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Department of Ophthalmology

Vitreoretinal Disease & Surgery Fellowship Curriculum

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Active faculty members in this two-year surgical retina fellowship include Dr. J. Timothy Stout, Dr. Alice McPherson, Dr. Christina Weng, Dr. Tahira Scholle, and Dr. Brigid Marshall. While the fellowship has a core strength in developing solid surgical retina techniques, it also provides excellent training in medical retina, including exposure to uveitis, ocular tumors, inherited retinal degenerations, and pediatric retina. Of note, fellows at Baylor College of Medicine receive faculty appointments as clinical instructors.

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Training Sites

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All of the clinical and surgical activities take place in the Texas Medical Center (Baylor College of Medicine Ambulatory Surgery Center, Gramercy Outpatient Surgical Center, Houston Methodist Hospital, Texas Children's Hospital, Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center, Ben Taub Hospital, and the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center).

The clinical location for activities of the Department of Ophthalmology at Baylor is the Alkek Eye Center with an ambulatory surgery center on the ground level. The Baylor Ambulatory Surgery Center is equipped with Alcon Constellation and B&L Stellaris machines.

The Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center has a retina room in the day surgery suite equipped with a Zeiss microscope with non-contact, wide-field viewing (BIOM), an Accurus vitrectomy machine with Xenon light source with routine use of 25-, 23- and occasionally, 20-gauge vitrectomy as indicated.

Ben Taub Hospital, where much of the surgical training takes place, also has a ceiling-mounted Zeiss microscope with non-contact, wide-field viewing system (BiOM), an Accurus vitrectomy machine with Xenon light source with routine use of 23-, 25- and occasional 20-gauge vitrectomy as indicated.

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First Year

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During the first year, the fellow spends two days a week in the clinic with Dr. Alice McPherson, evaluating both new and established patients. The fellow has

  • one half-day of laser procedures (~200 laser procedures in the first year),
  • one day of injections/continuity care at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, half-day of private clinic with an attending at Alkek, and
  • one day of surgery split between the Alkek Ambulatory Surgical Center and the VA (~50-100 as primary, ~25-50 as assist).

Additional surgical experience as primary surgeon is obtained during supervised emergency surgery (~25-35 cases such as intraocular foreign body removal or macula-on retinal detachment repair) at the VA or Ben Taub Hospital. Hands-on experience with procedures such as vitreous tap/inject and pneumatic retinopexy will be acquired as well. Call is shared equally with the senior fellow.

Additionally, the fellow is expected to conduct clinical research starting in the first year. If interested, facilities and projects in basic or translational research are also available. The fellow is also an active participant in numerous didactic activities such as journal clubs (twice per month), grand rounds (twice per month), imaging conference (twice per month), and research meetings (once per month).

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Second Year

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During the second year, the fellow spends two full days each week in the OR at the VA and Ben Taub, operating on ~350-450 patients (assisting on ~50). All of the division faculty members are involved in the staffing of these cases, allowing for broad exposure to a variety of surgical techniques (including scleral buckling).

Additionally, the fellow has a

  • half-day of injection clinic at Ben Taub (>500 injections in the second year),
  • half-day of supervised laser clinic at Ben Taub (>500 lasers in the second year),
  • and two days of continuity care.

Similar to the first year, the senior fellow is actively involved with numerous didactic opportunities including journal clubs, conferences, wet labs, and research endeavors.

Upon completion of the fellowship, one should expect to be extremely well trained and well-prepared. Our graduating fellows have successfully pursued both academic and private practice careers. Any questions should be directed to the fellowship program director, Dr. Christina Weng - Attention: Claireese Kimmons at claireese.kimmons@bcm.edu.