The USC Department of Ophthalmology is dedicated to world class patient care, research, and teaching of medical students, residents and fellows under the organizational umbrella of the USC Roski Eye Institute and the Los Angeles County (LAC) Hospital Department of Ophthalmology. LAC Department of Ophthalmology is academically affiliated with USC Keck School of Medicine, with all members of the USC Ophthalmology faculty cross-privileged at LAC as well as Keck School of Medicine (USC Care) facilities.
Residents are supervised and trained by full time USC Keck School of Medicine faculty, voluntary part time faculty from the community, well as cross-appointed faculty at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) and the Veteran’s Administration (VA) in downtown LA. We train 7 residents per year. Residents are primarily based at LAC for their first and third years of training, and spend significantly more time at the USC Roski Eye Institute, CHLA & the VA during their second year of residency. A unique aspect of our program is our LAC longitudinal clinic wherein residents follow patients for three years through initial evaluation, diagnosis and any procedures or surgical interventions the patients may need. We continue to provide integrated exposure to clinics, conferences, and operating room at LAC, CHLA, VA and USC Roski Eye Institute throughout the course of their three-year training. Collectively these institutions provide a wealth of opportunities for the trainee, given the degree, diversity and breadth of clinical material, faculty expertise, within a very supportive environment.
Academic Structure of the Teaching Program
We protect one half day per week (Friday AM) for lectures and academic activities, where residents are liberated of patient care duties with the exception of true emergencies. We teach the core curriculum in blocks which are meant to provide a comprehensive, BCSC-based review by subspecialty. An attending faculty member in each subspecialty has been assigned to the role of “block supervisor” and is responsible for coordinating a cohesive lecture series covering their subspecialty area (2 to 3 months each) to lead the residents through the fundamental curriculum. Each cycle of lectures takes 18 months to complete, ensuring that each resident will be exposed to the entire series twice over the course of the 36-month residency.
These sessions supplement the daily morning clinical rounds and patient-centered instruction that occurs on an on-going basis. In addition, academic Journal Clubs are held every 6 to 8 weeks to provide a venue for critical review of the literature relevant to the practice of ophthalmology. A Visiting Professor (VP) program provides our residents and faculty exposure to leaders in ophthalmology outside of USC. We have 10 to 12 VPs per academic year, invited in connection with the subspecialty teaching block. Hence, the VP will deliver a general address to the entire department of ophthalmology followed by 3 hours of resident teaching, designed to supplement the academic growth of our residents.
The weekly schedule for educational activities is as follows:
Morning Conference 7:30-8:30am
Mondays: Neuro-Ophthalmology Clinical Case Conference & Surgical Outcomes Video Conference (Alternating)
Tuesdays: Pediatric Ophthalmology Case Conference
Wednesdays: Ophtho Questions Time! An OKAPS Question-Based Review (Led by Senior Residents)
Thursday: Fundamental Concepts in Ophthalmology (Led by Senior Residents) & Neuro-Ophtho Clinical Case Conference (Alt)
7-10am: Academic Half Day: Block Lecture Time (Core Curriculum Series, Faculty Lectures)
Friday morning lectures take place from 7am- 10am
July 3- 14, 2017- FRIDAY OPEN FOR LECTURE
Cornea and External Disease (Block Supervisor: Dr. J. Bradley Randleman)
July 21- September 22, 2017 (10 weeks)
Surgical Curriculum- (CORNEA)- September 29, 2017
Neuro-Ophthalmology (Block Supervisor: Dr. Vivek Patel)
October 6- December 1, 2017 (eight weeks)
Surgical Curriculum- (CATARACT) Berry- December 8, 2017
Optics/Refraction (Block Supervisor: Dr. Gloria Chiu)
December 15, 2017- January 19, 2018 (four weeks, five because of holiday)
Surgical Curriculum- January 26, 2018 (PLASTICS)
Uveitis/Pathology/Intraocular Tumors (Block Supervisor: Dr. Damien Rodger)
February 2- March 9, 2018 (six weeks)
Surgical Curriculum- March 16, 2018 (CATARACT)
Orbit/Oculoplastics (Block Supervisor: Dr. Sandy Zhang-Nunes)
March 23- May 11, 2018 (seven weeks)
Surgical Curriculum- May 18, 2018** (PLASTICS or ARVO makeup)
Pediatric Ophthalmology/Strabismus (Block Supervisor: Dr. Sudha Nallasamy)
May 25- August 3, 2018 (eight weeks + two grad, orals)
ORAL EXAMS- June 1, 2018- ALL YEARS
Surgical Curriculum- August 10, 2018 (STRABISMUS)
Retina/Vitreous (Block Supervisor: Dr. Andrew Moshfeghi)
August 17- October 12, 2018 (10 weeks)
**Please incorporate ozurdex lab within the 10 weeks
Surgical Curriculum- October 19, 2018 (CATARACT)
Glaucoma (Block Supervisor: Dr. Alena Reznik)
October 26- December 14, 2018 (eight weeks)
Surgical Curriculum- December 21, 2018 (GLAUCOMA)
10am-1pm: Independent Study/Resident Research Time
11am-12pm: Ocular Pathology Series with Dr. Rao (Weekly, for Three 2nd Year Residents at a Time)
- Refraction course for 1st and 2nd year residents weekly over the first 3 months of the academic year
- Tuesday evening (alternating) Retinal Imaging Conference (all residents attend)
- Wednesday evening (monthly) Glaucoma Rounds with the Chairman.
