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

PGY-1 Year

Drs. Martin and Atkinson discuss the Ophthalmology Residency PGY-1 Year at Wake Forest.

Clinical Rotations

Resident Schedule and Responsibilities

PGY-1 residents spend 3 months of the year on ophthalmology training at the main Wake Forest location and at the VA. The other 9 months are spent with the Internal Medicine Service.  

During the PGY-2 and PGY-3 years of training, residents spend 4 months of the year at the VA in Salisbury, NC (about a 45-minute drive). The remaining months are spent at the main Wake Forest clinic, rotating with the subspecialists and maintaining their own comprehensive clinics. 

PGY-4 residents rotate through a continuous cycle, allowing each senior resident a full operating day each week at the VA, as well as operating days at the Wake Forest site.  Each PGY-4 resident will operate in Kernersville (15-minute drive) twice a month, and Charlotte (1.5 hour drive) twice a month.

Residents’ clinics are busy, with many comprehensive and cataract patients as well as glaucoma and retina subspecialty consultations.

Junior residents perform many lasers, intraocular injections and minor procedures. The VA hospital has a full optometric service, which means that patients encountered at the VA ophthalmology clinics are essentially prescreened for pathology, leading to a high surgical conversion rate for the residents. 

On Call Responsibilities

All call is from home. PGY-2 and PGY-3 residents participate in a night float, home-call system. PGY-4 residents cover surgical call and provide backup to the junior residents.

The way we have organized this is by creating a separate Day Consult/Night Float rotation. Two residents cover this service each month, dividing night and day by weeks between themselves. The resident covering the night service is free of clinical duties during the day for that week.  Educational responsibilities can be fulfilled by watching recordings of the required lectures. 

Primary weekend call is divided amongst PGY-2 and PGY-3 residents, making average call responsibilities one weekend day per month when not on the Day Consult/Night Float rotation. This allows us to comfortably comply with the 80 hour/week work limit, an ACGME mandate. 

PGY-4 residents take "second call" and thus are on call on average one of every four nights for backup call. They are expected to come to the Eye Center after hours as needed (admissions, emergent procedures or when the junior residents have clinical questions).

Faculty coverage is available at all times, and faculty staff supervises all trips to the operating room, both scheduled and unscheduled.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is the only hospital for which we have call responsibilities. 

Resident Research

Each 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.