Frequently Asked Questions - Ophthalmology Residency

How big is the residency program?

In July 2019, we had a temporary increase in our program to three in each class, for a total of nine residents.   Since that time, the ACGME approved a permanent compliment increase for 3 residents per year in 2021. 

What subspecialties are represented at KEI?

We have full time, fellowship trained faculty in the following subspecialties:  

  • Cornea and Refractive Surgery, Glaucoma, Vitreoretinal surgery, Uveitis, Pediatrics, Neuro ophthalmology, Oculoplastics.
  • We also have a full time optometrist and Low Vision specialist.
  • We have part time ocular pathology every other month.

Are all rotations on site?

The majority of clinical rotations are in the Morton Mower, M.D., Medical Office Building at Sinai Hospital, where the Krieger Eye Institute is located. Second and third year residents rotate at the Martinsburg, WV VA, which is located an hour west of Baltimore. This is currently a four month rotation. Free housing is available on site for residents. Residents can choose to stay on site or commute from Baltimore. A travel stipend of up to $1000 per month covers mileage to/from the site or nearby family housing if needed.

Approximately 10 percent of the time residents rotate at off-site locations such as our outpatient satellite offices at Quarry Lake, Northwest Hospital, Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital, Grace Medical Center  and Healthcare for the Homeless.

What is the typical day of a resident like?

Each weekday will begin with a lecture or grand rounds on site at Sinai Hospital, with a few exceptions, beginning at 8:00am. The resident will then proceed to their assigned location for the day, which varies between the Resident Clinic, attending subspecialty clinic or the operating room. Residents at the VA have their own lectures on site. All lectures from KEI are saved on a shared drive so that everyone can see them.

What is the Resident Clinic?

The Sinai resident clinic is staffed daily by one resident of each year. The residents have a schedule of patients with an appropriate volume for their year of training. The patients in the resident clinic will continue to make follow up appointments with the same resident, allowing our residents to have a continuity of care with their patients. The majority of resident surgical volume comes from patients in the resident clinic. The clinic is staffed by an attending physician each day, and subspecialists are available as needed for complicated cases. Residents spend approximately half their clinical time in the resident clinic.

What is the cataract surgical experience?

Residents get into the cataract OR early in first year, and start practicing with wet labs and the Eyesi simulator. They begin performing steps of cataract surgery late in the first year and are able to schedule their own cataract surgeries in the second year. The majority of cataract surgery volume occurs during third year of residency. The VA generates approximately 70 cataracts per four month rotation, and resident clinic generates at least 100 cataracts per resident. Current cataract volume exceeds 120 cases per resident. Each case is performed with the supervision of an experienced cataract surgeon.

Do most residents participate in fellowships?

While many have chosen to enter fellowship training to further specialize, we are proud of the fact that many of our residents are confident in their training and eager to enter a comprehensive ophthalmology practice directly from residency. Approximately 50 percent seek fellowship training. Our residents have successfully matched in fellowships in Cornea, Glaucoma, Retina, Oculoplastics and Uveitis.

What is the call schedule?

There is no overnight in-house call. Primary call is split evenly between the six first and second residents. Third-year residents provide back-up call, with the appropriate level of supervision. In addition, an attending takes call each night at the VA, residents take call from home in Baltimore, with attending backup.

What is a typical night on call like?

Typically, the on-call resident will be paged several times when on call, sometimes from patients within the practice and sometimes from the emergency room. Emergencies requiring the first on-call resident to come into the hospital occur approximately once every other night during the weeknights. On the weekends, there will often be multiple visits to the emergency room to see patients. Sinai Hospital is the only emergency room that our residents cover. Portable and table-mounted slit lamps are available, as well as all tools necessary to perform an eye exam. Occasionally, emergency surgeries or laser procedures will be performed on the weekend, which the on- call resident will be able to take part in. VA call is very light. Most residents come in only once or twice during a rotation to see a patient.

What is the research requirement?

Residents are encouraged to participate in a research project of the quality necessary to present at a national meeting, such as ARVO. The majority of our residents present at ARVO at least once during residency. Presentation at such meetings is encouraged and travel is paid by Sinai Hospital for accepted presentations on which the resident is first author.

Residents are required to complete a Quality Improvement project during their three years of residency. A hospital wide Quality Improvement competition is held annually, with a cash prize for the winning project. In addition, residents are required to present a case presentation at the annual Krieger Eye Symposium.

What are the research facilities?

Clinical projects are performed in the department. The Department of Microbiology offers research space for resident projects and Sinai Hospital has its own animal research facility. There are also research projects done in conjuncture with other universities located in Baltimore.

Do residents get to attend national meetings?

First year: Maryland Society for Eye Physicians and Surgeons annual meeting (Baltimore)

Second year: Wills Eye Pediatric Course (Philadelphia), AAO midyear forum (Washington DC), Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary cataract course (Boston), Walter Reed Ocular Trauma Course (Washington, DC), Alcon Cataract Course, Maryland Society for Eye Physicians and Surgeons annual meeting (Baltimore)

Third year: AAO Annual meeting, Maryland Society for Eye Physicians and Surgeons annual meeting (Baltimore)

Presentation at these meetings is not necessary. Sinai Hospital pays for registration and travel expenses.

Is there an opportunity for international rotations?

Residents may perform an optional four-week elective at the Arvind Eye Hospital in India during the latter part their third year. This is a rotation designed to teach extracapsular and small incision cataract surgery and to study the success of surgical models in other countries. Sinai Hospital covers the travel expenses associated with this rotation.

Residents may also participate in a one week trip to Haiti to perform oculoplastics and phacoemulsification procedures as part of a medical mission trip with KEI faculty.

Is there an opportunity for community service?

Our second and third year residents currently spend one day a month at the Health Care for the Homeless facility. Patients who need testing or additional treatment are referred to the resident’s clinic at Sinai Hospital. Through generous benefactors, we have a fund for indigent patients that allows us to provide the full spectrum of care to anyone who needs it. There are also multiple opportunities to participate in community wide health fairs and vision screenings, such as the American Legion and local religious institutions.

Should an ERAS application be submitted upon ERAS submission opening, after interview invitation, or after matching?

An ERAS application should not be submitted. After matching into our Ophthalmology program, we will forward your SF Match application to our internal medicine program.

You must register for NRMP and rank our internal medicine program, Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Internal Medicine Internship, program number 1249140P2, as your first choice in NRMP.