Our residents are supported to attend the 5 day San Antonio Ophthalmology Review Course in their 2nd or 3rd year of residency, whichever they choose. Financial assistance given, provided that the resident achieves certain minimum performance on the same year’s OKAP examination. Starting 2 months prior to the OKAP examination, our own faculty also provide many hours of OKAP review coverage for our residents .
The department (USC Roski Eye Institute) also hosts several CME events each year. Our residents are required to attend at least 50% of these events.
Academic Structure of the Surgical Teaching Program, Including On-Site Wetlab
Our formal surgical curriculum is a longitudinal program which builds skills and surgical responsibility over the three years of residency. The goal of the LAC + USC Ophthalmology residency program surgical curriculum is to support early wet lab and computer based (Eye-si) training followed by a transition to the OR. We have obtained operating microscopes for practice in the wetlab and each resident is given a set of microsurgical instruments for his/her own use over the course the 3 year residency. USC participates in the Eye-Si microsurgical training project sponsored by the AAO and all residents have full access to this computer based training. We have invested in the most recent software upgrade as well.
Intraocular OR experience starts the spring of 1st year and longitudinally during all rotations of 2nd year (cataract OR during 5 rotations, including VA hospital rotation). The most robust experiences comes in the resident-run, yet fully attending-supervised OR at LAC during senior year. Our residents typically perform between 160 and 200 phacoemulsification cataract surgery procedures as primary surgeons, 10 extracapsular cataract extractions, numerous traumatic repairs, and well exceed ACGME requirements in all subspecialty areas. All residents are expected to maintain an accurate ACGME and cataract case log.
There are several wetlabs throughout the academic year. The wetlabs focus on anterior segment surgical procedures including suturing, and phacoemulsification cataract extraction with intraocular lens implantation using the latest-generation phacoemulsification systems. We also have botox and filler wetlabs, suturing wetlabs, cadaver anatomy wetlabs and glaucoma wetlabs. Formal instruction on suturing, anatomy, understanding phaco fluidics and other surgical techniques are held on Friday AM sessions in between teaching blocks and larger wetlabs are held on nights and weekends throughout the year. There is a bi-monthly surgical outcomes conference to review videos and discuss surgical planning and techniques to continually improve patient outcomes. Our residents are actively supported to attend (expenses covered by the department) to attend national review courses in preparation for Board and OKAP examinations, two academic conferences each year at which they are presenting, and cataract surgery hands-on courses that occur around the country throughout the year. We strive to provide as much as exposure as possible, within our program itself, while concurrently allowing our residents to take advantage of resources beyond our institution.
The USC Department of Ophthalmology remains one of the highest funded eye institutes in the country. This perennial level of productivity provides residents with numerous opportunities to be involved in research activities throughout their time here, either at the bench doing basic research, or more clinical endeavors. Each Friday morning, after the academic lecture block our residents have independent academic time which many choose to devote to research activities. In addition, during the senior year comprehensive ophthalmology rotation (2 months), residents have clinical and surgical responsibilities only in the morning, designed to leave each afternoon available for research and scholarly activity. Our seniors are required to present their work at the Annual Senior Research Day, attended by the entire department and community physicians.
As mentioned, we actively support and encourage our residents to present their work at national and international conferences on an annual basis. First and second year residents are provided funding to attend up to 2 conferences in each year, provided they are presenting their work. Final year residents receive funding for attendance at 3 conferences, one of which they can attend with support even if not presenting.
The Provost has also developed a unique program which allows interested senior residents (and fellows) the opportunity to obtain academic credentials (advanced degrees, certificates, etc) while in training, with complete tuition remission for these activities.
Associate Dean for Strategic Planning
Professor of Ophthalmology
Residency Program Coordinator:
Director of Neuro-Ophthalmology and Adult Strabismus
Associate Program Director:
Comprehensive Ophthalmology and Ocular Oncology