The ophthalmology residency training program at the John Stroger Hospital of Cook County is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The ophthalmology residency, approved by the American Board of Ophthalmology, provides extensive clinical experience over a 3-year period. The emphasis is on developing skilled practicing comprehensive ophthalmologists and subspecialists.
The program accepts 4 residents per year and participates in the central application service (CAS) of the San Francisco Matching Program. Admission is contingent upon the successful completion of an ACGME accredited or Canadian approved internship.
All major subspecialties in ophthalmology are represented in the division with respect to clinical experience and faculty involvement. These include the following:
- Cornea and External Disease
- Pediatric Ophthalmology
- Ophthalmic Pathology
With the addition of a fourth resident and opening of the Provident Hospital Eye Clinic, the first year ophthalmology resident now gains early operating room exposure for three months of year. One day of the week, the first year resident will assist with cataract and anterior segment surgeries with fellowship trained corneal sub-specialists. Justin Bloomberg DO/OD, was the first resident to rotate at Provident and remarked, “The early surgical exposure was fantastic and it will prove to be beneficial for the procedural learning curve next year”. The resident continues the rest of the year as a comprehensive ophthalmologist in the Stroger Eye Clinic, which handles over 30,000 outpatient visits per year. The diverse patient population in the Eye Clinic provides an unparalleled amount of pathology and clinical experience in ophthalmology. Within a short period of time, residents learn to assume increasing responsibility in managing patients. First-year residents also perform anterior segment laser and retina laser procedures as proficiency allows. The year begins with three weeks of orientation in which subspecialty attendings give introductory lectures and provide hands-on instruction in use of ophthalmic equipment and refraction.
The second-year resident (PGY-III) spends four months on the specialty clinics rotation, four months in the comprehensive Eye Clinic and four months at Oak Forest Hospital (OFH), a County affiliate, which is staffed by Stroger Hospital Ophthalmology faculty. The specialty clinics rotation includes subspecialty clinics in retina-vitreous, pediatric ophthalmology and minor surgery. The second four months is spent as chief of the comprehensive Eye Clinic with specialty rotations in retinopathy of prematurity, cornea and contact lens and oculoplastics. There is one day per week devoted to ophthalmic pathology under the guidance of our ocular pathologist. At OFH the second year resident is introduced to major intra-operative procedures and performs 20 to 30 cataract surgeries as primary surgeon in addition to laser procedures and oculoplastic surgery.
The major focus of the third-year resident (PGY-IV) is performing surgical procedures. More than 700 major operative eye cases are performed each year. The senior resident performs all surgical cases. All major surgery is supervised by attending physicians. Senior residents are also responsible for providing ophthalmology consultations for other services in the hospital as well as aiding in patient care, junior resident and medical student education in the general eye clinic. One or two senior residents are selected yearly to function as Chief Resident with administrative and educational responsibilities.
Subspecialty attendings conduct teaching conferences daily in which material in the Ophthalmology Basic and Clinical Science Course (BCSC), published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), is systematically covered. The BCSC books are provided to each resident at the start of their first year. Monday mornings are devoted to Morning Report to review on-call issues and discuss cases or for invited guest speakers. Fluorescein Conference is held on Tuesday afternoons. There are weekly Chairman’s Rounds held on Wednesday mornings. Grand Rounds are held monthly with live patient presentations. Formal Journal Club is held on a quarterly basis on Wednesday evenings. Approaching the time of the annual in-service exam in ophthalmology (OKAP), board review sessions are conducted that cover the ophthalmic subspecialties.
In addition to the comprehensive in-house academic program, residents have the opportunity to participate in citywide combined educational programs. The first of these is the Chicago Curriculum in Ophthalmology (CCO), which is a lecture series with faculty from all six Chicago area residency programs participating. Lectures are held from September through April on Saturday mornings. Stroger Hospital Ophthalmology residents also attend the Chicago Ophthalmological Society (COS) monthly meetings free of charge. These meetings are held monthly on Monday evenings from 6-8 PM at the Westin Hotel Downtown Chicago from September through April. Nationally known speakers from all ophthalmic specialties are invited to give talks at this excellent forum.
All Stroger Hospital Ophthalmology residents have full privileges at the Stroger Hospital Tice Library, at the University of Illinois Health Sciences Library, one of the largest medical libraries in the United States, and at the Lions Eye and Ear Library, a dedicated ophthalmic library.
All residents are required to participate in at least one research project during their residency. The research project should lead to completion of a structured abstract for paper or poster presentation or a manuscript suitable for submission.
The Eye Clinic is located in the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County that opened in December 2002. The new Eye Clinic has 16 modern fully equipped eye exam rooms and a minor surgery operating room with a new floor-model operating microscope with video display. Each exam room contains a flat screen display linked to the hospital laboratory and radiology departments. The new clinic also includes 2 visual field rooms, 2 laser treatment rooms and a photography suite for digital and conventional film photography and fluorescein angiography. The major new equipment available to the eye clinic includes the following: 2 Coherent krypton lasers, 2 Iridex diode lasers, an Nd:YAG laser, an SLT laser, a PDT/Opal laser, a GDX nerve fiber analyzer, a Stratus OCT, an automated corneal topographer, a corneal pachymeter, a Keeler Cryomaster, 3 ophthalmic ultrasound units, 3 automated visual field analyzers and a manual Goldmann perimeter. The eye operating room in the new hospital is equipped with a new floor-model Zeiss operating microscope with video output and digital video recording capabilities. There is an AMO Whitestar Signature phacoemulsification machine available in the operating room. In addition there is a fully equipped wet lab facility with an operating microscope and another sovereign phacoemulsification machine.
A full-time ophthalmic photographer performs and processes all photography and fluorescein angiograms. Two full-time ophthalmic technician performs and assists in obtaining glaucoma-related testing such as visual fields and nerve fiber analysis. The Eye Clinic has a complement of 6 full-time nurses or nursing assistants who help to facilitate and assist residents in seeing patients.
Stroger Hospital of Cook County provides a comprehensive benefits package for housestaff physicians and their dependents. The benefits include health insurance, dental coverage, vision plan, disability, worker’s comp, life insurance, pension plan, and flexible spending accounts. In addition, the County provides the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for those persons requiring professional help. Salaries are very competitive compared to other area programs. Housestaff physicians are entitled to the following paid leaves per academic year: 20 vacation days, 12 sick days, 12 holidays, 5 conference days, and 3 days bereavement. Housestaff physicians are provided with a generous daily meal plan. Onsite parking is available for a small cost. An educational allowance is also available for reimbursement of expenses for conferences, seminars, review courses, or books. Also, 20- and 90- diopter lenses are available as loaners.