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Usc Eye Institute Residency Personal Statement

The USC Roski Eye Institute Residency Program brings together the strengths of four remarkable institutions. These institutions, coupled with our faculty’s deep-rooted expertise and commitment, provide a wealth of opportunities for residents. You will experience tremendous diversity, breadth, and complexity of clinical challenges within a very supportive environment.

The staff that we have are amazing, talented and extremely knowledgeable.
– Jiun L. Do, MD, PhD. Third Year Resident, Class of 2017

New Residents

We accept seven new residents per year, selecting the best candidates from several hundred applications. In 2016, we had over 400 applicants.

The USC Roski Eye Institute Residency Program provides as much exposure as possible to learning opportunities within our program, while providing our residents with resources at neighboring institutions.

The department covers the expenses for residents to attend national review courses in preparation for Board and Ophthalmic Knowledge Assessment Program (OKAP) examinations, two academic conferences each year at which residents present, and hands-on cataract surgery courses around the country throughout the year.

In addition, the USC Provost has developed a unique program to allow interested senior residents and fellows the chance to obtain academic credentials (advanced degrees, certificates, etc.) while in training, with complete tuition remission for these educational activities.

To learn more about the opportunities available through the residency program at the USC Roski Eye Institute, please contact Program Coordinator Ty Christopher by email or by calling (323) 409-5233.

Academic Schedule

Residents are supervised and trained by an exceptional faculty, comprised of full-time Keck School of Medicine of USC faculty, voluntary part-time faculty from the community at LAC + USC Medical Center, along with cross-appointed faculty at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Veteran’s Administration (VA) Downtown Los Angeles Medical Center.

For the first and third years of training, residents are primarily based at LAC + USC Medical Center. During the second year, significantly more time is spent at the USC Roski Eye Institute, Children’s Hospital of LA and the VA Downtown Los Angeles Medical Center. Our unique LAC + USC Medical Center longitudinal clinic enables residents to follow patients for three years through initial evaluation, diagnosis and any necessary procedures or surgical interventions. We provide integrated exposure to clinics, conferences, and operating rooms at the USC Roski Eye Institute at Keck Medical Center of USC, LAC + USC Medical Center, Children’s Hospital of LA and the VA Downtown Los Angeles Medical Center during the course of the three-year training.

One half day per week (Friday mornings) is protected for residents’ lectures and academic activities. We teach the core curriculum in blocks, an approach designed to provide a comprehensive, AAO basic and clinical science course (BCSC) based review by subspecialty. Residents are led through the fundamental curriculum by attending faculty members representing each subspecialty area, who serve as “block supervisors.” Each coordinates a two-to-three-month cohesive lecture series. These sessions supplement the daily morning clinical rounds and patient-centered instruction, which occurs on an ongoing basis.

We learn from each other. That’s what I love about this program. I teach, but the residents are always asking the right questions, and that really elevates the level of care at our institution.

– Sandy Zhang-Nunes, MD.
Assistant Prof. of Clinical Ophthalmology

Academic Journal Clubs take place every six to eight weeks to provide an opportunity for critical review of the literature relevant to the practice of ophthalmology. Six cornea journal clubs are also held during the year. Additionally, the USC Fluorescein Angiography & Imaging Conference for Retina is held twice a month and the Chairman’s Glaucoma rounds are held every other week.

A Visiting Professor program provides exposure to leaders in ophthalmology outside of USC. Eight to 10 Visiting Professors are scheduled per academic year, in connection with specific subspecialty teaching blocks. These experts deliver a general address to the entire department followed by three hours of resident teaching.

The weekly educational schedule:

Daily: Morning Conference 7:30 am-8:30 am
Monday: Neuro-ophtho clinical case conference & Surgical Outcomes Video Conference (alternating)
Tuesday: Pediatric Ophthalmology case conference
Wednesday: Ophtho questions time! An OKAPS question-based review
Thursday: Fundamental Concepts in Ophthalmology & Neuro-ophtho clinical case conference (alternating)
Friday: 7 am-10 am: Block Lecture time; 10am-1pm Resident Academic & Research

Surgical Training

Our formal, longitudinal surgical curriculum builds skills and surgical responsibility over the three years of residency. The goal: to support early wet lab and computer-based (Eye-si) training for all residents, followed by a transition to the OR. USC participates in the Eye-Si microsurgical training project sponsored by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

OR experience begins in the spring of the first year and continues during all rotations of the second year (cataract surgical experience during five rotations). The most robust experiences come in the resident-run OR at LAC + USC Medical Center during the senior year.

