Education and Training

Residents are supervised and trained by an exceptional faculty, comprised of full-time Keck School of Medicine of USC faculty, voluntary part-time faculty from the community at LAC + USC Medical Center, along with cross-appointed faculty at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Veteran’s Administration (VA) Downtown Los Angeles Medical Center.

For the first and third years of training, residents are primarily based at LAC + USC Medical Center. During the second year, significantly more time is spent at the USC Roski Eye Institute, Children’s Hospital of LA and the VA Downtown Los Angeles Medical Center. Our unique LAC + USC Medical Center longitudinal clinic enables residents to follow patients for three years through initial evaluation, diagnosis and any necessary procedures or surgical interventions. We provide integrated exposure to clinics, conferences, and operating rooms at the USC Roski Eye Institute at Keck Medical Center of USC, LAC + USC Medical Center, Children’s Hospital of LA and the VA Downtown Los Angeles Medical Center during the course of the three-year training.

Academic Schedule

One half day per week (Friday mornings) is protected for residents’ lectures and academic activities. We teach the core curriculum in blocks, an approach designed to provide a comprehensive, AAO basic and clinical science course (BCSC) based review by subspecialty. Residents are led through the fundamental curriculum by attending faculty members representing each subspecialty area, who serve as “block supervisors.” Each coordinates a two-to-three-month cohesive lecture series. These sessions supplement the daily morning clinical rounds and patient-centered instruction, which occurs on an ongoing basis.

Our faculty are world-renowned yet warm, approachable, and incredibly supportive, establishing a wonderful culture and many opportunities to conduct research.
-Lloyd Cuzzo, MD, Co-Chief Resident (2014-2015)

Academic Journal Clubs take place every six to eight weeks to provide an opportunity for critical review of the literature relevant to the practice of ophthalmology. Six cornea journal clubs are also held during the year. Additionally, the USC Fluorescein Angiography & Imaging Conference for Retina is held twice a month and the Chairman’s Glaucoma rounds are held every other week..

A Visiting Professor program provides exposure to leaders in ophthalmology outside of USC. Eight to 10 Visiting Professors are scheduled per academic year, in connection with specific subspecialty teaching blocks. These experts deliver a general address to the entire department followed by three hours of resident teaching.

The weekly educational schedule:

Daily: Morning Conference 7:30 am-8:30 am
Monday: Neuro-ophtho clinical case conference & Surgical Outcomes Video Conference (alternating)
Tuesday: Pediatric Ophthalmology case conference
Wednesday: Ophtho questions time! An OKAPS question-based review
Thursday: Fundamental Concepts in Ophthalmology & Neuro-ophtho clinical case conference (alternating)
Friday: 7 am-10 am: Block Lecture time; 10am-1pm Resident Academic & Research

Surgical Training

Our formal, longitudinal surgical curriculum builds skills and surgical responsibility over the three years of residency. The goal: to support early wet lab and computer-based (Eye-si) training for all residents, followed by a transition to the OR. USC participates in the Eye-Si microsurgical training project sponsored by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Dr-Amir-Kashani-Los Angeles Eye DoctorsOR experience begins in the spring of the first year and continues during all rotations of the second year (cataract surgical experience during five rotations). The most robust experiences come in the resident-run OR at LAC + USC Medical Center during the senior year.

Held throughout the academic year, wetlabs focus on anterior segment surgical procedures including phacoemulsification cataract extraction with intraocular lens implantation using the latest-generation phacoemulsification systems. Other wetlabs encompass botulinum toxin and filler, suturing techniques, cadaver anatomy, and glaucoma surgical procedures. In addition, USC participates in larger regional wetlab courses throughout the year.

This formal instruction on suturing, anatomy, phacoemulsification fluidics, and other surgical techniques takes place during the Friday morning sessions in between teaching blocks. A bi-monthly surgical outcomes conference allows residents to review videos and discuss surgical planning and techniques to continually improve patient outcomes. All residents are expected to maintain an accurate ACGME and cataract case log.


The USC Department of Ophthalmology remains one of the most highly funded eye institutes in the country. This consistent level of productivity provides residents with numerous openings to get involved in research activities throughout their time at USC, either at the bench doing basic research or more clinical endeavors. Each Friday morning, after the academic lecture block, residents are given independent academic time, which many use to focus on research projects.