Wake Forest School of Medicine’s Eye Center sees over 80,000 patient visits per year, providing an ideal environment for resident clinical exposure.
Our program includes a comprehensive care clinic and an inpatient consultation service at a Level I trauma center, as well as a high-volume surgical experience.
Subspecialty rotations are typically experienced by residents in the mornings (where residents work side-by-side with attending subspecialists in all major areas). Residents spend most afternoons in the Comprehensive Eye Service, seeing their own continuity patients.
PGY-2 residents have one-month subspecialties, allowing them to gain more familiarity with all areas of ophthalmology early in training. The PGY-3 rotations are more intensive, and residents are expected to function with a higher level of expertise. The PGY-4 year is devoted to surgical training and some continuity clinics
One unique feature of the program is a continuous care clinic, the Comprehensive Eye Service (CES), in which residents care for their own population of patient.
This general outpatient service allows residents to manage patients much like a community ophthalmology practice, following their patients longitudinally throughout their PGY-2 through PGY-4 years.
The CES provides an ideal opportunity for clinical teaching and is supported by supervising faculty, staff and Eye Center facilities.
Past residents have consistently placed high value on their CES experience, which they often describe as one of the “crown jewels” of our residency program. They say it promotes the development of the clinical skills needed to function effectively and independently immediately after residency, whether for private practice or fellowship.
Residents learn ocular manifestations of systemic disease firsthand as they participate in the busy inpatient consultation service, working with faculty in the evaluation of patients from the various medical and surgical services at the Medical Center.
Trauma experience is exceptional: The Medical Center is a designated Level I trauma center, and the Eye Center is a member of the National Eye Trauma System (NETS).
The training program is busy medically and surgically. More than 32,000 major ocular surgeries are performed by faculty, residents and fellows each year. These procedures include a full array of both outpatient and inpatient procedures performed in the operating rooms of the Medical Center.
Almost 800 additional procedures are performed yearly in the minor operating suites of the Eye Center itself.
With this volume of surgical experience, residents have an opportunity to perform many surgical procedures, far exceeding recommended minimums set by the American Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). For instance, residents currently perform 250 to 300+ cataract procedures as primary surgeon during their training (with a set minimum of 86 by ACGME). Additionally, they perform glaucoma procedures such as MIGS at the time of cataract surgery, for which there are no minimums set by the ACGME.
During the PGY-2 and PGY-3 years, the majority of training will be in clinical procedures including:
- Intravitreal injections
- Retinal, YAG and glaucoma lasers
- Temporal artery biopsies
- In-office oculoplastic procedures
- OR surgeries for strabismus and oculoplastic disorders
The PGY-4 year is designed with an emphasis to support cataract and other surgical procedures such as glaucoma procedures, corneal transplantation, and refractive surgery.
Wednesday mornings are devoted to resident education. Lectures on the BCSC curriculum are given by attendings. Education includes wet lab throughout the year. Additionally, Wake Forest University Medical Center has a dedicated Center for Experiential and Applied Learning.
At grand rounds each week, residents present challenging cases to faculty members, which generates discussion and provides residents with multiple perspectives about diagnostics, surgical conundrums and patient management. Additional labs, imaging discussion sessions, and journal clubs are also provided during the year.
Resident Schedule and Responsibilities
On Call Responsibilities
Resident ResearchEach PGY-3 and PGY-4 resident is required to pursue a clinical research project of his/her choice under the supervision of a faculty person. PGY-1 and PGY-2 are encouraged to participate as well. Ideally, each resident would to publish at least one paper in a peer-reviewed journal; a publishable quality manuscript is required for funding to meetings.
For the 2021-2022 academic year, we are implementing a new research teaching curriculum. We have also hired several new faculty to augment our research mission: Rebecca Sappington, PhD, Sally Ong, MD, and Atalie Thompson, MD.
Residents are given specific instruction in presenting case reports and scientific papers, and they benefit from superior audiovisual services for academic and scholarly pursuits. Each resident is sent to at least one Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and the department also fully sponsors residents who have papers accepted at national meetings.