Held throughout the academic year, wetlabs focus on anterior segment surgical procedures including phacoemulsification cataract extraction with intraocular lens implantation using the latest-generation phacoemulsification systems. Other wetlabs encompass botulinum toxin and filler, suturing techniques, cadaver anatomy, and glaucoma surgical procedures. In addition, USC participates in larger regional wetlab courses throughout the year.

This formal instruction on suturing, anatomy, phacoemulsification fluidics, and other surgical techniques takes place during the Friday morning sessions in between teaching blocks. A bi-monthly surgical outcomes conference allows residents to review videos and discuss surgical planning and techniques to continually improve patient outcomes. All residents are expected to maintain an accurate ACGME and cataract case log.


The USC Department of Ophthalmology remains one of the most highly funded eye institutes in the country. This consistent level of productivity provides residents with numerous openings to get involved in research activities throughout their time at USC, either at the bench doing basic research or more clinical endeavors. Each Friday morning, after the academic lecture block, residents are given independent academic time, which many use to focus on research projects.

International Rotation- Srikiran Institute of Ophthalmology

We are very enthusiastic about fostering and developing a mutually supportive relationship between our training programs, with the aim of enhancing our trainees’ perspective and understanding of global ophthalmology. We believe there is so much to be gained from experiencing the challenges and triumphs encountered each day in dramatically different clinical settings. Such exposure will provide balance to our existing residency-training program, while allowing our residents to gain experience in collaborating with colleagues with a common mission from across the globe. We envision cultivating an environment where our residents will not only learn new skills and see different conditions, but one where they can share their knowledge and skills with trainees (residents and fellows) at Srikiran Institute of Ophthalmology.

Structure of the rotation

  • A voluntary 2 week rotation at the Srikiran Institute of Ophthalmology – the optimal times of year would be between late October/early November and late February/ early March.
  • We will avoid the period of January 7 to 15 each year (festival time). When desired, up to 2 residents at a time may attend the rotation.
  • Vacation /conference time will be used for the rotation. We have secured generous funding from the Atul Dhablania and Incha Kim Foundation to cover the expensese related to your trip (flight, accommodations, food, tuition, internal travel).
  1. Interested residents will need to have submitted their requests by Sept or October of the year they plan to go (will need to coordinate here at home and availability at Srikiran, so earlier the better).
  2. Attend comprehensive, and subspecialty clinics in retina, peds/strabismus, glaucoma, and corneal diseases while at Srikiran
  3. Gain experience in manual small incision cataract surgery through graded responsibility and mentorship from expert attendings.
  4. When possible, attend a cataract vision screening camp in rural Andhra Pradesh.
  5. Prior to attending the rotation, each resident will be asked to think about what he/she can bring to the program. This may include, but not limited to engaging in teaching sessions with trainees at Srikiran Institute of Ophthalmology, including but not limited to lectures, case discussions, and clinical and surgical care.
  6. Upon completion of the rotation, each resident will be asked to put together a brief written report of his/her experience at Srikiran Institute of Ophthalmology, which will be posted to their website. This will provide insights for future residents interested in the program. A presentation to the USC team will be given upon return outlining his/her experiences and perspectives.
  7. Prior to attending the rotation, the visiting resident will be expected to have practiced fashioning scleral tunnels in our wetlab. At least 10 cases should be done, and will be verified by our one anterior segment or glaucoma surgeons. Gaining facility in this technique is essential prior to attempting small incision cataract surgery.
  8. We would also like to extend the opportunity for trainees at Srikiran to visit our program as observers. There is significant mutual interest in sharing information, techniques, and approaches. The trainee will observe in clinics, rounds, teaching sessions, etc.


Airfare to India and other incidental costs (supplies, lodging, local transportation) will be covered by the USC residency program. A visitor’s visa will be required, and will be the resident’s responsibility to acquire ahead of time.Travel to Rajahmundry, via Hyderabad will be the most likely path to Andhra Pradesh. From Rajahmundry, ground transportation will be arranged to Kakinada (roughly 1 hour drive) by the Srikiran Institute of Ophthalmology.



Through Dr. Chandra’s generosity and hospitality, USC residents will be offered a guest room at Dr. Chandra’s home, located on the premises of Srikiran Institute of Ophthalmology. Meals will also be provided. Residents can also choose to stay off premises if they choose; however, will be largely responsible for covering their own expenses.

Medical concerns

Residents will be required to acquire travel health insurance providing coverage internationally.
Residents may visit our travel clinic to obtain the appropriate immunizations and infection prophylaxis regimens at their own discretion.

To learn more about the residency program at the USC Roski Eye Institute,
please contact Program Coordinator Ty Christopher by email, or by calling (323) 409-5233.


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