Ophthalmology Residency Curriculum
Residents in the Department of Ophthalmology rotate through several clinical sites to gain varied experience in general ophthalmology and its many subspecialties: NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, VA NY Harbor Healthcare System, NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull, NYU Langone’s Tisch Hospital and Kimmel Pavilion, Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, and NYU Langone Eye Center. The combination of city hospital and academic settings provides you with an enviable mix of clinical and surgical cases rarely found in other training programs.
Residency Program Overview
As a resident in our program, you have increasing responsibility as you gain knowledge and experience in each rotation.
Postgraduate Year 1
Beginning in 2021, our residency program is adopting an integrated postgraduate year one (PGY-1). Medical school candidates who apply in the 2021 SF Match will start as PGY-1 residents at NYU Grossman School of Medicine in the following July. Our PGY-1 will include three months of ophthalmology, along with seven months of internal medicine, one month of emergency medicine, and one month of general surgery.
Postgraduate Year 2
As a PGY-2 resident, you spend your first two weeks exclusively in a residency boot camp. After this orientation, you are shepherded through several months under the careful supervision of attendings and through our resident buddy system. The year’s experiences include outpatient clinic visits, inpatient hospital consultation, and performance of surgical procedures such as eyelid repair, pterygium removal, and laser procedures. Rotations are approximately 8 to 10 weeks in duration and include clinic and consult rotations at the VA NY Harbor Healthcare System, Bellevue, and NYU Langone hospitals.
Postgraduate Year 3
You spend the majority of your PGY-3 in subspecialty blocks. Third-year residents assume a greater leadership role in directing patient care as well as performing more complex surgical and laser procedures, such as strabismus correction and cataract extraction. Residents rotate through 8- to 10-week blocks including retina, glaucoma, cornea, and pediatrics, as well as Bellevue, VA NY Harbor Healthcare System, and Woodhull clinic chief rotations.
Postgraduate Year 4
Surgical care is the primary focus of your PGY-4. Surgical blocks at Bellevue, the VA NY Harbor Healthcare System, and Woodhull are approximately 8 to 16 weeks long. We have a subspecialty elective block at our Eye Center; elective choices include glaucoma, retina, pediatrics, cornea and anterior segment, or oculoplastics. Two PGY-4 residents are selected each year to serve as chief residents.
Microsurgery Course and Surgical Skills Training
The department organizes multiple wet lab sessions for residents during all three years to practice suturing and surgical techniques with attending supervision. The wet lab at Bellevue is equipped with operating microscopes, teaching scopes, and instruments. The department also has a virtual reality surgical simulator, Eyesi® 2.2, to assist in developing surgical training skills. Operating rooms at Bellevue, the VA NY Harbor Healthcare System, Woodhull, and the Eye Center are equipped with digital recording equipment.
Our surgical curriculum details the reading, skills, videos, and surgical simulator modules residents must complete as they learn surgery throughout residency. It outlines wet labs, surgical conferences, and other learning opportunities residents have each year. Surgical conference is monthly for PGY-3 residents to review and discuss different aspects of cataract surgery with our surgical curriculum director and other attendings.
Our monthly wet labs focus on specific aspects of cornea, cataract oculoplastics, and glaucoma surgery; smaller group wet lab sessions occur weekly. We run large cataract wet lab and didactic courses in October and February. Additionally, we hold a surgical skills assessment for PGY-3 residents before matriculating to primary surgery for second years. The goal of the program is for you to systematically build on basic skills to become thoughtful and knowledgeable ophthalmic surgeons.
Scholarly Research Project
Residents are guided in their scholarly project requirement by a faculty mentor, Gadi Wollstein, MD, our director of clinical research, and Ilyse Haberman, MD, our associate director of the Ophthalmology Residency. Residents are expected to take part in all phases of the research project including design, protocol preparation, data collection, analysis and interpretation, and manuscript preparation. A research database is provided to you to highlight opportunities in the department. The Scholarly Research Committee helps review projects, and the effort culminates in a Research Day presentation close to graduation. There is no dedicated research rotation or elective in our program schedule.
Residents are provided with $1,500 a year to support presentations and posters at major national conferences. They additionally receive $1,500 from the Graduate Medical Education Office for conference expenditure over three years.
The Department of Ophthalmology has a unique mentoring system to support our residents throughout their training and to strengthen and encourage them as they prepare for careers in the field.
As a PGY-2 resident, you are assigned a senior resident buddy to help you become acclimated to the program. You are also paired with a junior faculty member, with whom you meet at least quarterly. These meetings provide support and help you set and track goals and milestones throughout your first year.
PGY-3 residents are assigned a PGY-4 surgical buddy to assist in the transition to ophthalmic surgery, as well as with the day-to-day logistics of the operating room. During your PGY-3 year, once you determine your post-residency plans, your mentor may change to better advise you on your career goals and the fellowship application process.