Retina Fellowship

Vitreo-Retinal Fellowship Training

We appreciate your interest in the the Department of Ophthalmology vitreoretinal fellowship at the University of Virginia Health System.  The department sponsors a two year vitreoretinal fellowship and accepts one fellow every year.
The fellowship program is a well-preceptored, moderately high volume retina practice with a nice mix of primary and referral vitreoretinal conditions.  The fellowship is under the guidance of Brian Conway, MD, Michael Cusick, MD, MHSA, Irfan Khan, MD, Eugene Shildkrot, MD, and Paul Yates, MD, PhD.

Vitreo-Retinal Fellowship

This fellowship is designed to provide extensive training in all aspects of medical and surgical management of vitreoretinal diseases.  Teaching material for the fellowship comes primarily from the outpatient clinics. The experience is well-balanced between the medical and surgical aspects of vitreoretinal disease. As a major referral center for complex retina pathology, the retina service does approximately 500 cases a year for surgical vitreoretinal problems.  There are a nice mix of primary scleral buckles along with vitrectomies.

University of Virginia Department of Ophthalmology boasts the only ocular oncology center in Virginia taking care of adults and children with ocular malignancies including uveal melanoma and retinoblastoma.  The vitreoretinal fellow will participate in clinical and surgical care of these patients. A clinical electrophysiology laboratory is also available for the evaluation of patients with retinal dystrophy. Patients with retinoblastoma and with retinopathy of prematurity are managed in collaboration with our pediatric ophthalmologists, Dr. Bruce Carter and Dr. Christian Carter.  There is a large amount of pathology in the NICU, and approximately 20 patients per year are treated with laser and anti-VEGF for advanced ROP disease.

Requirements

The candidate is required to have completed residency training in ophthalmology. He/she must have a Virginia Medical License prior to matriculation into the program. The training period commences on July 1 and concludes on June 30 two years later; one position every year is offered. Salary is commensurate with PGY-5 level.

Faculty

Brian P. Conway, MD is Professor Emeritus of Ophthalmology.  He received his undergraduate degree in 1964 from Georgetown University.  Following studies in economics, he received his MD in 1968 as well from Georgetown University School of Medicine.  He completed his ophthalmology residency in 1975 from the Wilmer Eye Institute John Hopkins University,  followed by a fellowship in 1976 in diseases and surgery of retina and vitreous at, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute University of Miami Health System.

Michael Cusick, MD, MHSA is an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology.  He received his undergraduate degree in 1999 from Georgetown University.  Following studies in biochemistry, he received his medical degree in 2004 from Georgetown University School of Medicine.  He completed his ophthalmology residency at the Wilmer Eye Institute John Hopkins Hospital in 2008, followed by a fellowship in vitreoretinal surgery and medical retina 2010 at the Duke University Eye Center.  He also completed a Master of Science in Health Systems Administration in 2020 at Georgetown University Medical Center.

Irfan R. Khan, MD is an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology.  He received his undergraduate degree in 2007 from Benedictine University.  Following studies in biology, he received his medical degree in 2011 from St. Louis University School of Medicine.  He completed his ophthalmology residency at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 2015, followed by a fellowship in uveitis 2016 at Wilmer Eye Institute John Hopkins University.

Eugene Y. Shildkrot, MD is an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology.  He received his undergraduate degree in 2000 from Cornell University.  Following studies in Russian literature and biology, he received his medical degree in 2004 from New York University School of Medicine.  He completed his ophthalmology residency at Kresge Eye Institute, followed by a fellowship in vitreoretinal surgery 2012 at Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary as well as a fellowship in ocular oncology in 2010 at Hamilton Eye Institute of University of Tennessee, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Paul A. Yates, MD, PhD is an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology.  He received his undergraduate degree in 1990 from California Polytechnic State University.  Following studies in electronic engineering, he received his MD and PhD in 2001 from University of California in San Diego.  He completed his ophthalmology residency in 2005 at Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary, followed by a fellowship in vitreoretinal surgery in 2007 at Tufts University New England Eye Center.

Facilities

Patients are seen in ophthalmology offices in both the downtown medical center and an ambulatory care center within 10 minutes of the downtown area. The clinics have complete examining and diagnostic facilities, lasers, and a minor procedure room.  Outpatient surgery is performed both in the UVA Hospital and an outpatient surgery center. The fellow is given graded autonomy with respect to patient evaluation and vitreoretinal surgery.  The fellow also supervises resident retina clinics once per week.

Resources and Responsibilities

The Department conducts a comprehensive program of lectures and conferences for residents and fellows and offers CME-certified meetings for community and regional ophthalmologists. The fellows alternate presenting at biweekly ocular imaging conference given to the department and are expected to give grand rounds two times per year. The fellow is expected to participate in resident training by supervising patient evaluation and vitreoretinal surgery.

A full-time departmental research assistant is employed to conduct phase III and IV studies. The fellow is required to conduct clinical research on medical or surgical management of patients and is encouraged to optimize basic research opportunities.

Additional Information

As the year progresses, the fellow assumes a gradually increasing level of surgical responsibilities. It is our intention that by graduation the fellow will be comfortable with any type of vitreoretinal surgery.

