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Residency Training

The Cole Eye Institute Residency Training Program's mission is to produce superbly trained clinical and academic ophthalmologists and to inspire residents to become leaders in patient care, teaching, and vision research.

Current 2013-2014 Residents - Photos

The Cole Eye Institute opened its doors in 1999 and is one of the most advanced facilities of its type in the world. Our staff of internationally recognized experts care for more patients than any other eye institute in the United States and we have the most active, continuous medical education programs in the country.

Our Residency Program meets all the requirements of the American Board of Ophthalmology and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The three-year program is divided into required rotations and residents work under the direct supervision of the staff during all rotations.

Applications for residency must be processed through the Ophthalmology Match Program (via the Central Application Service)www.sfmatch.org.

During training, residents rotate among the division's nine departments and a resident-run clinic at Metro-Health Medical Center and Cleveland Clinic Lakeland/Lorain, while completing their board requirements. The nine departments are:

  • Cornea and External Disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Neuro-Ophthalmology
  • Ophthalmic Pathology
  • Ophthalmic Plastic, Reconstructive and Orbital Surgery
  • Pediatric Ophthalmology and Adult Strabismus
  • Refractive Surgery
  • Retina and Vitreous
  • Uveitis, Ocular Inflammatory Disease, and Immunology

This curriculum provides a balanced exposure to all subspecialty areas of ophthalmology, ensuring graduates the ability to perform general ophthalmology with skill, knowledge, and confidence. Each resident works in a one-on-one relationship with a staff physician. We feel this provides the best opportunity to study disease processes and their medical and surgical management. This arrangement also provides excellent supervision and optimal continuity of patient care in the outpatient and hospital settings.

Residents are also expected to participate in clinical and basic research activities utilizing the staff's expertise. Residents complete independent clinical research projects which involve reviewing the literature, developing a hypothesis, and designing and executing the study. Research activities are carefully supervised by an experienced clinical investigator. Residents are expected to submit and present their research at national meetings and to write several papers for publication based on their research activities. Each June, ophthalmology residents, fellows, and staff participate in the annual Residents' and Alumni Meeting, a scientific forum for the presentation of research projects.

Third-year residents are on call from home approximately every fourth night for a total of 13 weeks over the course of the year. The resident on call is backed up by two staff physicians who are also on call.

Facilities available to assist residents include an up-to-date ophthalmic library that features journals, reference texts, videos, and CD-ROMs. Diagnostic and treatment resources include argon diode and dye lasers, corneal topography, electrophysiology, endothelial microscopy, excimer lasers, fluorescein angiography, indocyanine green angiography, optical nerve head analyzers, optical coherence tomography, scanning laser ophthalmoscopy, and ultrasonography.

Get more information about residency and fellowship programs at Cleveland Clinic.

Rotations

Each year of training is divided into four 13-week rotations. The rotations provide a balanced exposure to all subspecialty areas of ophthalmology, ensuring graduates the ability to perform general ophthalmology with skill, knowledge and confidence.

PGY-2 Rotations
Introduction and Basic Science Course (1st three weeks of residency)

Incoming residents learn the basics of ocular anatomy, physiology, molecular biology and genetics, as well as the rudiments of most common ocular diseases and techniques of ocular examination and ancillary tests.

Anterior Segment I/Uveitis

Residents learn the basics of general comprehensive eye examinations with a focus on cornea, external disease and intraocular inflammation. They are exposed to a wide range of anterior segment abnormalities and disorders and are introduced to adult cataract and anterior segment surgery. By the end of this rotation, the resident is involved in operating on conjunctiva, constructing and closing a cataract wound as well as performing intraocular maneuvers, such as hydrodissection and irrigation, and aspiration. Refractive surgery experience is also integrated into this rotation.

Neuro-Ophthalmology/Oncology

The rotating resident learns how to take a neuro-ophthalmic history and examination by observation and primary participation. Residents are exposed to a broad range of tertiary care, neuro-ophthalmic patients referred by community and Cleveland Clinic ophthalmologists and neurologists and learn to approach both common and uncommon diseases in a systematic fashion. Temporal artery biopsies comprise the bulk of the resident's surgical experience on this service.

