The Division of Ophthalmology at the Cook County Health offers medical and surgical ophthalmic care to adults and children with diseases and injuries of the eye, orbit and eyelids.

Common diseases that affect the eye include diabetes, glaucoma and cataracts but in addition, comprehensive care is offered to patients suffering from a broad spectrum of common and rare eye conditions ranging from eye disease due to premature birth to severe traumatic injury in adults.
Each year, the division treats 50,000 patients, performing over 2,300 major ocular surgeries, 10,000 intraocular injections and over 2,000 laser procedures. This is in addition to routine medical management of ophthalmic disease as well as countless numbers of minor procedures. The Division of Ophthalmology is the busiest unit under the Department of Surgery.
Clinic services include fluorescein angiograms, visual field testing, ultrasound imaging, ocular coherence tomography and nerve fiber layer analysis. The physicians utilize many methods of sophisticated care options and many eye diseases can be treated with medical, surgical or laser procedures.
The Ophthalmology clinic, located in the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital, is a comprehensively equipped facility with specialists available in 7 subspecialties including: medical/surgical retina, oculoplastics, cornea, glaucoma, uveitis, pediatrics/strabismus and neuro-ophthalmology.
Minor surgery procedures can be performed within the clinic and the vast majority of major surgical procedures are performed on an out-patient basis using “same-day” surgery in the Hospital.

Residency Program

The ophthalmology residency training program at the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), and approved by the American Board of Ophthalmology.
The goal of the residency is to develop skilled practicing comprehensive ophthalmologists and subspecialists by providing extensive clinical and surgical experience over a 3-year period.
The program accepts 4 residents per year and participates in the central application service (CAS) of the San Francisco Matching Program. Admission is contingent upon the successful completion of an ACGME accredited or Canadian approved internship.
All major subspecialties in ophthalmology are represented in the division with respect to clinical experience and faculty involvement. These include the following:

Rotations

PGY-2
With the addition of a fourth resident and opening of the Provident Hospital Eye Clinic, the first year ophthalmology resident now gains early operating room exposure for three months of the year. One day of the week, the first year resident will assist with cataract and anterior segment surgeries with fellowship trained corneal sub-specialists. Justin Bloomberg DO/OD, was the first resident to rotate at Provident and remarked, The early surgical exposure was fantastic and it will prove to be beneficial for the procedural learning curve next year. The resident continues the rest of the year as a comprehensive ophthalmologist in the Stroger Eye Clinic, which handles over 50,000 outpatient visits per year. The diverse patient population in the Eye Clinic provides an unparalleled amount of pathology and clinical experience in ophthalmology. Within a short period of time, residents learn to assume increasing responsibility in managing patients. First-year residents also perform anterior segment laser and retina laser procedures and intravitreal injections as proficiency allows. The year begins with three weeks of orientation in which subspecialty attendings give introductory lectures and provide hands-on instruction in use of ophthalmic equipment and refraction.
PGY-3
The second-year resident (PGY-III) schedule is divided into four blocks. During the three months of the consult rotation, the resident is responsible for treating both outpatient and inpatient consults. The consult resident also gains exposure to pediatric ophthalmology and retinopathy of prematurity screening during this rotation block. The retina rotation comprises a second block, where residents are exposed to extensive retinal pathology. This block provides residents with an opportunity to gain proficiency in intravitreal injections and retinal laser procedures. A third block consists of three months at Oak Forest Hospital (OFH), a County affiliate, which is staffed by Stroger Hospital Ophthalmology faculty. During this rotation, a second year resident is introduced to major intra-operative procedures, including cataract surgery. The resident performs 20 to 30 cataract surgeries as primary surgeon during the Oak Forest rotation. A fourth block is spent as chief of the comprehensive Eye Clinic.. There is one morning per week devoted to ophthalmic pathology under the guidance of our ocular pathologist. With Dr. Bamba, second year residents gross in ophthalmic specimens and review previous slides at the microscope.
PGY-4
The major focus of the third-year resident (PGY-IV) is performing surgical procedures. More than 2,300 major operative eye cases are performed each year. The senior resident performs all surgical cases. All major surgery is supervised by attending physicians. Starting in 2017, a new rotation at Provident Hospital, another Cook County system affiliate, has been established. Stroger Hospital Ophthalmology faculty also staff Provident Hospital. This rotation will allow for 3 days weekly in the operating room, with further emphasis on expanding residents surgical skills Senior residents are also responsible for aiding in patient care, junior resident and medical student education in the general eye clinic. One senior resident is selected yearly to function as Chief Resident with administrative and educational responsibilities.

