Fellowship in Vitreoretinal Disease and Surgery for US Applicants

The fellowship in vitreoretinal diseases and surgery at the University of Louisville Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences is a two-year program that accepts one fellow annually, alternating between U.S. graduates and international graduates. The objective is to nurture the next generation of retina specialists here in the U.S., as well as to train capable international physicians who commit to returning to their home countries to spread the use of modern medical and surgical techniques and procedures. This fellowship program was one of the first programs to be certified by the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology (AUPO) and it maintains that certification. Henry J. Kaplan, MD, Evans Professor and Chair of Ophthalmology, is the director of the Retina Fellowship program.

Clinical Responsibilities

Medical Retina

Beginning the first year of fellowship, the emphasis is on patient evaluation, clinical diagnostics and management. Fellows assume increasing responsibility for patient care including but not limited to:

  • Proper systemic and ocular evaluation of all new patients at the vitreoretinal service
  • Familiarity with cutting-edge diagnostic tools
  • Decision-making regarding the need for ancillary testing & therapy, as well as referral to other sub-specialists
  • Use of translational research findings to broaden and improve the field of retinal disease management

Fellows alternate weekly call.

Surgical

During the first year of the fellowship, the fellow is expected to become adept in providing laser treatment, PDT, intravitreal injection of pharmaceuticals, retinopexy and brachytherapy. In the second year, the fellow assumes more responsibility for the management and treatment of complex vitreoretinal pathology. The senior fellow is the primary surgeon for the Retina Service in our Primary Care Clinic at the Kentucky Lions Eye Center and the Louisville Veterans Affairs Hospital.  The senior fellow identifies patients who require surgery and plans operations in collaboration with the attending retina faculty.  A fellow can expect to perform at least 300 retinal surgeries, 250 – 500 retinal photocoagulation procedures, and about 1,000 intravitreal injections.

Uveitis

The fellow receives experience in diagnosing and treatment of uveitis in the first year of the fellowship.  Numerous unique and interesting cases are seen on the Retina Service under the direction of Dr. Henry Kaplan, who is also Director of the Uveitis Service.

Educational Responsibilities
(Please note that the red highlighted responsibilities will take you to a link)

  1. Retina Conference: Each fellow will, alternating in turn, lead the monthly imaging conference the first Thursday of every month. The fellow is expected to supervise the residents, who present interesting retina cases for discussion.
  2. Retina Fellow Lecture to Residents: Each fellow will, alternating in turn, be responsible for preparing and giving a lecture to the ophthalmology residents the first Friday of every month.
  3. Surgical Retina Meeting: Retina faculty and fellows meet the second Friday of every month to discuss cutting edge surgical techniques and surgical innovations.
  4. Retina Journal Club: The retina faculty, fellows, and ophthalmology residents meet the third Wednesday of every month to discuss contemporary retina articles from the leading ophthalmology journals, as selected by the faculty.
  5. River City Retina Club (RC2): A monthly club at which community retina specialists, as well as retina faculty, meet with the fellows and ophthalmology residents.  Interesting cases are presented for discussion, including updates in new advances in retina. This meeting is held the third Thursday of every month.
  6. Advanced Retina Imaging Conference (ARIC): The retina faculty and fellows meet the third Friday of every month to discuss interesting and unusual retina imaging cases seen that month during clinic.
  7. Preparation for Retina OKAPs (PRO) lecture: A monthly retina OKAP preparation session for the ophthalmology residents, attended by retina attending and fellows.
  8. Surgical Videos: Fellows are expected to edit and present interesting surgical videos and conduct group discussions in the presence of the attending physicians and ophthalmology residents.

Research Responsibilities

The retina faculty believes exposing fellows to research projects in important to increase their understanding of the future development of the field. The fellows are expected to be actively involved in laboratory and clinical research. A weekly laboratory meeting is held to discuss current projects, as well as ideas for future projects. Each fellow will have protected research time built into his or her schedule. The fellow will be expected to present his/her work in national and international conferences, as well as submit manuscripts for publication.

Attending Faculty

The retina faculty is among the world’s top physicians in their specialties.  They are also involved extensively with clinical and basic science research.  Faculty work closely with fellows to ensure they are receiving the breadth of experiences needed to enhance their skills and improve their level of knowledge.

Faculty members include:

Application & Questions

While U.S. fellows are selected through the San Francisco Match Program. International fellows are carefully selected through in-depth objective interviews by the retina faculty.

For more information on the fellowship or the University of Louisville Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, please contact Fellowship Coordinator Erin Moody at 502-852-0710 or email erin.moody@louisville.edu