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Vitreoretinal Surgery Fellowship

The Vitreoretinal Surgery Fellowship at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is a 2-year AUPO certified fellowship that encompasses both medical and surgical vitreoretinal training. Throughout the fellowship, fellows will gain a comprehensive experience in the surgical and medical management of both adult and pediatric vitreoretinal disease. Our goal is to provide our Vitreoretinal Fellows with a comprehensive training experience and give them the necessary tools to succeed in academic medicine or private practice. Our fellowship program has a track record of placing graduating fellows in premier private practices and academic faculty positions. We are committed to providing them with the support necessary to succeed both during and after their fellowship training.

Application Information Heading link

Thank you for your interest in our program. The 2025-2027 fellowship application period is now open.

The fellowship starts on July 7, 2025 and ends on July 6, 2027. Stipends are provided at the PGY5 and then PGY6 levels. 24 days of vacation per year are available as provided in the University system.

For questions about the program, please contact Fellowship Coordinator, Robin Tate-Casper.

Robin Tate-Casper, Fellowship Coordinator Heading link

Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences University of Illinois at Chicago

1855 W. Taylor St., Suite 2.50, (MC 648), Chicago, Illinois 60612

Educational Opportunities Heading link

The fellows will participate in departmental Grand Rounds, Imaging Conference, Retina Surgical Conference, the Annual Retina Symposium, Chicago’s Rabb Retina Club, and other UIC Continuing Medical Education Courses. Fellows also have a significant teaching role as they are involved with instruction to medical students and ophthalmology residents.

In order to hone their surgical skills, the fellows will have access to the 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/vitrectomy machines for practicing cataract and retinal surgery. There are video recording and editing capabilities to help fellows improve surgical skills. An EyeSi simulator is also available for practicing vitrectomy surgery.

Illinois Eye and Ear Vitreoretinal Fellows also have the privilege to attend the Annual Advanced Vitreoretinal Techniques & Technology (AVTT) Symposium, the annual UIC Retina Symposium, the Midwest Ocular Angiography Conference (MOAC), and the Vit-Buckle Society (VBS) Meeting.

Clinical Opportunities and Responsibilities Heading link

The Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary has a large population of patients with medical and surgical vitreoretinal diseases. We have a particularly large volume of complex retinal detachments from severe diabetic retinopathy, trauma, and proliferative vitreoretinopathy that require advanced surgical techniques.


The vitreoretinal fellows will learn surgery through graded hands-on techniques with the faculty. It is estimated that each fellow will participate in over 800 surgical cases and will graduate with approximately 400 surgical cases as primary surgeon. Our surgical faculty include Drs. William F. Mieler and Michael Heiferman (Co-Directors, Vitreoretinal Fellowship), Dr. Jennifer I. Lim (Director, Retina Service), Dr. R.V. Paul Chan (Department Head), Dr. Felix Y. Chau, Dr. Lawrence J. Ulanski, Dr. Robert Hyde, and our newest faculty member, Dr. Liang ( Justine) Cheng, all of who staff and supervise surgical cases. The surgical experience is varied and includes primary retinal detachments, PVR/tractional and diabetic detachments, macular surgery, pediatric retinal surgery, primary scleral buckling, vitrectomy in keratoprosthesis, endoscopic approaches, and scleral sutured IOL procedures. A priority of our fellowship is that our fellows gain exposure to a variety of different surgical techniques. The Vitreoretinal Surgery Fellows share retina call responsibilities. During the first year of fellowship, the Vitreoretinal Surgery Fellow is also responsible for sharing Trauma call (involving staffing senior residents for open globe repairs) with all other Ophthalmology Fellows in the department.

Non-surgical clinic care

In the clinic, fellows have the opportunity to manage a wide spectrum of patients with the guidance of the faculty. The patients include those referred to the faculty and those referred from the General Eye Clinic and other clinics. The fellows are provided with a comprehensive medical retina experience, as they will rotate with experts in ocular oncology, pediatric retina, clinical trials, uveitis, and retinal degenerations.

In the hospital, fellows examine vitreoretinal consultations including examinations in the neonatal unit of premature infants to monitor and treat retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).

Research Opportunities Heading link

Fellows are required to take part in clinical and/or basic science research projects. The retina service is actively involved in a number of major clinical trials and our faculty have numerous national/international research collaborations. Fellows will have full access to the Lions of Illinois Eye Research Institute (LIERI), which is the main location for the basic science laboratories of the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences. LIERI has state of the art facilities for research in cell and molecular biology, chemistry and biochemistry, electrophysiology, immunology, microbiology, nanotechnology, neuroscience, pharmacology, genomics, physics, physiology and psychophysics. Researchers at the IEEI also have strong collaborations with the Graduate School of Engineering at the University of Illinois, which is among the leading engineering departments in the country. Vision research at the Illinois Eye & Ear Infirmary is supported by many sponsored programs, including a Core Grant for Vision Research and a Clinician Scientist Training Grant both from the National Eye Institute. IEEI ranks in the top 5 Ophthalmology departments for NIH funding.

As a result of their research, fellows will have the support to present their research at local, national, and international meetings (e.g. Retina Society, ASRS, AAO, ARVO).

Affiliated Hospitals Heading link

Although the majority of the fellowship training takes place at the UIC Eye Center, the fellows will also see patients and operate at the Jesse Brown Veterans Administration Hospital located one block from UIC.

Faculty Heading link

Jennifer I Lim

Marion H. Schenk Esq. Chair in Ophthalmology for Research of the Aging Eye

Lawrence J. Ulanski

Clinical Associate Professor of Ophthalmology