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The Ophthalmology Residency program at Dell Medical School is uniquely designed to provide residents with a comprehensive foundation of medical and ophthalmic knowledge and skills. Clinical training is augmented with a robust didactic program. Graduates will be positioned to enter independent practice as an ophthalmologist equipped with the knowledge and skills to provide quality care to their patients. The conception and completion of a publishable research project is required.

Didactic Curriculum

Didactics will take place in four constructs: lectures, conferences, workshops and grand rounds.

Lectures will be a combination of both online and in-person lectures. The online lecture curriculum will be tailored per PGY level to maximize learning. 

Conferences will be in-person, taking place with the entire residency and with a different faculty member every week. Conferences will go through actual patients from the faculty member’s clinic and incorporate skills that emphasize critical thinking and problem-solving. 

Workshops will be interdisciplinary with other colleges at UT Austin outside of Dell Medical School. The goal of the workshops is to collaborate with other schools on campus at UT Austin to try and solve many of the everyday problems that are present in medicine. 

Grand rounds will be formal and on a monthly basis, and residents will present both a clinical case and didactic lecture. UT Austin faculty and invited visiting professors will also present during grand rounds.

Curriculum Information by Year

Residents will join the Dell Med Transitional Year PGY-1 class and will spend nine months in required four-week clinical rotations in surgery, pediatrics, internal medicine, neurology and ER.

Three months of the intern year will be dedicated toward ophthalmology. During the ophthalmology months, residents take one-month rotations through the Mitchel and Shannon Eye Institute and see patients independently in their own clinic.

Resident clinic: Residents will manage their own patients in the Mitchel and Shannon Wong Eye Institute and VA Outpatient clinics under direct faculty supervision. At the Mitchell and Shannon Wong Eye Clinic, residents will have their own independent clinic schedule and have a longitudinal clinic throughout their entire residency. Resident clinics are in the same space as faculty clinics, and residents will participate in the same administrative duties as faculty, including clinic improvement meetings and medical billing sessions.

Subspecialty faculty clinics: Residents will rotate through subspecialty clinics with both core and affiliate faculty. These subspecialties include, cornea, glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology, oculoplastics, pathology, pediatrics, retina and uveitis. Residents are exposed to a number of different faculty and practice sites so that they will rotate with one of the program’s 38 faculty members. This hybrid model also allows residents to compare and contrast both academic and private practices.

Call: Residents do not start call until the second half of their PGY-2 year so that they can have at least nine months of ophthalmology prior to taking call. Faculty will be direct backup to the junior residents. Currently, primary call is taken by both primary and academic ophthalmologists within the city of Austin. Residents will be protected and will be on call once every eight days to ensure that there is enough time off between calls.

Surgery: Residents will start in the operating room in July of their PGY-2 year. There will be a graded surgical curriculum that will slowly introduce the steps of cataract surgery. The goal is to have a PGY-2 resident able to complete a full cataract surgery case with faculty assistance by the end of the PGY-2 year. A state-of-the-art wet lab is presently under active construction. The surgical curriculum will involve structured exercises in both the wet lab and in the operating room.

PGY-3 residents will have the goal of doing two full cataract cases in the first half of the PGY-3 year and three full cataract cases in the second half of the PGY-3 year. Residents will also assist faculty with surgical cases respective to their subspecialty rotation.

Procedures and lasers: PGY-3 residents will start doing both procedures and lasers while at the Eye Institute clinic starting their PGY-3 year. Procedures will include intravitreal injections, oculoplastics procedures, anterior segment lasers (YAG capsulotomy, peripheral iridotomy, etc.) and posterior segment lasers (pan-retinal photocoagulation).

The last year of training is the primary surgical year, where residents will operate under faculty supervision at the UT Health Austin Ambulatory Surgery Center, Ascension Seton Medical Center and Dell Children’s Hospital. Residents will operate 2-3 days per week, performing both cataract surgery and subspecialty surgeries. The residency has the goal of setting each resident up with 200 cataract cases. Senior residents will serve as the back-up to junior residents on call.