1st Year Resident Experience
Your first year of ophthalmology training at UF is certainly busy, but incredibly rewarding. Since we are the largest academic ophthalmology programs in North Florida, we see a tremendous amount of diverse ocular pathology. Additionally, the amount of operating and procedural experience we receive as first years truly sets this residency apart from other training programs.
VA: As a first year, you spend 20 weeks at the Malcom Randall Gainesville VA where you perform YAG capsulotomies, selective laser trabeculoplasties, peripheral iridotomies, 100+ intravitreal injections, and many other clinic procedures. As a first year, you get one full dedicated operating day a week where you learn how to perform all the steps of cataract surgery and will be performing multiple primary cataract surgeries by the end of your rotation. When you are not performing procedures or in the operating room, you are seeing patients in comprehensive, retina, glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology, or oculoplastics clinic. There is also an Eyesi surgical simulator at the VA that all the residents can use when there is free time.
Urgent clinic: Each first-year resident spends 10 weeks running the urgent clinic where you learn how to triage, manage, and treat ocular emergencies. This clinic gives you the autonomy of working-up, diagnosing, and formulating a treatment plan for all of your patients. Each patient is staffed with an attending, which allows you to learn from all of our faculty members.
Consults: Each first year spends time as the hospital consult resident where you see consults from the adult ED, the pediatric ED, and the inpatient services. Since our catchment area is so large, we see a vast amount of pathology and rare ocular conditions. You are also responsible for performing any procedure that is needed for any hospital patient (intravitreal injection, tarsorrhaphy, lateral
canthotomy and cantholysis, eyelid laceration repairs, etc.). Each consult and procedure is staffed with our consult attending.
Clinic: As a first year, you get dedicated time in retina, cornea, pediatrics, comprehensive, contact lens, and low vision clinic. Additionally, you will also be assisting in retina surgeries when you are with the retina attendings.
Call: The first years split primary call amongst the five of them. Our call is home call and residents typically take one call night a week and one call weekend every five weeks. There is a senior resident and attending on back-up call who is always available to help, staff complicated patients, and to take emergent cases to the OR. During the first 10 weeks of residency, call is “buddy call” where the senior resident comes in and sees every patient that our service is consulted for with the first year. This allows you to start learning pertinent and common ophthalmologic diseases immediately while feeling comfortable knowing there is support easily available. After that time, you begin to feel confident and competent in your management and care of emergent patients, but senior residents and attendings remain available to see any patient with you including those with a complex diagnosis or difficult management.
2nd Year Resident Experience
Logan T Vander Woude
Congratulations! You are officially done with all of your primary call responsibilities in residency and will now serve only as back-up call to your first year residents. Your weekend back-up call averages 1 in 5, even less for weekdays since these are split with your 3rd year residents. We are one of the few institutions that let our second year residents take back up surgical call. This means you will be able to do advanced traumatic cases, under attending supervision, which will help improve your technique and surgical decision making early. Having this experience early in your training is invaluable as a resident.
Second year is primarily focused on further developing your clinical and surgical skills in the various subspecialties, with dedicated 10-week rotations in Retina, Cornea, Glaucoma, Pediatrics and the VA- where we get significant cataract and plastics experience. As in all years of training in our program—but even more so now as a more senior resident—you will be an active participant in all aspects of patient care with significant clinical and surgical autonomy and the right amount of supervision to help you quickly develop into a confident young ophthalmic surgeon.
The VA clinic is busy both clinically and surgically with clinics in Neuro-Ophthalmology, Comprehensive, Glaucoma, Oculoplastics, Medical Retina, and Uveitis. In addition to seeing all of the above patients in clinic, you will have one full dedicated OR day per week for primary cataract surgeries and one full day per week for primary oculoplastic surgeries. You will complete approximately 50-60 cataract surgeries as primary surgeon (many of them complex requiring rings, trypan blue, etc) in addition to numerous primary eyelid surgeries on your oculoplastics day. At the VA we also have the opportunity to select all our own lenses and mark our plastic surgeries before having the attending approve them.
Although we have significant exposure to clinical and surgical glaucoma management at the VA during all 3 years of training, we also have a dedicated 10-week glaucoma rotation at UF where we perform many trabeculectomies and tube shunting procedures as primary surgeon in addition to cataracts. Here you will learn to treat both pediatric and adult glaucoma patients.
