Each of the 3 years of residency is divided into five rotations each lasting approximately ten weeks. Details for each year are given below.
The First Year
The first year focuses on attaining the basic clinical skills and fund of knowledge needed to properly evaluate and manage the majority of ophthalmic pathology encountered. Lectures, clinical conferences and wet lab training combine with extensive guided clinical experience to achieve this goal. Three rotations are spent at the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute (RMLEI) and one rotations is spent at both the VA and Denver Health. A limited amount of time is also spent at Children’s Hospital Colorado so first year residents learn to examine children.
The Second Year
Having developed their clinical skills in the first year, second year residents begin a year that includes a high volume of procedures in the fields of strabismus, oculoplastics, and retina. Additionally they have an opportunity to perform their first cataract procedures as the primary surgeon. Second year residents have rotations at Children’s Hospital Colorado, Denver Health Medical Center, and at RMLEI with a focus on oculoplastics, retina, and ophthalmic research.
The Third Year
The third year is an intense year of surgery, focusing mainly on cataract surgery. In addition to at least 150 cataract surgeries as the primary surgeon, the senior resident is a consultant for the junior residents, both in the clinics and on call. They have a high level of responsibility in both the care of patients and the organization of their surgery schedule. Though functioning with greater independence, they still have an attending available at all times for questions and surgical supervision. As the year progresses, the residents’ surgical skills and decision-making mature so that upon completion of residency they should feel comfortable addressing any ophthalmologic situation that arises.