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Residency Curriculum

Tulane’s residency training in ophthalmology reflects a balance of clinical and academic studies. The rapid pace of scientific advances demands a solid understanding of basic science relevant to ophthalmology as well as clinical practice. Some of these subjects are covered during a four-week Basic Science Course at the beginning of the first year. Other areas are addressed throughout the residency with lectures, journal clubs, and other CME activities within the Department of Ophthalmology and the School of Medicine.

Key areas include:

  •  Optics
  •  Embryology and Molecular Biology
  •  Microbiology and Immunology
  •  Pharmacology
  •  Pathology and Neoplasia
  •  Genetics

Our Surgical Numbers:

Minimum Required Category Tulane Average
86 Cataract 264
5 Laser Surgery- YAG Capsulotomy 23
5 Laser Surgery- Trabeculoplasty 8
4 Laser Surgery- Laser Iridotomy 9
10 Pan-Retinal Laser Photocoagulation 13
5 Keratoplasty 11
3 Pterygium/ Conjunctival/ Other Cornea 5
6 Keratorefractive Surgery 12
10 Strabismus 18
5 Glaucoma- Filtering/ Shunting 16
10 Retinal Vitreous 14
10 Intravitreal Injections 23
28 Oculoplastic and Orbit Total 58
3 Oculoplastic- Eyelid Laceration 46
3 Oculoplastic- Chalazia Excision 5
3 Oculoplastic- Ptosis/ Blepharoplasty 16
4 Globe Trauma 6


Training Objectives by Residency Year

First Year (PGY-2)

The residency-training program begins in July with the four-week Basic Ophthalmology Course. Featuring a mixed curriculum, the course includes a series of lectures, workshops, and skills-transfer sessions designed to broaden early exposure to ophthalmology. Didactic lectures emphasize common and emergent conditions in cornea and external disease, pediatric ophthalmology, retina and vitreous, glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology, orbit, and oculoplastics. In addition, lectures in basic sciences focus on such areas as optics, oculo-genetics, and microbiology. Faculty and fellows oversee skills transfer modules focused on basic history and examination techniques, refraction, keratometry, slit-lamp examination of the anterior and posterior segments, applanation tonometry, and indirect ophthalmoscopy.

First-year residents are stationed at the Tulane Medical Center (TMC); the VA Gulf Coast Health Care System in Biloxi, MS; the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System in New Orleans; and the Alexandria VA Medical Center in Alexandria, LA and University Medical Center. The only first-year rotation at TMC is in cornea and anterior segment disease. During the first six months, residents gain skills necessary to interview and examine patients and correlate information to formulate diagnostic hypotheses. Although this process is a continuation of internship training, residents' learning skills are geared toward ophthalmic problems and gaining confidence and knowledge of eye diseases through clinical experience.

The training philosophy at Tulane has always been the early exposure of the residents to all functions of the Department including clinic, surgery, didactic teaching, and research while monitoring the degree of involvement. Therefore, first-year residents attend to clinics as well as surgery, and are asked to take night calls jointly with second-year residents from the first month on.

After the second half of the first year, residents are introduced to simple extraocular surgical procedures, including horizontal muscle surgery, tarsorrhaphy, chalazion curettage, removal of conjunctival lesions, evisceration, etc. Once the resident proves to be competent with basic surgical techniques, he/she is allowed to do portions of cataract and glaucoma procedures under the close supervision of a faculty member.

Second Year (PGY-3)

During the second year, residents are directly assigned to faculty members in different subspecialties. They rotate through the pediatrics, glaucoma, retina, and oculoplastic and reconstructive surgery services, and are exposed to different faculty members with different backgrounds and opinions. This rotation is to establish a mentor relationship between residents and faculty members and, although these rotations are short, the learning during this period gains a one-on-one tutorial character in which the faculty member carries the full responsibility of the resident's training and evaluations. The residents will be with the neuro-ophthalmologist one day per month. Throughout these rotations residents work closely with core faculty, which provides ample opportunity to evaluate faculty as required by ACGME. Second year residents rotate between Tulane Medical Center and University Medical Center.

Third Year (PGY-4)

The third-year residents work with gradual increasing independence to improve their skills in clinical diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment of ophthalmic disorders.
The teaching objectives of third-year residents are:

  • Training in the indications, performance and complications of anterior segment and refractive surgery including basic techniques and advanced procedures.
  • Training in the indications, performance and complications of surgery of subspecialty disciplines including glaucoma, strabismus, retina, oculoplastics, orbit, and pediatric ophthalmology. Assisting in the teaching and supervision of first- and second-year residents.
  • Day and night coverage of the ocular consultation service and learning the medical and surgical management of ocular trauma.
  • Learning the indications and utilization of low-vision aids.

Didactic Curriculum

Basic Ophthalmology Course

This course is given for four weeks during July of every year and mandatory for all first-year residents to attend.

Lectures and Conferences

Each subdiscipline conducts a series of lectures covering the subspecialty areas of ophthalmology preceding Grand Rounds, which are held every Wednesday afternoon except for the month of July. An ocular pathology review, aided by a multi-headed microscope, is conducted monthly for all residents. The Department also conducts the Resident’s Research Weekend and O’Brien Professorship Lectures every year. During this program, invited speakers and faculty lecture to the residents and guests, and the residents present their research papers.

The Department sponsors senior residents to attend the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. All residents also are required to attend the annual meeting of the New Orleans Academy of Ophthalmology.

Ophthalmic Library

The Rosenthal Ophthalmic Library is housed within the Department and provides books and periodicals for students and residents. The Library recently received an endowment toward the purchase of books and a computerized workstation for integrated teaching.

O’Brien Ophthalmic Pathology Laboratory

The ocular pathology laboratory is housed within the Department.