1st Year Resident Experience
Assimilating into ophthalmology from intern year is no easy task given the specificity of the field. During the first two months of residency we are on a ‘buddy call’ system where the upper level residents come in and staff every patient that we see on call with attending back up. This allows us to start learning pertinent and common ophthalmologic diseases immediately while feeling comfortable knowing there is support easily available. After that time, we begin to feel confident and competent in our management and care of emergent patients but senior residents and attendings remain available to see any patient with a complex diagnosis or difficult management.
During our first year we spend 20 weeks at the Malcolm Randall Gainesville VA performing numerous intravitreal injections and laser procedures including capsulotomies, iridotomies, and selective laser trabeculoplasties. This is also where we learn to perform our first primary cataract surgery. We additionally spend 10 weeks on our own running a resident urgent care clinic where we get to treat and manage patients ourselves while learning from all of the subspecialty faculty at UF who consistently staff the clinic patients.
Furthermore, there is a rotation that is devoted solely to retina and another that gives us exposure to pediatrics, cornea, and comprehensive. During both of these rotations we have entire days to focus on seeing consults in the hospital. If consults are light, we are given the option of self-study, wet-lab surgical practice, working in various clinics, or assist with various cases in the operating room.
2nd Year Resident Experience
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. 2nd 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. 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 very 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.
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. You will even have the chance to scrub into an ARGUS II implant surgery as first assist; a procedure that only a hand-full of surgeons in the United States perform. Furthermore, as you build your surgical acumen during your two dedicated OR days per 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 and assisting with complex pediatric cataract cases.
The cornea rotation is another surgically heavy rotation, you will have 2-3 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.
3rd Year Resident Experience
The third year of residency is truly the best, in that you begin to prepare yourself for your career ahead. Call is brought to an absolute minimum, with only 20 days total, to give yourself time to begin preparing for fellowship or your future career.
During this year you hone your surgical skill with high volume cataract surgery at the Lake City VA operating three days a week where you will gain experience with premium IOLs. This rotation will build your skill and efficiency preparing you for a high volume cataract practice. As with both years before, you will rotate through the Gainesville VA operating two to three days a week performing glaucoma surgeries such as trabeculectomies and shunting procedures as well as the highest difficulty cataract surgeries. During this rotation your surgical skills in managing difficult cataracts and their complications are truly built to the level of a cataract surgeon who has been in practice for several years.
Ten weeks will be spent on a refractive rotation where you are trained and certified to use the LensX® laser and ORA®, working with our refractive cataract surgeon performing laser cataract surgery. Training and certification on the LensX® and ORA® systems for refractive cataract surgery is uncommon in any ophthalmologic residency. Furthermore, this knowledge is required for superior care in any high end comprehensive practice offering premium Intraocular lenses. In addition to this, you will also be trained and certified on the STAR S4 IR® laser at the US Naval Base in Jacksonville, performing LASIK and PRK on US military servicemen.
Your training will further be continued at UF working with one of our world renowned glaucoma specialists. Here you will learn the different glaucoma management and surgical techniques with one operating day per week. An additional operating day per week will be spent with our oculoplastic surgeon preparing you for plastics procedures commonly done in comprehensive practices.
During your final rotation you will work with our Neuro-ophthalmologist learning about the evaluation and treatment of complex neurologic diseases. This rotation is supplemented with addition time in comprehensive and oculoplastic clinics with one day in the operating room per week doing cataracts or oculoplastics. This allows residents to maintain their oculoplastic and cataract experience while gaining knowledge of building a comprehensive ophthalmology practice.
You will leave this residency feeling confident about your clinical and surgical skill. Continuing our legacy of impressing new found colleagues, in practice or fellowship, with your extensive and comprehensive surgical and clinical training.