Retina I/Low Vision

Emphasis is on the general introduction to a wide variety of commonly encountered vitreous and retinal diseases, evaluating fluorescein and indocyanine green angiograms, and learning the clinical vitreous and retinal examination.

MetroHealth Medical Center I

The first-year residents are expected to see patients in the general and subspecialty clinics and work up patients who present urgently through the Emergency Department or via inpatient consultation. They are expected to consult with the senior resident and attending physicians, as needed. Residents gain experience with the ophthalmic history and exam, including gonioscopy, fundoscopy, contact lens biomicroscopy, and interpretation of diagnostic studies including perimetry, topography, fundus imaging and angiography. Surgical experience includes foreign body removal, chalazion excision, lid laceration repair, tarsorrhaphy, and assisting on cataract surgery and ruptured globe repair. The first-year residents share primary call responsibilities with the second-year residents.

PGY-3 Rotations
Pediatric Ophthalmology/Strabismus (Also includes Uveitis one day per week.)

Residents learn skills of pediatric examinations and ocular motility examination in children and adults. They are exposed to a broad range of pediatric eye diseases and adult strabismus disorders and will operate on pediatric and adult patients with strabismus and on children with lid and nasolacrimal disorders. The rotation also includes a monthly retinal dystrophy clinic, as well as experience with intraocular inflammation and YAG capsulotomy.

Oculoplastics & Orbital Surgery

The resident will learn to examine and evaluate patients suffering from orbital, periocular and ocular adnexal conditions. Rotating residents are exposed to a broad range of ophthalmic plastic and orbital diseases and will operate on pediatric and adult patients with ophthalmic plastic and orbital disorders, including eyelid malpositions, cutaneous and conjunctival malignancies, orbital disease, lacrimal disorders, and disorders of the brow and cheeks. The rotation includes weekly resident presentations and monthly literature review rounds where journals relating to oculoplastic surgery are reviewed. Residents are encouraged to participate in clinical research projects during and after the rotation.

Anterior Segment II/Refractive Surgery

Residents on this rotation examine a wide range of patients with anterior segment disease and have their first intensive experience as primary cataract surgeons. They become competent in the evaluation and management of anterior segment inflammation and infections, dry eye syndromes, anterior segment trauma, corneal dystrophies and degenerations and tumors of the anterior segment. The resident develops clinical skills in evaluation of tear break-up time, basic tear secretion, conjunctival cytology, and corneal topography and pachymetry. Residents will assist on a number of corneal transplantation procedures and perform parts of some procedures. They perform pterygium excisions and repair corneal and conjunctival lacerations. Some will assist on lamellar keratoplasties. Contact lens clinic and refractive surgery are also integrated into this rotation.

MetroHealth Medical Center II

The second-year resident is responsible for a larger volume of patients in general and subspecialty clinics. Responsibilities in subspecialty clinics are as detailed in the first-year rotation; however, the second-year resident is expected to take responsibility for a larger volume of patients as well as the more complex and challenging patients. In addition, the second-year resident is responsible for pediatric and adult strabismus surgery and pediatric lacrimal procedures; pan-retinal photocoagulation and focal or grid photocoagulation; cornea surgery including pterygium and tarsorrhaphy; YAG laser capsulotomy; temporal artery biopsy; gold weight implantation; and extracapsular cataract extraction. The second-year residents share primary call responsibility with the first-year residents and perform lid laceration repair and assist on ruptured globe repair.

Ophthalmic Pathology

Ophthalmic pathology is taught in an interactive setting with the participation of all second-year residents as a group and the supervision of the ophthalmic pathologist. The residents acquire basic knowledge of the pathophysiology of diseases encompassing all subspecialties of ophthalmology.