The vitreoretinal fellow directs the Ophthalmic Imaging Conference during which all of the interesting cases seen in the Department over the previous two weeks are reviewed. This helps to ensure that the fellow reviews all interesting medical retinal problems.

In addition to reviews of clinical material and reports of interesting cases, the academic and research interests of the service center on the use of animal models and tissue culture techniques to study the problems of proliferative vitreoretinopathy and diabetic retinopathy, and on the use of computerized vitreous fluoro-photometry to assess the blood-retinal barrier and to follow the course of various ocular disease states. The vitreoretinal fellow is encouraged to participate in these studies or in any studies of his own initiation.

Applications are accepted through the Central Application Service (CAS) which is run by the San Francisco Matching Program.

Teaching Conferences

The fellow gives a weekly conference on Intravenous Fluorescein Angiography and Ocular Imaging using interesting teaching cases. The conference is held each Wednesday, from 7:00 AM – 8:00 AM, immediately prior to Grand Rounds.

The fellow also presents Grand Rounds presentations three times per year.

Fellows are strongly encouraged to participate in research and presentations at national meetings.

Benefits

For information concerning salaries, benefits, parking, meals, etc., please check the UVA Human Resources faculty page.

Environment

Any training program is colored, in part, by the milieu of the surrounding academic center. The Health System at the University of Virginia lies adjacent to the central grounds of Thomas Jefferson’s original academical village. Charlottesville and Albemarle County attracts cultural and cosmopolitan functions out of proportion to its 125,000 population supplemented by the 23,000 students of the University of Virginia. From http://charlottesville.org:

Charlottesville offers an impressive variety of cultural, social, and recreational opportunities. There are 26 neighborhood and jointly funded parks and an extensive series of walking trails that run through parkland, residential areas, and along the beautiful Rivanna River.

There is also a thriving art, music and theater community that keeps the creative spirit alive in Charlottesville. A recently opened 4,000 seat Charlottesville Sprint Pavilion amphitheater draws big named acts into the downtown area and hosts a weekly Friday After Five concert in the spring through the fall, a local favorite to kick off the weekend. The downtown pedestrian mall is one of the most successful of its kind in the country and boasts over 150 shops and award-winning restaurants. A magnet for art, music, dining, shopping and entertainment, the mall is now home to a newly renovated Paramount Theater, one of few community-supported restorations of historic theaters in the country. The 1,200 seat theater has hosted nationally-known entertainers. The 16,000 seat John Paul Jones Arena (JPJ) opened in 2006 and has already hosted national caliber events such as The Dave Matthews Band, Rod Stewart, Billy Joel and Cirque du Soleil. JPJ was recently voted as the Best New Entertainment Venue in the Country.

Other popular activities in the area include world-class tennis, golf, hiking, ballooning, horseback riding and racing, tubing, fishing, biking, camping, and the occasional hunting for antiques. The area also boasts a thriving wine touring and tasting business. The nearly 30 local vineyards make up the state’s largest collection with several wineries winning national recognition.

The nation’s capital is only 120 miles away and there are excellent regular air connections to Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia. The Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway, 20 miles from Charlottesville, along with the nearby Appalachian Trail provide some of the best hiking in the United States. Snow skiing is within an hour’s drive, with night skiing available. Across the Blue Ridge Mountains, the vistas of the Shenandoah Valley and the rivers and mountains of West Virginia provide some of the best whitewater canoeing and rafting in the world. Medical students, Housestaff, and Faculty have a share in the stimulating and picturesque ambiance of University life within Piedmont Virginia.

Application Process

This program is registered with the Retina Fellowship Match Program (#4276). Potential applicants should access this site for match registration information.

To apply for the fellowship, submit a letter of application accompanied by a curriculum vita, a personal statement, and at least three letters of recommendation to the SF Match. Additional information may be addressed to:

Mary Smith
Retina Fellowship Program Administrator
University of Virginia Health System
Department of Ophthalmology
P.O. Box 800715
Charlottesville, VA 22908-0715
Email: MES5BK@virginia.edu
Phone: (434) 982-0855
Website: www.uvaeye.com

Eugene Y. Shildkrot, MD
Retina Fellowship Program Co-director
Associate Professor of Ophthalmology
University of Virginia Health System
Department of Ophthalmology
P.O. Box 800715
Charlottesville, VA 22908-0715
Phone: (434) 982-0855
Website: www.uvaeye.com

Paul A. Yates, MD, PhD
Retina Fellowship Program Co-director
Associate Professor of Ophthalmology
University of Virginia Health System
Department of Ophthalmology
P.O. Box 800715
Charlottesville, VA 22908-0715
Phone: (434) 982-0855
Website: www.uvaeye.com

For further information please contact:

Mary Smith, MPH
Retina Fellowship Administrator
Department of Ophthalmology
University of Virginia Health System
P.O. Box 800715
Charlottesville, VA 22908-0715
Phone: (434) 982-0855
E-mail: mesmith@virginia.edu

Ophthalmology Fellowship Match
P.O. Box 7584
San Francisco, CA 94120-7584
Phone: (415) 447-0350
Fax: (415) 561-8535