The academic schedule is designed to give residents ongoing, comprehensive educational training that encompasses the breadth of ophthalmology.
Daily Morning Lecture
Every Monday through Thursday, residents have morning lecture which is led by faculty. These lectures are primarily case-based and discipline-specific lectures that aim to cover all sub-specialties.
Weekly Basic and Clinical Science Course Lecture Series (BCSC)
One half-day per week (Friday mornings) is protected for residents’ lectures and academic activities. During this academic time, the core educational curriculum is taught in blocks, an approach designed to provide a comprehensive, AAO Basic and Clinical Science Course (BCSC) based review by subspecialty. Residents are led through didactic lectures of the fundamental curriculum by attending faculty members representing each subspecialty area. The lecture block curriculum is designed to last 18-months so that by the end of residency the resident will have gone through the BCSC fundamentals twice. These sessions supplement the daily morning clinical rounds and patient-centered instruction.
We learn from each other. That’s what I love about this program. I teach, but the residents are always asking the right questions, and that really elevates the level of care at our institution.
– Sandy Zhang-Nunes, MD.
Assistant Prof. of Clinical Ophthalmology
Weekly Ophthalmology Grand Rounds
Every Friday morning (before the BCSC lecture series), residents present interesting clinical or surgical cases on a rotating schedule to the department. These are typically cases that residents have personally diagnosed and managed with the faculty, and a faculty discussant will share their expertise and clinical “pearls” about the case.
Fluorescein Angiography/Retina Imaging Conferences
The retina service hosts a Fluoroscein Angiography/Retina Imaging Conference twice a month on Friday morning after Grand Rounds. This conference provides residents with an opportunity to interpret retinal imaging modalities, especially fluorescein angiography, and discuss differential diagnoses and case management.
Surgical Outcomes & Quality Improvement Conference
Residents regularly participate in a surgical outcomes/quality improvement conference. This is an opportunity for residents to share and discuss difficult surgical cases (typically cataract surgery) with challenges or complications. These faculty-led conferences aim to enhance residents’ surgical knowledge and improve our patient care and surgical outcomes.
Academic Journal Clubs take place approximately every 1-2 months to provide an opportunity for critical review of the literature relevant to the practice of ophthalmology. Journal clubs are led and organized by each individual sub-specialty service. Residents learn to critically analyze, review, and present recent, groundbreaking articles in the field and discuss findings and implications with faculty attendings.
Visiting Professor Program
A Visiting Professor program provides exposure to national and international leaders in ophthalmology outside of USC. Visiting Professors are scheduled during the academic year in connection with specific subspecialty teaching blocks. These experts deliver a general address to the entire department, followed by the normally scheduled resident teaching.
Typical weekly academic schedule:
Daily: Morning Lecture 7:30-8:30AM
Monday: Neuro-ophthalmology clinical case conference/Oculoplastics clinical case conference (alternating)
Tuesday: Pediatric Ophthalmology case conference/Cornea case conference
Wednesday: Glaucoma case conference
Thursday: Fundamental Concepts in Ophthalmology & Neuro-ophthalmology clinical case conference (alternating)
Friday: Grand Rounds 7:30-8:30AM, BCSC Block Lecture 8:30-10:30AM, Academic Time/Path Rounds (10:30AM-12PM)
Our formal, longitudinal surgical curriculum builds skills and surgical responsibility over the three years of residency. The goal is to support early wet lab and computer-based (Eye-SI) training for all residents, followed by a gradual transition to the OR.
The first year surgical experience begins with pterygium surgery and oculoplastics procedures, continues with steps of cataract surgery in the spring, and culminates at the end of the year with their first primary phacoemulsification cases. The surgical experience continues during second year during all sub-specialty rotations with cataract surgical experience during six rotations. The most robust surgical experiences come in the resident-run OR at LAC+USC Medical Center during the senior year, where seniors have weekly dedicated cataract OR time.
Surgical wet-labs are held throughout the academic year, primarily focusing focus on anterior segment surgical procedures including phacoemulsification cataract extraction with intraocular lens implantation using the latest-generation phacoemulsification systems. Other wet-labs include oculoplastics procedures, cadaver anatomy, suturing workshops, botulinum toxin and filler, and traditional and minimally invasive glaucoma surgical procedures. In addition, USC participates in larger regional cataract wet-lab courses throughout the year.
Formal instruction consisting of didactic lectures on cataract surgery throughout the year, including topics such as phacoemulsification fluidics, phacoemulsification techniques, and advanced lens calculations and intraocular lens selection. A regular surgical outcomes conference allows residents to review videos and discuss surgical planning and techniques to continually improve patient outcomes.
The USC Department of Ophthalmology remains one of the most highly funded eye departments in the country, ranking #1 in the nation in grant funding by the National Institutes of Health in 2020. This consistent level of productivity provides residents with numerous opportunities to be involved in research activities throughout their time at USC, either at the bench doing basic research or in more clinical endeavors. Research faculty are regularly integrated during Grand Rounds to discuss their ongoing research, which exposes and inspires residents to participate in various research endeavors.
Residents are given protected research time on various rotation blocks which are used to focus on research projects. A resident research project repository maintained by the research faculty allows for residents to quickly become involved with ongoing projects based on their interest and skills. Biostatistical analysis and support are available to residents through both LAC+USC Medical Center and USC. As part of their scholarly activity, residents are expected to be involved with research with their work ultimately culminating in a senior research project. Residents are encouraged to present at national meetings and conferences, and are given time to attend one conference per year if they are presenting research.
International Rotation- Srikiran Institute of Ophthalmology
Our program and department is committed to fostering and developing a mutually supportive relationship between Srikiran Institute of Ophthalmology and its training programs, with the aim of enhancing our trainees’ perspective and understanding of global ophthalmology. This exposure will allow our residents to gain experience in collaborating with colleagues with a common mission from across the globe in dramatically different clinical settings. This collaboration cultivates an environment where residents will not only learn new skills and see different pathologies, but also share their knowledge and skills with trainees (residents and fellows) at Srikiran Institute of Ophthalmology.
Structure of the international Srikiran rotation
- A voluntary 2-week rotation at the Srikiran Institute of Ophthalmology – the optimal times of year would be between late October/early November and late February/ early March.
- Any third-year resident is eligible for the rotation.
- Educational activities will include the following:
- Attend comprehensive, and subspecialty clinics in retina, peds/strabismus, glaucoma, and corneal diseases while at Srikiran
- Gain experience in manual small incision cataract surgery (MSICS) through graded responsibility and mentorship from expert attendings
- When possible, attend a cataract vision screening camp in rural Andhra Pradesh.
- Upon completion of the rotation, each resident will be asked to put together a brief written report of his/her experience at Srikiran Institute of Ophthalmology. A presentation to the USC team will be given upon return outlining his/her experiences and perspectives.
Airfare to India and other incidental costs (supplies, lodging, local transportation) will be covered by the USC residency program. A visitor’s visa will be required, and will be the resident’s responsibility to acquire ahead of time. Travel to Rajahmundry, via Hyderabad will be the most likely path to Andhra Pradesh. From Rajahmundry, ground transportation will be arranged to Kakinada (roughly 1 hour drive) by the Srikiran Institute of Ophthalmology.