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Residency Program

The Department of Ophthalmology is very proud of our training programs at the Medical University of South Carolina as our residents, fellows, faculty, and staff are among the finest in the world. Our residency and fellowship offers the best of everything in an ophthalmic education, including a clinical and surgical learning environment that consistently builds skill and confidence. Our programs also emphasize outstanding patient care, professionalism, interpersonal skills, and community service, all of which shape us into highly effective and ethical ophthalmologists. Our faculty is strongly committed to education and a high degree of respect, and the rapport between our residents, fellows, and attendings fosters close mentorships that further our commitment to clinical and academic excellence. Cooperation, work ethic, and collegial friendships among our residents and fellows are equally impressive. The department believes that our ophthalmology training programs rank among the top in the world.

Our three-year ophthalmology residency program is designed to prepare residents with the knowledge and skills for a lifetime of self-education. Residents see patients while developing strong surgical techniques and pursuing research interests. Clinical and research faculty strive to ensure that residents reach their full potential as ophthalmologists. 

All residents receive a wealth of experience beyond the standard rotation. We have resident-run community clinics where underserved patients receive free eye diagnoses and treatment; a resident-developed lecture series and hands-on training curricula that cross department lines to reach other residents and medical students; individual training sessions on state-of-the-art Alcon and Bausch & Lomb platforms; certification on the Catalys Laser system; annual PHACO surgical courses; an advanced rotation at our local Veteran’s Affairs hospital; and the opportunity to contribute to leading edge research projects by working side-by-side with renowned researchers during their three years with us.

All residents are given the opportunity to present at the annual Kiawah Eye Conference, held at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. It is an exciting and unique opportunity to be a part of one of the most extensive and instructive educational conferences in the field of ophthalmology. Distinguished faculty and dynamic researchers come together to exchange ideas in a relaxed atmosphere that’s perfect for networking.

Every resident comes to us with a diverse background, and as educators, it is our responsibility to help them develop their strengths and achieve medical excellence in their clinics, surgical suites, and practices both today and in the future.

 

Intern/Resident Rotations

PGY1: Intern Year

After matching for ophthalmology residency at Storm Eye, there are three options for the PGY1 Intern/Resident.

  • General Surgery: A modified surgery internship schedule with up to four months of ophthalmology rotations 
  • Internal Medicine: An internship schedule that focuses on Internal Medicine 
  • A PGY1 year at an institution accredited with the ACGME

PGY2: First Year as Ophthalmology Resident

The first year of residency at Storm Eye Institute is an exciting year divided into four rotations of three months each.

  • General (w/ Pediatric) ClinicPGY2 Residents participate in the general ophthalmology clinic and begin to see patients under the supervision of attending  physicians. The first year also spends two half-days in the pediatric ophthalmology clinic.
  • Cornea Clinic: PGY2 Residents share time with the cornea attending physicians. There are two clinic days and two surgery days. As the primary resident on this rotation the responsibilities include opportunities to participate with procedures in the OR and clinic.
  • Plastics: PGY2 Residents work one-on-one with the Oculo-Plastics specialist. There is extensive exposure to both in-office and OR procedures as well a wide variety of pathology cases.
  • Neuro-ophthalmology (w/Retina) ClinicThis rotation gives the PGY2 Residents a great experience with additional exposure to uveitis patients. The resident also spends time with the retina service in clinic and the OR.

PGY3: Second Year as Ophthalmology Resident

As ophthalmology is a surgical subspecialty, the second year of residency begins the surgical experience.

  • General ClinicPGY3 Residents are responsible for the day-to-day clinic flow as well as inpatient adult consults. During this rotation the PGY3 resident will experience cataract surgery as the primary surgeon.
  • VAThis busy clinical service is balanced by two surgery days. PGY3 Residents build their surgical logs as primary surgeon. Additionally, there is a half day for minor procedures such as injections, biopsies, and laser surgery. The majority of the surgery will be cataracts and there is one oculo-plastics surgery day a month as well as retina and glaucoma surgeries.
  • RetinaThe PGY3 is the primary resident on the retina rotation, dividing their time between our vitreo-retinal specialists. The retina clinics provide exposure to diverse pathology. There is experience performing pan-retinal photocoagulation, focal lasers, and intra-vitreal injections.
  • Pediatrics: The PGY3 Resident participates in busy clinics where the basics of pediatric ophthalmology are learned with the fellow and attendings including ROP clinic. Surgery time is shared with the Fellow but since there are three surgery days with the peds ophthalmologists, primary surgical numbers for the resident exceed the ACGME minimums.