Education

The Eye Clinic is located in the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County and opened in December 2002.
The Eye Clinic has 16 modern fully equipped eye exam rooms and a minor surgery operating room with a floor-model operating microscope and video display. Each exam room contains an Apple flat screen visual acuity monitor and Haag Streit slit lamps.
The clinic also includes a laser treatment room with a new Iridex Micropulse Argon Laser and a photography suite with a new Zeiss Fundus Camera. Retina imaging (OCT and FANG) is performed with a Heidelberg Spectral Domain OCT. Other equipment include: two Iridex diode laser, a iridex micropulse diode laser, a Nd:YAG laser, a SLT laser, a PDT laser, a Keeler Cryomaster, an ophthalmic ultrasound unit, two Humphrey automated visual field analyzers, a manual Goldmann perimeter, a Marco Corneal Topographer, a Zeiss auto-refractor, and a Lenstar 900 optical biometer.
The eye operating room in the hospital is equipped with a floor-model Zeiss Lumera 700 operating microscope with video output and digital video recording capabilities. The operating room is also equipped with all three major phacoemulsification machines including the Alcon Centurion, AMO Whitestar, and Bausch and Lomb Stellaris. Vitrectomies are performed with the Alcon Constellation System. In addition there is a fully equipped wet lab facility with an operating microscope and a phacoemulsification machine.

Facilities

Subspecialty attendings conduct teaching conferences daily in which material in the Ophthalmology Basic and Clinical Science Course (BCSC), published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), is systematically covered.
The BCSC books are provided to each resident at the start of their first year. Monday mornings are devoted to Morning Report to review on-call issues and discuss cases or for invited guest speakers. Fluorescein Angiogram Conference or other retina lectures are held on Tuesday mornings. There are monthly Chairman’s Rounds held on Wednesdaymornings. Since 2014, second year residents review pathology slides and gross specimens with Dr. Bamba on Wednesdays throughout the year. Thursday and Friday lectures rotate between neuro-ophthalmology, uveitis, cornea, pathology, and oculoplastics. Grand Rounds are held monthly. Formal Journal Club is held on a quarterly basis. Prior to the annual in-service examination (OKAPs) in March, a three day comprehensive review of all BCSC topics is held at Stroger Hospital.
In addition to the comprehensive in-house academic program, residents have the opportunity to participate in city wide combined educational programs. The first of these is the Chicago Curriculum in Ophthalmology (CCO), which is a lecture series with faculty from all six Chicago area residency programs participating. Lectures are held from September through April on Saturday mornings. Stroger Hospital Ophthalmology residents also attend the Chicago Ophthalmological Society (COS) monthly meetings free of charge. These meetings are held monthly on Monday evenings at the University of Chicago Gleacher Center from September through April. Nationally known speakers from all ophthalmic specialties are invited to give talks at this excellent forum.
All Stroger Hospital Ophthalmology residents have full privileges at the Stroger Hospital Tice Library and the Rush University’s Medical Library.
All residents are required to participate in at least one research project during their residency. The research project should lead to completion of a structured abstract for paper or poster presentation or a manuscript suitable for submission.

Support Staff

A full-time ophthalmic photographer performs and processes all photography and fluorescein angiograms.
Two full-time ophthalmic technician performs and assists in obtaining glaucoma-related testing such as visual fields and nerve fiber analysis. The Eye Clinic has a complement of 6 full-time nurses or nursing assistants who help to facilitate and assist residents in seeing patients including checking visual acuities.

Benefits

Stroger Hospital of Cook County provides a comprehensive benefits package for housestaff physicians and their dependents.
The benefits include:
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO or PPO health insurance, dental coverage, vision plan, disability, worker’s comp, life insurance, pension plan, and flexible spending accounts.
  • Salaries are very competitive compared to other area programs.
  • Housestaff physicians are entitled to the following paid leaves per academic year: 21 vacation days, 12 sick days, 12 holidays, 5 conference days, and 3 days bereavement.
  • Housestaff physicians are provided with a generous daily meal plan of $19 per day. Onsite parking is available for $70 per month.
  • An educational allowance of $1000 per year is available for reimbursement of expenses for conferences, seminars, review courses, purchasing of lenses or books.
  • Also, 20- and 90- diopter lenses are available as loaners.

Highlights

Meetings in Chicago
There are a large amounts of ophthalmology meetings in Chicago, open to residents:
Daily Lectures
  • Mondays: Morning Report followed by a one-hour lecture on Neuro
  • Tuedays: Lecture on Pediatrics, Retina, or Glaucoma
  • Wednesdays: Lecture on Glaucoma or Pathology
  • Thursdays: Lecture on Uveitis or Neuro-ophthalmology
  • Fridays: Lecture on Plastics, Retina, Cornea, or Pathology

Residency Training

Year 1 (PGY-2)
The first year is spent in the General Eye Clinic at Stroger Hospital and at the Provident Hospital Eye Clinic. Each resident is assigned two eye lanes. Morning lecture starts at 8 am followed by clinic which begins at 9 am.
July – SeptOct – DecJan – MarchApril – July
Provident Hospital (one day of the week is spent in the OR)General ClinicGeneral ClinicGeneral Clinic

