Ophthalmology Residency Program Curriculum Year by Year
The first year of residency was designed to model a transitional year. Residents enjoy having two full blocks of ophthalmology, one at Bascom Palmer and the second at the Veterans Affairs Hospital. Basic examination techniques and refraction are taught one-on-one. Early exposure to ophthalmic procedures during these rotations include intravitreal injections, retina and glaucoma laser procedures, and YAG capsulotomies. ACGME requirements for inpatient medicine and critical care are met during this year when not on ophthalmology rotations.
The second year of residency is spent rotating through six rotations at Bascom Palmer and one rotation at the Veterans Affairs Hospital. The rotations provide significant exposure to our ocular emergency department where residents work alongside fellows and attending ophthalmologists from various specialties to provide acute eye care. Residents have a night float system (two of the rotations), so no resident is required at-home call during this year. Dedicated time in a resident laser clinic, minor procedures clinic, and hands-on learning in our ocular pathology lab are also built into the respective rotations. Residents will have their first exposure to ophthalmic surgery in the main operating room (pterygium excisions with cornea faculty). All residents have a weekly continuity clinic where they follow patients longitudinally throughout their three years of ophthalmology training, of which most patients they first met in the emergency department.
The third year of residency is spent rotating through six sub-specialty rotations at Bascom Palmer and one cataract surgery rotation at the Veterans Affairs Hospital. The subspecialty rotations include oculoplastics, pediatrics, cornea, glaucoma, retina, and neuro-ophthalmology. Residents work alongside attendings in surgical subspecialty clinics. During this year, residents enjoy high surgical volume as primary surgeons under direct supervision of attending physicians in the respective departments. On each rotation, a half-day per week is spent in continuity clinic. PGY3 residents do not take call for Bascom Palmer Emergency Department.
The fourth and final year of residency is spent rotating through six rotations at Bascom Palmer (Oculoplastics, Cataract 1, Cataract 2, ER/Cataract, Retina, and Elective) and another cataract surgery rotation at the Veterans Affairs Hospital. Similar to the previous years, there is a special focus on surgical training. During the 7-week elective rotation, residents are funded to travel abroad to a practice or institution of their choosing. On each rotation, a day per week is spent in continuity clinic. Residents this year cover call ('second call’, at-home) for the Bascom Palmer Emergency Department and assist the first-year residents with high acuity and/or surgical cases.
The Emergency Department
The Bascom Palmer Emergency Department is one of only a few dedicated eye emergency centers in the nation. Open at all times throughout the year, it serves as a safety net for those in our community who have nowhere else to go. Working in the emergency department is a foundational experience for every resident and allows our first-years to become comfortable managing an extremely broad range of pathology. Our PGY2 training begins with buddy call in the emergency department alongside the PGY4 class. Fellows and attendings across every subspecialty are available to staff each visit, and patients you see will then follow-up with you in your own resident clinic. This structure allows our residents to form meaningful and lasting provider-patient relationships, often spanning the course of their resident training.
PHT Clinic- Resident Continuity Clinic
While the emergency department teaches our residents to manage acute conditions, our continuity clinic allows them to follow their patients longitudinally. Each resident at Bascom Palmer has their own individual continuity clinic that occurs at least once a week throughout the duration of their three years of training. Our resident clinic is housed on its own floor with dedicated coordinators, technicians, and schedulers. Residents also have their own imaging suite supported by excellent photographers, as well as their own ophthalmic laser suite where they regularly perform pan-retinal photocoagulation, laser retinopexy, YAG capsulotomies, peripheral iridotomies, selective laser trabeculoplasty, and laser suture lysis. Residents become comfortable managing patients as their primary ophthalmologist and form a strong rapport with their patients throughout their time at Bascom Palmer.
Hospitals/On Call Duties
During PGY2 on the consults rotation, residents work closely with a PGY4 resident and attending physician to cover the Jackson Memorial Hospital, Ryder Trauma Center, and Holtz Children’s Hospital during the day. All these hospitals are located only a few steps from the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. On night float rotations, residents will also be covering any emergent nighttime consults from these hospitals. During PGY3 on the Veterans Affairs rotation, residents cover consults at the Bruce W. Carter VA Medical Center, which is also within walking distance of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. During PGY4, residents take back-up home call for the Bascom Palmer Emergency Room and other covered hospitals. They cover emergency surgical cases after-hours and during the weekend during this week of call.
Unique Educational Opportunities
Anterior Segment and Phaco Courses
- There are multiple anterior segment and phacoemulsification courses throughout the year, which all residents are welcome to attend. Attendings and fellows will teach you corneal suturing, phacoemulsification, and secondary IOL techniques (i.e. Yamane and Akreos).
- Minimally-invasive glaucoma surgery tutorials led by manufacturers of these devices are held throughout the year.
- During PGY2, residents will have the opportunity to attend multiple suturing tutorials with the chair of the oculoplastics department, Dr. David Tse.
- All residents have access to the Eyesi Surgical Simulator throughout their three years.
- As PGY3 residents on the retina rotation, residents will have the opportunity to present novel cases to experts from around the world. This session is hosted by Dr. Nicholas Yannuzzi.
Practice Opportunities with Eyebank Tissue
- The Beauty of Sight Lions Eye Bank is housed within the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. Cadaveric tissue is always available to residents to practice suturing and surgical techniques.
- During PGY4, residents will have the opportunity to participate in a two-week international elective of their choosing, with reimbursement up to $3500. Recent international destinations have included Greece, New Zealand, Japan, France, South Korea, and Nepal.
Medical Student Mentoring
- Residents will have many opportunities to mentor medical students in the South Florida area. Students from the University of Miami have a one-week rotation at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and will shadow residents in the emergency department, clinic, and operating rooms.
Isabel R. Perez
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
900 N.W. 17th Street
Miami, FL 33136