During your retina rotation you will have the opportunity to learn the different diseases, diagnostic tests, and treatments of a multitude of retinal diseases ranging from bread and butter macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy to complex ocular oncology and uveitis. Furthermore, as you build your surgical acumen during your dedicated OR day each week, you will begin doing core vitrectomies and pars plana lensectomies as a primary surgeon, an opportunity offered to residents in only a select few programs. You will also perform hundreds of intravitreal injections and retinal laser treatments.
During your pediatrics rotation you will continue your retina training through the treatment of retinopathy of prematurity. In some cases, you will have the opportunity to perform indirect laser in premature infants to prevent blindness. You will also learn how to manage a wide spectrum of pediatric pathology from genetic ocular diseases to congenital strabismus. You will have significant operating room time with 2 full dedicated OR days per week, performing between 40-50 strabismus surgeries as primary surgeon. Residents have even performed primary pediatric cataract surgeries.
The cornea rotation is another surgically heavy rotation, you will have 2 full days per week in the operating room where you perform many cataract and pterygium surgeries as primary surgeon and assist with numerous penetrating and partial thickness corneal transplants, ocular surface cancer removals and other more complex anterior segment surgeries. You will also care for an array of rare corneal diseases and learn to manage severe cornea infections caused by a range of pathogens from bacteria and viruses to parasites and fungus. Due to the high rate of corneal infections in the humid state of Florida and the well-known reputation of our cornea department as a tertiary referral center, your exposure to rare and severe corneal pathology here at UF is unparalleled.
As a second year, UF sends us to Telling It Like It Is, a national conference in Orlando, which is a great exposure to anterior segment surgery, handling complex cataracts, and managing complications. It is a lot of fun and you get to meet other residents and colleagues. We have 5 dedicated educational days each year, which we can use to go to conferences or courses of our choosing. Also, if you present at one of these, UF will pay for you to go!
Finally, we don’t just work here. We all enjoy hanging out together on the weekends or after clinic. While Gainesville isn’t a large city, the food scene is quite good here. Gators have great gamedays and we often get together to tailgate or watch the games. Gainesville and the surrounding area is amazing for outdoor activities. We have west and east coast beaches about an hour away, kayaking, tubing on Ginnie springs, biking trails, and golf courses. Most weekends you can find us playing volley or spikeball in the park, golfing, hosting game nights, or grabbing dinner and drinks together. If you have questions about the program, feel free to email me at .
3rd Year Resident Experience
The final year of training here at UF in Gainesville is heavily focused on surgery. During this year alone, our residents routinely perform approximately 200-250 primary surgeries. The senior resident can expect to get diverse experience with routine and complex cataracts, as well as refractive, glaucoma (including MIGS), and oculoplastic surgery.
While on each rotation at the Malcolm Randall VA Medical Center rotation in Gainesville and the Lake City VA Medical Center, the resident can expect 100+ primary surgeries per location. We routinely encounter cases that may have one of more of the following characteristics: mature, traumatic, post-refractive, post-vitrectomized and otherwise non-routine cataract cases (short axial length, presence of glaucoma drainage shunts, etc). In addition, you will also be performing various oculoplastic and anterior segment procedures including upper eyelid blepharoplasty, conjunctival lesion excisions, eyelid lesion excisions and in-office procedures such as YAG posterior capsulotomy and laser trabeculoplasties.
During the rotation at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, the resident has the opportunity of being primary surgeon on numerous refractive surgical procedures (typically, PRK and LASiK). We work alongside Navy ophthalmologists who perform these surgeries on active-duty servicemen and –women which affords a perspective of refractive surgery in an environment different from private practice or academics.
The remaining senior year rotations are at our new clinic location that opened in early 2020: UF Health The Oaks. This 139,000 square foot location is home to the ENT, Audiology, and Ophthalmology outpatient clinics and features an on-site outpatient surgical center with modern surgical equipment. While on the two different senior rotations at The Oaks, each resident will be performing cataract and oculoplastic surgeries 1-2 days per week. As primary surgeon, the resident will use the LENSx® and ORA® systems and will have the opportunity to become certified on each.
The decompressed call schedule (20 nights of backup call throughout the entire year) allows for more time to be dedicated to pursuing a fellowship, post-residency job-search, family time, and leisure. The town of Gainesville has a variety of nearby nature attractions including Rainbow Springs, Ginnie Springs, Ichetucknee springs and Paynes Prairie State Park. In addition, it is close to a few great beaches (Clearwater, St. Augustine, Jacksonville, Daytona Beach) as well as Orlando and Tampa.