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Residency Curriculum

Surgical Curriculum International Experience Microsurgical Training Lab Phacoemulsification Training Clinincal Rotation Structure PGY2-4 Didactics Research Curriculum

Residency Surgical Curriculum

A PGY-specific wet-lab curriculum takes place throughout the academic year in the Chez Ophthalmology Microsurgery Laboratory. The curriculum is composed of 2-hour hands-on wet lab sessions led by 1-2 faculty members. The wet lab is also open and available to residents for practice on their own time.


PGY-2 Wet Labs

PGY-3 Wet Labs PGY-3 Wet Labs
  • Introduction to suturing
  • Oculoplastics
  • Strabismus
  • Retina
  • Introduction to anterior segment surgery
  • Phacoemulsification Basics
  • Glaucoma tube shunts
  • Cornea
  • Phacoemulsification – choosing IOL and loading IOLs
  • Phacodynamics and setting up the phaco machine
  • Phacoemulsification – advanced techniques
  • Glaucoma trabeculectomy and MIGS


kangwebphoto.png     Minjy Kang, MD, MA
Associate Program Director
Co-director Residency Surgical Curriculum
federwebphoto.png     Robert S. Feder, MD
Co-director Residency Surgical Curriculum


International Experience

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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.

Department of Ophthalmology Microsurgical Training Lab

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Dr. Robert S. Feder instructs trainees during a recent Anterior Segment Web Lab

This laboratory is the realization of a long-held dream, which could not have been realized without the generous gift and support of Ron and Athena Chez.

Training in a microsurgery lab enables a resident to experience the hand-eye coordination required when using a surgical microscope.  Selected steps of cataract surgery, oculoplastic surgery, retinal surgery, and eye muscle surgery can be practiced and proctored in a relaxed and supportive environment.

Our new laboratory has 6 workstations with state-of-the-art Haag-Streit operating microscopes, each with an attached video monitor and an adjustable worktable.  Each video monitor is easily connected with an 80-inch monitor on the front wall which facilitates demonstration as well as power point presentation.  Video images can be sent to other locations or received from other locations.  Residents can record their work for later review.  Each workstation has a complete set of high-quality microsurgical instruments.

Our wet lab also has an Eyesi computer simulator which helps residents to master more challenging steps in cataract and retina surgery.  The Eyesi program guides the resident through these steps until proficiency is attained, recording the progress along the way.

Northwestern Phacoemulsification Training Course

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Every year residents also participate in the Northwestern Phacoemulsification Training Course, a two-day didactic and wet lab course that offers a customized curriculum for surgical teaching for each year of residency training. Learn more about this event.

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

bastiwebphoto.jpg       Surendra Basti, MD
Director of Resident Refractive Surgery Curriculum



Clinical Rotation Structure

 PGY-1 (Internship)




Intern Didactics

The PGY1 residents have a dedicated didactic curriculum to learn basic exam skills and introduce topics in ophthalmology. These sessions take place during the ophthalmology and elective rotations. Online knowledge-based lectures are provided to interns to learn at their own pace, while in-person hands-on and interactive sessions take place with two interns and one attending at a time.

PGY2-4 Didactics

ophthal-didactic.svgDuring the PGY-2 to PGY-4 years, there is an 18-month long didactic curriculum. Material is presented in focused blocks, each ranging from six to 12 weeks. On Fridays, 8 a.m. to noon is a protected time for didactic sessions. The didactic curriculum includes Grand Rounds case conferences, Morbidity and Mortality conferences, specialty lectures, retina imaging conferences, and small-group problem-solving sessions.


The Chicago Curriculum of Ophthalmology is a lecture series on Saturday mornings from 9-11 am from September until April. It is a citywide curriculum that all six ophthalmology residency programs participate in, featuring the city’s best speakers.

Resident Research Curriculum

The goals of our research curriculum are to teach our trainees a foundation in the scientific method, develop the skills to critically review and interpret scientific literature, and provide the necessary information and framework to complete a high quality research project.

Our curriculum includes didactic experiences, interactive journal clubs, and a structured timeline for research progress. Our didactics cover the scientific method, statistical analysis, grant writing, the electronic data warehouse (a tool to interact with the electronic health record via specific queries), the institutional review board (IRB), research compliance, ethics, and an introduction to different research study designs. These experiences are intended to provide the background information that is necessary to design a research study, get IRB approval and grant funding, execute the study, and appropriately analyze the results.

The journal clubs are focused upon the design of research studies and the validity of the results. Rather than focus on the information learned from the manuscript discussed, our journal clubs offer an interactive environment to teach our residents how to critically dissect a manuscript, decide if it is applicable to their patient populations, and how to implement the results into clinical practice. Furthermore, this process should be illuminating for future manuscript preparations of their research projects.

Our structured research experience includes a discrete timeline for our residents to execute their research thesis. The timeline includes selecting a mentor, choosing a project, finding an advisory committee to help with project development in a small group setting, proposing the project at our research grand rounds for department level feedback, applying for IRB approval and grant funding, executing the project, presenting the interim results at research day, submitting the results to research meetings, writing and publishing the manuscript, and presenting the work at international and local research meetings.


lavine.jpg        Jeremy A. Lavine, MD, PhD
Director of Resident Research Program

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