PGY4: Third Year as Ophthalmology Resident

The PGY4 year concentrates on perfecting surgical skills.

  • General ClinicThe role of the PGY4 Resident is primarily to back up the PGY3 Resident and to perform the surgeries produced from clinic. Primarily comprised of cataract surgeries, select cases are also performed with the cornea and trauma services.
  • VA: PGY4 Residents perform the majority of cataract surgeries on two dedicated surgery days per week.
  • VA/Elective: PGY4 Residents rotate at the VA in both the clinic and OR. Surgeries are primarily for cataracts. This rotation has flexibility for concentrating on special interests during the days not spent at the VA.
  • Glaucoma Clinic: The PGY4 Resident is the primary resident on this rotation. Surgical and laser glaucoma procedures easily exceed ACGME minimums.

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Resident Surgical Volumes – Primary Role

  • Cataract Surgery: 200 to 250
  • Open Globe Surgery: 10 to 20 
  • Glaucoma Surgery: 5 to 20 
  • Corneal Transplants: 1 to 2 Primary/10 to 20 Assistant
  • Strabismus Surgery: 25 to 30
  • Oculoplastic Surgery: 30 to 40 
  • Laser Surgery: 50 to 75 (Focal, PRP, YAG, LRI)
  • Femtosecond Laser Cataract Surgery (FLACS): 10

Storm Eye Institute is proud to be one of the few residency programs in the country to offer FLACS certification as part of residency training.

 

Academic Schedule

Academic Fridays  Every Friday afternoon is dedicated to academics with mandatory attendance by all residents except for the on-call team. Typically, there are three lectures given by attendings.  

Conferences  Held every Tuesday or Wednesday morning, the residents attend didactic conferences with concentration each week on a specific sub-specialty. Case diagnosis, management, and treatment options are discussed. 

Grand Rounds  Held every Thursday afternoon in the 8th floor auditorium, these include presentations by attendings, researchers, and guest presenters.   

Resident Educational Symposia – Once a month residents, attendings, and members of the Charleston ophthalmology community come together for a fun night of dining and education. Typically three articles are presented by residents for a Socratic discussion in a social atmosphere.

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Research

The MUSC Storm Eye Institute is a leader in vision research. Our outstanding scientists and clinicians utilize the most advanced technologies and methods. They work with our patients as we study new medications to treat glaucoma, the use of corneal transplants, laser vision correction surgery, and a host of other areas. Many of our treatment methods are now standard protocol at eye centers across the country and around the world. Our doctors continually adapt these new research advances to ensure the best possible care of our patients. Ultimately, our patients benefit from a picture-perfect view of the world, while we are changing what’s possible.

 

Resident Successes

Fellowship and Employment Success

Our graduates go on to practices and fellowships all over the country. Over the past ten years, 100 percent of graduates have gone into practice or completed fellowship training. Fellowships include the University of Michigan, University of San Francisco, UC-San Diego, Wilmer Institute, Tufts University, St. Louis-Washington University, Wake Forest, Krieger Eye Institute, Indiana University, University of Cincinnati, Bascom-Palmer, Medical University of South Carolina, University of Virginia, Wills Eye Institute, Vanderbilt University, and the Army

Board Pass Rate

Our graduates are well prepared to become board-certified ophthalmologists. Over the past ten years, 95 percent of graduates passed both the oral and written examinations on the first attempt.

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International Opportunities

PGY3 Residents at the MUSC Storm Eye Institute have a unique opportunity to learn ophthalmic surgical techniques while bringing eye care to underserved communities in Belize. The International Rotation Elective was created by a group of residents and Dr. Millicent Peterseim in 2016 to provide care to those in need in Central America. This international opportunity is instrumental in the education of residents so that at the completion of their training they will become leaders in medicine and in our "global village."

 

Community Outreach

The MUSC Storm Eye Institute supports a variety of community service initiatives aimed at providing eye care services to the underserved populations of the Lowcountry.

The Storm SIGHT Free Clinic program was created by a group of residents and medical students in the Fall of 2004 to provide care to those in need. Over 250 patients are cared for each year providing a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Volunteers generously support our cause, donating thousands of hours of community service each year. We would like to express our gratitude to the patients, volunteers, and contributors for their tremendous support. Storm SIGHT Free Clinics have been instrumental in the education of residents and medical students so that at the completion of their training they will become leaders in medicine and in their communities.

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Eye to Eye Newsletter

Our Eye to Eye Newsletter (PDF) is produced annually.
Eye-to-Eye-2015

 

 
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