PGY-4 Rotations
Retina III

Emphasis is on the surgical management of a wide variety of vitreoretinal diseases, including scleral buckling and vitrectomy surgery. Further emphasis is placed on differential diagnosis and medical management of a wide variety of vitreoretinal diseases, including laser photocoagulation.

Anterior Segment III/Uveitis

Tuesdays and Thursdays: The resident is assigned to the operating room where he/she is expected to review the patients' medical records prior to surgery, pull the appropriate intraocular lens implant, give the anesthetic block, prep and drape the patient. The resident is given increasing responsibility in surgery according to level of skill. The residents may recruit patients to perform refractive surgery.

Wednesdays and Fridays: The resident is responsible for examining the postoperative patient before the attending physician and is expected to make appropriate management recommendations. On these days, the resident sees general ophthalmology patients, as well as patients in the uveitis clinic, and is exposed to a wide variety of complex referrals. The resident is expected to perform a comprehensive uveitis examination, provide a differential diagnosis and recommend evaluations and possible treatments. The resident also performs YAG laser capsulotomy.

Glaucoma

Residents learn the skills of examination and treatment of the glaucomas. They are exposed to the full range of different presenting symptoms and signs of glaucoma and the different therapeutic modalities of glaucoma, including glaucoma medication, glaucoma laser and glaucoma filtering surgery and setons. Residents also have exposure to the management of pediatric glaucoma and other less common disorders. The rotation includes laser and surgical experience on adult patients with glaucoma.

MetroHealth Medical Center III

The third-year resident is responsible for general operations of all clinics and consultations. The resident is responsible for teaching and mentoring junior residents in clinics, on call and in the operating room. Graded responsibility for surgical care is delegated, as appropriate, by attending physicians. A thorough discussion of surgery with the patient preoperatively is expected.

Incoming Residents (Starting July 2014)

Brandon Baartman, MD
Medical School: Wake Forest

Preethi Ganapathy, MD, PhD
Medical School: Georgia Health

Daniel Feiler, MD
Medical School: Rochester

Vishal Parikh, MD
Medical School: Pittsburgh

Current Residents (Started July 2013)

Joseph Griffith, MD
Medical School: University of Miami

Paymohn Mahdavi, MD
Medical School: Loma Linda University

Nathaniel Sears, MD
Medical School: Cleveland Clinic College of Medicine

Adam Weber, MD
Medical School: University of Alabama

Graduated Residents (June 2013)

Elisabeth Aponte, MD
Medical School: Mayo Clinic
Fellowship: Glaucoma, University of Iowa

John Au, MD
Medical School: Virginia Commonweatlh
Fellowship: Cornea, Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute

Igor Estrovich, MD
Medical School:Case Western Reserve University
Fellowship: Glaucoma, Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute

Sumit Sharma, MD
Medical School: Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine/CWRU
Fellowship: Retina, Duke University

Graduating Class - 2013
Elisabeth Aponte, MD

Medical School: Mayo Clinic
Residency: Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute (2011-2013)
Fellowship: Glaucoma, University of Iowa

John Au, MD

Medical School: Virginia Commonwealth
Residency: Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute (2011-2013)
Fellowship: Cornea, Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute

Igor Estrovich, MD

Medical School: Case Western Reserve University
Residency: Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute (2011-2013)
Fellowship: Glaucoma, Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute

Sumit Sharma, MD

Medical School: Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine/CWRU
Residency: Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute (2011-2013)
Fellowship: Retina, Duke University

Graduating Class - 2009
Brian Lee, MD

Medical School (2005)
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Residency (2006-2009)
Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic

Ying Qian, MD

Medical School (2005)
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Residency (2006-2009)
Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic

Thu Pham, MD

Medical School (2005)
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Residency (2006-2009)
Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic

Graduating Class - 2008
Evelyn Fu, MD
J. Martin Heur, MD, PhD
Craig Lewis, MD
Ron Margolis, MD
Graduating Class - 2007
Kathryn Bollinger, MD, PhD

Medical School (2003)
Medical College of Wisconsin
Milwaukee, WI

Residency (2004-2007)
Cole Eye Institute
Cleveland Clinic

Glaucoma Fellowship (2007-2008)
Cole Eye Institute
Cleveland Clinic

Mehran Taban, MD

Medical School (1999-2003)
University of California
Irvine, CA

Residency (2004-2007)
Cole Eye Institute
Cleveland Clinic

Vitreoretinal Fellowship (2007-2009)
Cole Eye Institute
Cleveland Clinic

Mehryar (Ray) Taban, MD

Medical School (1999-2003)
University of California
Irvine, Calif.

