The Third Year Experience
In the final year of training, residents take on more clinical responsibility. They help the attending ophthalmologist supervise the junior residents in the General Eye Clinic and the Jesse Brown VA. They also have a 8-9 week surgical rotation at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago.
Surgical cases will increase once again and they will also be involved with oncall duties.
We encourage our third year residents to present their research projects at ARVO. They will also have the opportunity to present at our annual Alumni Day event held in June and attend the annual Illinois Eye Review.
Every year, we appoint two PGY4’s to become chief residents and act as a leader for all of the residents. They will be responsible for conducting daily morning report. Chief residents will also be a liasion between the faculty/admistration and the residents; and will be heavily involved in general scheduling, hosting, and other functions that are called upon them.
The goal of the third year of ophthalmology residency at UIC is to train you to become an efficient and competent general ophthalmologist, both in the clinic and in the operating room.
With that goal in mind, you spend the majority of your time in the resident-run general eye clinic. Each day, you are challenged to utilize the knowledge and skills you have acquired over the first two years in your own mini-clinic of 25-30 patients. The pathology of the clinic is second to none, ranging from routine intraocular pressure checks on glaucoma suspects to sarcoid uveitis, neovascular glaucoma, acute retinal necrosis and corneal hydrops. As a resident-run clinic, you take chief responsibility for formulating and implementing management decisions, under the supervision of an attending, so you feel prepared to handle almost any clinical scenario at the end of your senior year.
The other big focus during third year is surgery. With the opening of the new surgical simulation wet lab and implementation of the surgical curriculum, you will feel more than prepared for your first day in the OR as a third year. Your operating experience increases exponentially as you learn to perform cataract surgery from several different attendings throughout the year. At UIC, you will be heavily involved not only in routine cataract surgery, but be primary surgeon on complicated cases such as white cataracts, pseudoexfoliation with zonular insufficiency, small pupils and Femtosecond laser surgery. Most of all, you will learn from world-renowned teachers who will help you understand how to manage difficult cases and their complications, thus adequately preparing for your future career. Lastly, you will gain additional surgical aptitude performing various eyelid and glaucoma surgeries as well as many ruptured globe repairs throughout the year.
In addition to the UIC resident clinic, you will rotate through two different VA Hospitals, the Jesse Brown VA and the North Chicago VA, during the 3rd year. While at the Jesse Brown VA, you get accustomed to performing lasers, managing glaucoma, and treating diabetic retinopathy in clinic, while also being a part of a busy surgical schedule. The North Chicago VA provides a great comprehensive ophthalmology experience where you see patients in your own clinic while spending time in the OR 3 days a week. Both these rotations are high volume cataract surgery rotations to help you hone your surgicial skill and efficiency.
Overall, as a senior resident, you utilize all that you have learned during your first two years of residency and build on that knowledge as you become comfortable surgically and medically treating your patients. You also serve as a mentor and role model for the junior residents, which includes teaching them examination skills in the clinic, assisting them in the wetlab, and giving advice on studying for the OKAPs. After completing this memorable and challenging year, you are more than ready to tackle future clinical challenges regardless of whether you pursue a fellowship or a career in general ophthalmology.
Judy Chen, MD, Resident Class of 2016
Busy clinics, ruptured globe repairs, ‘surgeon of the day’, back-up call, cataract surgery galore, teaching, and prepping for the future. These are all exciting aspects of the third and final year of ophthalmology residency at UIC.
Being a third year resident at UIC prepares you for the ‘real world’ of ophthalmology where you must treat patients with varying pathologies in the clinic and the operating room.
From day 1, you begin utilizing your unique 2nd year experiences by seeing several patients in your own clinic where you help make management decisions regarding diseases spanning open angle glaucoma and cataracts to retinal vein occlusions, traumatic hyphemas, and sarcoid uveitis. As a senior mentor, you frequently help the junior residents formulate a treatment plan for complicated patients with emergent conditions spanning acute neovascular glaucoma, corneal hydrops, and ocular trauma.
The pathology in the resident clinic is second to none, and you feel prepared to manage most clinical conditions after completing this year.
The other big focus during third year is on surgery. Your operating experience expands immensely as you perform cataract surgery with several different attendings throughout the year. You obtain key surgical tips from great teachers that help you learn cataract surgery and understand how to manage potential complications, thus adequately preparing for your future career. Furthermore, you gain more surgical aptitude as you perform various eyelid and glaucoma surgeries as well as several ruptured globe repairs throughout the year.
You rotate through two different VA Hospitals (Jesse Brown VA and North Chicago VA) and the General Eye Clinic at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary during the 3rd year. While at the Jesse Brown VA, you get accustomed to performing lasers, managing glaucoma, and treating diabetic retinopathy in clinic, while also being a part of a busy surgical schedule. The North Chicago VA provides a great comprehensive ophthalmology experience where you see patients in your own clinic while spending time in the OR 3 days a week.
Overall, as a senior resident, you utilize all that you have learned during your first two years of residency and build on that knowledge as you become comfortable surgically and medically treating your patients. Outside the clinical setting, you teach junior residents during wet lab sessions and morning lectures in addition to completing research projects. After completing this memorable and challenging year, you are more than ready to tackle future clinical challenges regardless of whether you pursue a fellowship or a career in general ophthalmology.
Rohan Shah, MD, Resident Class of 2012