposure to an intense learning opportunity. They attend all morning lectures as well as weekly Grand Rounds, tour the city of Chicago, and partake in other activities around the city. The past residents involved were grateful to be a part of this exciting opportunity.
Past residents have greatly enjoyed their time at UNIFESP and Sao Paulo. They have kept in touch with the residents from UNIFESP and have had reunions at ARVO and AAO. It is not only a great learning experience for our residents, but an opportunity to create valuable relationships with ophthalmologists around the world.