Curriculum

Our curriculum will help you fully develop your clinical care abilities, research expertise, professionalism, leadership skills and knowledge about the full spectrum of conditions you will encounter as a specialist in ophthalmology.

First Year

The first year of residency training is designed to teach the examination techniques required to perform a complete ophthalmologic examination.

The first two months, during which first-year residents do not take call, are spent in didactic and practical teaching courses learning basic examination techniques and refraction.

The remainder of the year is split between adult and pediatric clinical rotations at the Ross Eye Institute and some subspecialty training in neuro-ophthalmology and ophthalmic pathology.

The resident is given graduated surgical responsibilities and will perform some basic surgeries, including external eyelid surgeries as well as intravitreal injections.

A wide array of ophthalmic pathology is learned from the consult service at the Erie County Medical Center in the resident’s first year.

Second Year

The second year of residency training is spent learning subspecialty ophthalmology in:

  • cornea and external disease
  • glaucoma
  • retina
  • pediatrics

The second-year resident divides his or her time between the Ross Eye Institute and the Buffalo VA Medical Center.

The main surgical experience in pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus occurs during this year. Cataract surgical techniques and ophthalmic laser skills are also begun in the second year.

Third Year

The third year provides surgical experience in all fields of ophthalmology. The resident gains a large surgical cataract experience at both the Buffalo VA Medical Center and Erie County Medical Center.

There is also wide surgical exposure in all subspecialty fields. The graduating resident should feel comfortable performing a wide range of surgical procedures.

Call Schedule

First-year residents do not take call the first two months, when they are acquiring basic clinical and surgical skills. All call is taken from home. Residents cover the emergency rooms at Erie County Medical Center, Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo and the Buffalo VA Medical Center when on call.

The first- and second-year residents take first call and the third-year residents split up back-up call. An attending physician is available at all times and is present at all surgeries. First- and second-year residents always are backed up by the senior resident and the attending physician on call. First-year residents are responsible for the majority of weekend calls during the year, with slightly less primary call in the second year.

Speakers

The Department of Ophthalmology, in cooperation with the Buffalo Ophthalmologic Society, sponsors six guest speakers from around the United States each year in a dinner meeting format.

The residents also attend a monthly visiting professor series at the University of Rochester.

Wet Labs

Biannual surgical wet labs are given on Saturday mornings and are designed to teach the basic techniques of microsurgery. Pig eyes and surgical simulators are used to practice cataract surgery and corneal surgery.

Three operating microscopes, three phacoemulsification machines, surgical instruments and disposable supplies are provided in a dedicated ocular surgery laboratory.

Research Conference

In June of each year, an annual resident research conference is held.

Senior residents present a research project at this forum along with members of the faculty, who present updates on their research endeavors.

Two visiting professors are invited to speak at this conference.

Educational Reading

The faculty provide a reading list that is critical to the development of your fund of knowledge. It is expected that this list will be completed at the appropriate time in your training. Although extensive, it is not complete. This should be considered the minimum reading required.

Residents are expected to take the opportunity to learn whenever and wherever possible. In addition to this required reading, residents are expected to pursue an aggressive independent course of reading texts and journals.

Residents should regularly read the major journals and demonstrate a progressive ability to critically evaluate the general directions of ophthalmic inquiry and the specific attributes of individual presentations.

Conferences/Meetings

The didactic curriculum consists of 2 to 3 morning lectures per week on a variety of topics in ophthalmology given by the faculty.

Conferences include visual field conferences, fluorescein angiography conferences and monthly journal club.

Residents are required to attend conferences given by full-time and volunteer staff; any clinical obligations are excused, as teaching conferences supersede clinical responsibilities for the residents.

You may not be given an option to miss a conference or meeting. You will be held responsible for missing these obligations should this occur. Explain this rule for any faculty who offers you the opportunity to miss a lecture.

Please be on time for all meetings. Many of the faculty spend a great deal of time preparing their lectures. Arriving late is rude and inexcusable.

Fluorescein Conference

The fluorescein conference is held by an area retina specialist to learn about the routine and unusual diagnoses in retinal disease.

Grand Rounds

Grand Rounds are held on Thursday mornings and run from 7-8:30 am. All residents are expected to be present and arrive on time. Residents are not to be involved in other activities at this time.

The purposes of grand rounds are many, not the least of which include the opportunity to discuss unusual ophthalmic cases, to present case histories and physical findings concisely along with a critical review of the literature pertinent to the patient’s diagnosis, and to become comfortable with public speaking.

The chief resident is in charge of assigned dates for which each resident is responsible for presenting a case. Two cases will be presented at each grand rounds. Each case should be professionally prepared in detail, thoughtfully presented and thoroughly discussed.

Reiterating textbook material is to be avoided as it is unnecessary and boring. Grand round presentations are not for the purpose of giving a lecture. On average, first- and second-year residents present six times a year; third-year residents present surgical grand rounds three times a year each.

Cases that make for good discussion include not only rare or unknown problems but common disorders that may provoke discussions involving management issues.

Residents should present cases that they themselves have seen and participated in, if possible. Each resident should try to keep a file of interesting cases that they have seen so that they may have cases they can draw upon to present.

If residents cannot find cases to present for their assigned session, they should contact full-time staff members for suggestions and use of interesting cases from their files.

Journal Club

Approximately every two months, a journal club will be hosted by a staff physician or a clinical professor of ophthalmology. The format is variable but usually involves critical review of assigned articles from major ophthalmology journals.

Journal club is held several times a year at a local restaurant or at an attending physician’s home.

Board Certification

Each resident is responsible for arranging timely application to take the American Board of Ophthalmology qualifying examination.

Part I, the written qualifying examination is, usually held in April of the year following completion of residency training.

Please note that the recommendation of the department chairman is required.

Applications forms are available from the American Board of Ophthalmology.