Residency (2004-2007)
Cole Eye Institute
Cleveland Clinic

Oculoplastic Fellowship (2007-2009)
University of California
Los Angeles, Calif.

Graduating Class - 2006
Pawan Bhatnagar, MD

Medical School
University of Missouri-Kansas City

Residency (2003-2006)
Cole Eye Institute
Cleveland Clinic

Retina Fellowship
Columbia University
New York, New York

Anat Galor, MD

Medical School
Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis, Mo.

Residency (2003-2006)
Cole Eye Institute
Cleveland Clinic

Uveitis Fellowship
Wilmer Institute
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Md.

Pankaj Gupta, MD

Medical School
The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio

Residency ( 2003-2006)
Cole Eye Institute
Cleveland Clinic

Cornea Fellowship
Massachusetts Eye and Ear
Harvard University
Boston, Mass.

Sunita Radhakrishnan, MD

Medical School
Kilpauk Medical College
Chennai, India

Residency (2003-2006)
Cole Eye Institute
Cleveland Clinic

Glaucoma Fellowship
Wilmer Institute
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Md.

Graduating Class - 2005
Susie Chang, MD

Medical School (2001)
The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH

Residency (2002-2005)
Cole Eye Institute
Cleveland Clinic

Vitreoretinal Fellow (2005)
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Harvard University
Boston, MA

Sai Chavala, MD

Medical School (2001)
University of Missouri
Kansas City, MO

Residency (2002-2005)
Cole Eye Institute
Cleveland Clinic

Vitreoretinal Research Fellow (2005)
Weill Medical School
Cornell University
New York, NY

Albert Dal Canto, MD, PhD

Medical School and PhD (Med/Immunology)
Washington University
St. Louis, MO

Residency (2002-2005)
Cole Eye Institute
Cleveland Clinic

Oculoplastics Surgery Staff (2005)
West Virginia University Hospitals
Morgantown, WV

Alex Melamud, MD, M.A.

Medical School (2001)
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH

Residency (2002-2005) - Chief Resident final year of Residency
Cole Eye Institute
Cleveland Clinic

Vitreoretinal Fellowship (2005)
Duke University
Durham, NC

Private Practice (2007)
Retina Associates
Washington, D.C.

Graduating Class - 2004
Eric Baylin, MD

Medical School (2000)
University of Texas Medical School at Houston
Houston, TX

Residency (2001-2004)
Cole Eye Institute
Cleveland Clinic

Oculoplastics Surgery Staff (2004)
William Beaumont Hospital
Royal Oak, MI

Brian Kim, MD

Medical School (2000)
St. Louis University School of Medicine
St. Louis, MO

Residency (2001-2004)
Cole Eye Institute
Cleveland Clinic

Vitreoretinal Fellowship (2004-2006)
Wilmer Eye Institute
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD

Rachel Kuchtey, MD, PhD

Medical School (1991)
West China University of Medical Science

Ph.D.: Molecular Genetics (1999)
Cornell University
New York, NY

Residency (2001-2004)
Cole Eye Institute
Cleveland Clinic

Glaucoma Fellowship (2004-2005)
Cole Eye Institute
Cleveland Clinic

Glaucoma Staff (July 2005)
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN

Egbert Saavedra, MD

Medical School (2000)
Medical College of Virginia
Richmond, VA

Residency (2001-2004) - Chief Resident final year of Residency
Cole Eye Institute
Cleveland Clinic

Vitreoretinal Fellowship (2004-2006)
Wilmer Eye Institute
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD

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