Ophthalmology is a discipline in which surgeries and procedures are an important part of the specialty. Training and experience in these procedures is offered on many levels and by many modalities.
A fully equipped microsurgical practice laboratory is available for resident use. The laboratory is equipped with a Zeiss operating microscope with foot-switch activation, and many surgical instruments. Eye bank tissue and cadaveric animal eyes are available for surgical practice. Residents are introduced to the laboratory early in their first year and are encouraged to use the laboratory throughout their residency. A surgical log is completed by each resident after their practice session and a log is kept for their practice surgical time and experience.
Residents are also taught on the various aspects of cataract surgery management utilizing a monthly Cataract Conference. Eye Institute full-time and part-time faculty members bring in cases and video tapes of surgical procedures for review and discussion, illustrating key points of surgical treatment and management. Residents are invited to bring video tapes and materials to discuss some of their own surgical experiences, particularly the third-year residents.
A structured, didactic, practical surgical skills curriculum has been developed, meeting monthly for an 18-month cycle. Monthly didactic and wet lab experience introduced residents to fundamental surgical principles and procedures with hands-on instruction and supervision by the faculty. These skills can then be reinforced in the surgical practice lab by the residents themselves at their own convenient times. The surgical skills practicum is conducted in the eye operating room, incorporating the actual equipment the residents would use during ophthalmic surgery. Incorporated into this curriculum is the annual Phacoemulsification Course held in Madison, Wisconsin, in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Iowa's Departments of Ophthalmology. It also includes the Orbital Dissection Course offered biennially.
Residents receive a progressive procedural and surgical experience through the course of their residency, based on the level of training and their individual progress. First year residents are supervised in the performance of certain anterior segment laser procedures, such as Yag Capsulotomy and Peripheral Iridotomy. First year residents also assist in strabismus, cataract, glaucoma, retinal and oculoplastic procedures. In addition to assisting in the same procedures, second year residents are supervised in performing strabismus surgery, glaucoma operations, and extracapsular cataract extractions with progression to phacoemulsification, as well as diabetic laser treatments and office based oculoplastic procedures. Third year residents have the majority of operative experience in cataract, oculoplastic, glaucoma and retinal surgeries, in addition to having opportunities to perform diabetic laser treatments. Second and third year residents are also supervised in the surgical management of the trauma patient.