Year 2 (PGY-3)
Year two is divided into 3 different blocks.
July 1 – Oct 30Nov 1 – Feb 28March 1 – June 30
Specialties/RetinaOak Forest HospitalGeneral Clinic Chief
  • Cataract surgery (resident is the primary surgeon) is performed two days of the month while on the Oak Forest Rotation.
  • Pathology slide review and gross processing is held from 9-12 on Wednesdays throughout the year while on rotations at Cook County.
  • Minor procedures (pterygium excision with amniotic membrane graft, chalazion excision) and minor plastics procedures (chalazion excision, orbital fat prolapse correction, conjunctiva and eyelid biopsies) are performed on Tuesdays and Thursdays while on rotations at Stroger Hospital.
Year 3 (PGY-4), Major Surgery
Each resident spends 9 months completing major surgeries (2-3 days/week) and the 3 remaining months operating at Provident Hospital. Surgical volumes are some of the highest in the country.
2015 Senior Resident Surgery Total, Example Senior #1:
ProceduresMinimumSurgeonAssistantTotal
Cataract8626245307
YAG capsulotomy512517
Laser trabeculoplasty59110
Laser iridotomy4292857
Panretinal laser photocoagulation20435108543
Keratoplasty54711
Pterygium/ conj/ corneal38513
Keratorefractive surgery6156
Strabismus1013215
Glaucoma filter/shunt535439
Retinal Vitreous102878106
Intravitreal Injection10256119375
Oculoplastic and orbit28362460
Eyelid laceration3538
Chalazia excision37714
Ptosis/blepharoplasty36410
Globe Trauma49514

Former Residents

2016
  • Erik Anderson: Cornea Fellowship at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NS
  • Timothy Ekhlassi: Oculofacial Plastic Surgery, Private Fellowship in Southfield, MI
  • Zachary Seagrave: Cornea Fellowship at Washington University, St. Louis, MO
2015
  • Matthew Asano: Vitreoretinal Surgery Fellowship at Boston University, Boston, MA
  • Douglas Dworak: Oculofacial Plastic Surgery, Private Fellowship in Detroit, MI
  • Neel Lamba: Uveitis Fellowship, Boston MA
2014
  • Geoff Hill: Cornea Fellowship at University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center
  • Paul Phelps: Ocular Pathology Fellowship at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Oculoplastics and Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship at University of Albany
  • KC LaMattina: Pediatric Fellowship at Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia, PA
2013
  • Mike Giovingo: Glaucoma Fellowship at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
  • Auggie Hong: Cornea Fellowship at Washington University, St. Louis
  • Jeff Wongskhaluang: Cornea Fellowship at University of Missouri
2012
  • Erika Wandel: Glaucoma Fellowship at Mt. Sinai, New York
  • Peter MacIntosh: Oculoplastics Fellowship at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Neuro-Ophthalmology Fellowship at University of Illinois, Chicago
  • John Roberts: Comprehensive Ophthalmology Private Practice in Chicago
2011
  • Alethia Pantazis: Neuro-Ophthalmology Fellowship at University of Iowa
  • Todd Larson: Comprehensive Ophthalmology Private Practice in Sheboygan, WI
  • Trent Albright: Cornea Fellowship at Emory University
2010
  • Jocelyn Rowe: Cornea Fellowship at University of Wisconsin
  • Anu Gupta: Cornea Fellowship at Columbia University
  • Dovilan Wyatt: Comprehensive Ophthalmology Private Practice in Chicago

Retina Fellowship

Vitreoretinal Surgical Fellowship: Stroger Hospital of Cook County / Retina Consultants Ltd.
Our objective is for the fellow to develop careful observation, critical analysis and creative thinking about retinal disease with a special emphasis on surgical intervention.
The fellow is expected to understand the power and limitations of all procedures and learn the range of surgical options in order to select the best suited to the pathology. During the case, continued careful observation and attention is required to reach the goal with optimal efficiency and minimal complications.
We offer exposure to a wide array of vitreoretinal diseases, including complex diabetic tractional detachment, proliferative vitreoretinopathy, and pediatric vitreoretinal surgery.
Here at Cook County, our fellows will gain experience managing vitreoretinal diseases both surgically and medically from first year of fellowship as primary surgeon. The pediatric retina component will feature management of Stickler disease, ROP and other pediatric retinal vascular diseases including persistent fetal vasculature, Coats disease, FEVR, and Norrie disease.
Fellows will be trained in management of standard medical retinal diseases as well as less common conditions such as inherited diseases, posterior segment inflammatory diseases, and posterior segment tumors, including melanoma and retinoblastoma. Additionally, Retina Consultants offers state-of-the-art techniques in conjunction with variety of intra-operative modalities including OCT, FA and endoscopy.
Our program maintains a strong interest in teaching, research, and publication. The fellow will be expected to contribute to advancement of the field of retinal diseases through publication of clinical research projects.
Our current fellows:
Amir R Hajrasouliha, MD
Benjamin Reiss, MD
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