The Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary has a long and proud history of training skilled ophthalmic surgeons. With 2-3 dedicated eye ORs at the University Hospital and a dedicated eye OR at both the Jesse Brown and North Chicago VA systems, residents spend a significant portion of their training in the OR in order to further improve their surgical skills.
Surgical exposure begins early and gradually increases throughout residency training. First year residents perform many procedures including chalazion excision, laser peripheral iridotomy, YAG capsulotomy, pterygium excision as well as extracapsular cataract surgery. They are also introduced to the steps of phacoemulsifcation and will perform individual steps throughout the year. Second year residents are heavily involved in subspecialty surgeries, including oculoplastic procedures, strabismus surgeries, glaucoma drainage implants, posterior segment lasers, and intravitreal injections. Second year residents will also complete a handful of phacoemulsification cataract extractions as primary surgeon. The bulk of the surgical experience occurs in the third year, where residents perform cases weekly with attending supervision and learn to manage challenging situations. Third year residents can also expect to have extensive experience with LenSx femtosecond assisted cataract surgery both at UIC and the VA systems, graduating with certification in the use of the laser.
Additionally, residents can expect to be involved in a wide variety of surgical trauma cases, as UIC serves as the major referral center and Level 1 eye trauma center for the Greater Chicago Area. Third year residents perform all primary open globe repairs under the supervision of a fellow.
Cless Family Ophthalmology Training and Simulation Center
The department recently finished construction on a state-of-the-art surgical simulation laboratory in the eye center, featuring 10 fully equipped practice stations with Zeiss operating microscopes and phaco machines for practicing cataract and retinal surgery. There will be video recording and editing capabilities to help residents improve surgical skills. Every resident is given a personal set of surgical instruments for use in the wetlab. An EyeSi simulator is also available for practicing cataract and vitrectomy surgery.
In addition to individually-directed wetlab practice sessions, several industry and department supported wetlabs are organized on a yearly basis and led by subspecialty faculty to build proficiency with specific surgical skills, ranging from strabismus surgery to glaucoma shunt implantation to cataract surgery. A bi-yearly head dissection course is led by the oculoplastics team to practice lid laceration repair, tarsal strip procedures, and evisceration surgery.