The goal of the two-year vitreoretinal surgery fellowship at the Cole Eye Institute is to provide the best advanced training in the world for the management of vitreoretinal diseases. The program’s emphasis is on providing the highest quality clinical experience that allows fellows to become thoroughly familiar with every aspect of vitreoretinal diseases and the state-of-the-art medical and surgical management of these conditions, combined with research to advance the diagnosis and management of these problems.

The diverse patient population that seeks treatment here covers the range of vitreoretinal diseases, including retinal detachment secondary to degenerative disorders, diabetic retinopathy, inherited vitreoretinal disorders, retinopathy of prematurity and a large macular degeneration patient population. Fellows gain surgical and clinical experience at Cole Eye Institute locations and MetroHealth Medical Center.

This intensive program of study includes the opportunity for fellows to perform common and advanced vitreoretinal surgeries under the supervision of some of the world’s leading retinal surgeons, in one of the finest ophthalmological surgical facilities in the world. Faculty members are committed to developing tomorrow’s leaders in this subspecialty and, therefore, ensure that fellows acquire world-class surgical skills during their training here. Fellows are given the opportunity to play a central role in the care of patients, and enjoy increased autonomy in the Fellow Clinic and while performing complex surgeries.

The vitreoretinal surgery fellowship includes a significant research component, reflecting the Cole Eye Institute’s underlying philosophy that synergy must exist between research and patient care. Fellows have an opportunity to participate in laboratory research at the Cole Eye Institute in the fields of cell biology, molecular biology, immunology and other relevant disciplines and publish in peer-reviewed journals. Fellows also must conduct clinical research and publish their results.

Dedicated research time is incorporated into the schedule. The faculty can assist in developing research projects at both the basic and clinical levels.

Fellows also gain the experience of teaching and giving didactic lectures to residents. During the time that residents rotate through the vitreoretinal surgery service, the fellows are available for consultation during clinic. They also participate in the residency conference program and are responsible for presenting the weekly fluorescein angiography conference with the faculty in attendance.

Ultimately, the vitreoretinal fellowship at the Cole Eye Institute seeks to train the next future leaders in their field.

Cole Eye Institute has two fellowship slots each year.

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Fellowship Program Director

Fellowship Associate Program Directors

Teaching Faculty

Surgical Training

Surgical Training

Cleveland Clinic's Cole Eye Institute Fellowship for Vitreoretinal Surgical sees approximately 600 vitreoretinal cases over a two-year period. Surgical experience starts on day 1 with increasing independence over the course of the fellowship. Each rotation has 1 to 3 days/week in the OR.


  • Diverse group of faculty (10 surgical, 3 medical)
  • Common techniques used in the OR:
    • 23, 25, and 27-gauge surgery
    • AVI and BIOM and Merlin
    • Alcon Constellation, B&L Stellaris, and Synergetics VersaVIT
    • Primary buckles and vitrectomies
    • Complex cases including PVR, TRD, ROP
    • Intraoperative OCT
    • Secondary IOLS
    • Abundant pediatric retina exposure
    • Uveitic cases (numerous Retisert implants)
  • Able to follow your own post-op patients
  • For most attendings, clinic nurse is also the scrub nurse providing excellent continuity of care for patients and support for fellows
  • Very easy to book surgical cases
  • 3 dedicated retina rooms in the Cole Eye OR
  • Metro OR is fellow run
Salary, Rotations & Call Schedule

Salary, Rotations & Call Schedule

Salary & Benefit Information

  • Paid at the PGY5 level
  • Health, vision, dental benefits
    • Discounted Cleveland Clinic health insurance for you, your spouse, and your family
  • Disability and life insurance included
  • Medical license fees paid for by the Cleveland Clinic
  • 3 weeks of vacation (15 working days) + conference time
  • Extra time for job interviews (5 days)
    • Does not have to be taken one week at a time
    • Time off for national boards

Schedule/Rotation Information

  • Rotations are 3 months long
  • Each rotation is repeated over course of 2 years giving good exposure to all attendings
  • All rotations have OR time

Call Information

  • One in four, call schedule is fellow made
  • PGY3 Resident takes 1st call at Cole, PGY1 + PGY4 at Metro
Conferences & Research

Conferences & Research


  • Weekly retina conference to discuss interesting cases
  • Monthly fluorescein and uveitis conference
  • Journal clubs hosted at faculty homes
  • No weekend lectures
  • Periodic national courses hosted by Cole Eye Institute
    • Uveitis Update Course, North Coast Retina Symposium, OCT Courses at ARVO and ASRS

Research Highlights

  • Participation as co-investigator in multiple clinical trials
  • $1500 allowance provided for national meetings, if presenting
  • Strong basic and translational science research group onsite
  • Database support to facilitate chart reviews
  • Electronic access to library resources; library facilitated rare journal articles delivered directly to your email