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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Department of Ophthalmology
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Aims & Curriculum

Residents gain experience in all major subspecialties, including cornea and external disease, glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology, ophthalmic plastic surgery, ophthalmic pathology, pediatric ophthalmology, uveitis, low vision, contact lens, refractive surgery and surgical and medical retinal disease.

Surendra Basti, MD discusses aspects of the residency surgical curriculum, including the India rotation and the annual phacoemulsification course.

Our Project Aims Include: 

  1. To recruit high-achieving diverse ophthalmology resident candidates with a proven record of academic accomplishment, leadership, and social service.
  2. To create and maintain a supportive culture of professionalism and resident wellness.
  3. To utilize the Integrated Internship to develop an individualized residency experience for each trainee in order to broaden the capabilities of the graduating residents and to maximize the yield of residency training.
  4. Provide a training environment that fosters and encourages the practice of evidence-based medicine and scholarly endeavors while encouraging quality improvement and patient safety.
  5. To prepare residents to be lifelong learners, educators and leaders.
  6. To train excellent ophthalmologists who are well-prepared for both comprehensive clinical and surgical practice and subspecialty fellowship training, as well as careers in both academic practice and private practice settings.
Residents at the Grewal Eye Institute

Additional opportunities through our program include:

  • Research: All residents participate in a clinical research project of their choosing, presenting project outcomes at the annual Northwestern Ophthalmology Research Day in June. Statistician support is provided for resident research, and residents are encouraged to present their work at national meetings.
  • International Experience: Through our partnership with Grewal Eye Institute in Chandigarh, India, we provide a robust cataract surgical experience. This optional surgical rotation introduces the resident to delivering ethical, high-quality care to a socioeconomically challenged sector of the population.

Learn more about the program below.

Clinical Curriculum

 PGY-1 (Internship)




Didactic Curriculum



During the PGY-2 to PGY-4 years, the learner-centered, case-based, 18-month-long didactic curriculum cycle consists of several hours of weekly sessions. Material is presented in focused blocks, each ranging from six to 12 weeks. On Fridays, 8 a.m. to noon is dedicated to classroom learning. The didactic curriculum includes Grand Rounds case conferences, specialty lectures, retina imaging conferences and small-group problem-solving sessions.

On Saturdays during the academic year, the Chicago Curriculum of Ophthalmology offers two hours of lectures weekly featuring the city’s best speakers.

See the corresponding accordions below to learn more about the skills covered in each block.



 Neuro Ophthalmology

  • Neuroradiology 
  • Neurology
  • Neurology - Facial Pain, Headaches  
  • Ischemic optic neuropathy / GCA
  • Papilledema
  • Transient Vision Loss
  • Eyelid and Orbit
  • Chiasmal and retrochiasmal disorders
  • Diplopia, Nystagmus, Central Eye Movement Disorders
  • Pupils
  • Myasthenia / Ocular Myopathies
  • Other optic neuropathies (nutritional, traumatic, compressive, retinopathy, etc.
  • Combination, systemic conditions
  • Hallucinations, Disorders of Higher Cortical Visual Function
  • Neuro-Ophtho Jeopardy


  • Uveitis basics and approach, exam tips, anterior uveitis
  • Posterior uveitis, panuveitis, "white spot syndromes", intermediate uveitis and scleritis.
  • Therapeutic approaches and drugs.
  • Problem based cases.
  • Complicated uveitis cases.


  • Benign and Malignant Skin, Lid and Orbital Tumors: Diagnosis, Management, & Surgical Reconstruction
  • Epipthora and Nasal Lacrimal System Abnormalities: Anatomy, Etiology, Diagnostic Techniques, Treatments & Surgical Procedures
  • Pediatric Ophthalmic Plastics: Congenital Lid and Orbital Anomalies and Syndromes
  • Cosmetics: Facial Analysis, Lid and Facial Procedures/Orbital Trauma/Fractures
  • Eyelid Malpositions: Entropions, Ectropions, Ptosis, Lid Retraction: Etiology, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Surgical Techniques Anatomist's Perspective: Development and Anatomy of the Lids, Orbits, & Eyes
  • Pathology of Lid and Orbital Tumors


  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Macular Degeneration; other causes of Choroidal Neovascularization
  • Retinal Toxicity, Vitreoretinal Interface, Laser Treatment of the Retina
  • Peripheral Retina, Retinal Detachment, Vitreoretinal Surgery, Intravitreal injections
  • Ocular Oncology
  • Hereditary Retinal & Choroidal Dystrophies and Degenerations,
  • Electrophysiologic Testing
  • Retina Pearls


  • Vertical & Special Forms of Strabismus
  • Optic Disc Abnormalities
  • Amblyopia / Vision Development / Basics of Strabismus
  • Esotropia / Childhood Nystagmus
  • Pediatric Ptosis & Lacrimal Disorders
  • Pediatric Infectious & Allergic Ocular Disease
  • Pediatric Retina Minisymposium
  • Pediatric Cataract & Corneal Disease
  • Iris Abnormalities
  • Intraocular Childhood Tumors
  • Phakomatoses
  • Exotropia / Pattern Strabismus
  • Inborn Errors of Metabolism / Genetic Diseases


  • Pathology of the Cornea
  • Pathology of the Conjunctiva
  • Cell Biology
  • Infectious conjunctivitis
  • Bacterial keratitis
  • Fungal keratitis
  • Herpes Simplex/ Zoster Keratitis
  • Non inflammatory thinning disorders I
  • Non inflammatory thinning disorders II
  • Cornea trauma mechanical
  • Cornea trauma chemical
  • Ocular surface reconstruction
  • "Fuchs Dystrophy: Past, Present and Future"
  • Diagnosis and management of ocular surface tumors
  • Update on Corneal Surgery
  • SLK, CLK, Thygeson keratitis
  • Dry eye
  • Scleritis/ Episcleritis/Immune-based sterile corneal ulceration
  • Corneal dystrophy
  • Peripheral corneal disease
  • Pediatric corneal opacity


  • Intralase didactic
  • Overview of laser based refractive surg and its complications -
  • IOL calculations following refractive surg
  • Intralase wetlab
  • Visx Didactic and Visx Wetlab


  • Glaucoma Classification
  • Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma
  • Optic Disc and Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Examination
  • Advanced Imaging
  • Pathology
  • Perimetry
  • Secondary Open-Angle Glaucomas
  • Primary Angle Closure
  • Secondary Angle Closure Glaucomas
  • Gonioscopy
  • Laser Surgery For Glaucoma
  • Iridotomy
  • Iridoplasty
  • Trabeculoplasty
  • Cyclophotocoagulation
  • Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery
  • Developmental Glaucomas
  • Aqueous Humor Outflow
  • Aqueous Humor Production
  • IOP Measurement
  • Corneal Thickness
  • Medical Therapy For Glaucoma
  • Glaucoma Clinical Trials
  • EMGT
  • OHTS
  • Incisional Surgery For Glaucoma
  • GLT
  • FFS
  • AGIS
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