The Institute of Ophthalmology and Visual ScienceNJMSUMDNJ    


The Residency Program in Ophthalmology lasts 36 months and is conducted at 3 sites in northern New Jersey. The New Jersey Medical School, the parent institution, is located in Newark, NJ, and includes University Hospital (UNH) and its outpatient facility, the Doctors Office Center (DOC). Additionally, 2 affiliated hospitals—the Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in East Orange, NJ, and the Jersey City Medical Center (JCMC) in Jersey City, NJ—participate in this program. A total of 15 residents are admitted to the 3-year program, 5 residents in each year of training. The Residency Program Director is Paul D. Langer, MD.


The overall goals of the Ophthalmology Residency Program of the New Jersey Medical School are to provide residents with superior clinical training in every subspecialty of ophthalmology and to afford opportunities for productive clinical and/or basic science research.

The Institute of Ophthalmology and Visual Science is unique in that it is the only institute in northern New Jersey to offer an Ophthalmology Residency Program and the only program in the State of New Jersey staffed by full-time academic ophthalmologists. As a result, residents benefit from an exceptionally large number of patient visits, are exposed to a broad spectrum of ophthalmic pathology, and receive the utmost in attending supervision in both the clinical setting and the operating room.

The Intitute’s commitment to resident education is underscored by the fact that it has elected not to sponsor fellowship training programs. Instead, the faculty remains completely dedicated to resident training. In fact, since there are no fellows in the Institute, residents participate either as primary surgeon or first assistant in all surgical cases, resulting in resident surgical volume that ranks among the top 10% of ophthalmology residencies nationally. Furthermore, all didactic lectures are presented by faculty, and all surgical cases in which the resident is primary surgeon (including after-hours cases of ocular trauma) are staffed by an attending physician.
Each of the 3 years of the residency is divided into 5 rotations, each lasting approximately 10 weeks. After completing the course entitled “Introduction to Ophthalmology, incoming first-year residents are ready to start their rotations.
General Eye Clinic Retina Cornea/Refractive Surgery
Subspecialty Clinics Neuro-ophthalmology Glaucoma/Oculoplastics
Veterans Affairs Medical Center Pediatrics University Hospital General Eye Clinic
Veterans Affairs Medical Center Veterans Affairs Medical Center Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Jersey City Medical Center Jersey City Medical Center Jersey City Medical Center
First-year residents begin their training with a concentrated 2-week course in July entitled “Introduction to Ophthalmology.” This course acquaints residents with ophthalmic terminology, instrumentation, and examination techniques and is designed to facilitate the transition from general medicine and/or surgery to ophthalmology. Through a series of lectures and practical sessions in the clinic (eg, tutoring in refraction, use of the indirect ophthalmoscope), residents learn to recognize and manage a variety of ophthalmic problems, such as conjunctivitis, orbital cellulitis, and ruptured globes. By the end of the course, residents are able to conduct eye examinations, describe their physical findings, and present the salient features of the history and physical examination.

Following the introductory course, residents begin a series of five 10-week rotations in the first year. Two of these rotations are spent at University Hospital: one involves staffing the General Eye Clinic and the second involves staffing each of the subspecialty clinics. In the General Eye Clinic, the first-year resident is responsible for day-to-day management of the inpatient and consult service as well as examination of all emergency patients. In contrast, the subspecialty first-year resident rotates each week through each of 6 different subspecialty clinics: retina, cornea, neuro-ophthalmology, low vision, contact lens, and uveitis. Additionally, the subspecialty first-year resident spends 3 full days per month in the Ophthalmic Pathology Department at Wills Eye Hospital, reviewing ocular histopathology slides from their extensive slide collection as well as current pathology specimens obtained during surgery. The subspecialty experience provides early exposure to the management of a varity of problems, both common and complex, in each of the ophthalmic disciplines. In both the general eye and subspecialty clinics, first-year residents are continually mentored by both attending physicians and more senior residents.

Of the 3 remaining first-year rotations, 2 are spent at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and 1 at the Jersey City Medical Center. Each of these rotations provides opportunities for first-year residents to begin assisting in intraocular surgeries. Following an introductory microsurgery course held early in the year (see below), first-year residents begin performing their first cataract extractions at these affiliated hospitals. By the end of the first year, residents will have performed at least 5 intraocular surgeries and assisted in several dozen others.

First-year residents provide a major portion of the Institute’s inpatient care and perform physical and ocular examinations on patients in the clinic as well as private patients.

During the second year, residents rotate through 3 subspecialty services: retina, neuro-ophthalmology, and pediatric ophthalmology/strabismus. On these rotations, residents work closely with faculty and are responsible for the inpatient, outpatient, and surgical management of all patients on their service. The second-year retina rotation, for example, includes 2 days per week in the operating room at University Hospital, where the resident is first assistant on all vitreoretinal procedures. The remaining 3 days are devoted to the outpatient clinical care, under the supervision of the full-time faculty. The resident evaluates patients with retinal disorders, provides laser photocoagulation for retinal vascular disease, and interprets fluorescein angiograms. Given their level of responsibility and close working relationship with the faculty, residents on the subspecialty rotations function essentially as clinical fellows.

The remaining 2 rotations comprise 10 weeks each at the Jersey City Medical Center and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Both of these affiliates provide additional surgical experience with more advanced techniques in anterior and posterior segment surgery as well as in ophthalmic plastic surgery. As a result of the experiences at these affiliated hospitals, residents may expect to have performed 25 intraocular procedures by the end of their second year.

Third-year residents complete 2 subspecialty rotations at University Hospital in glaucoma/oculoplastics and cornea/refractive surgery. Here again, residents work closely with faculty and function essentially as clinical fellows. The resident doing the cornea rotation, for example, devotes time to the operating room, the Cornea and Laser Vision Institute (in Teaneck, NJ), private cornea practice, and cornea clinics, working one-on-one with full-time faculty members in each setting. The unique experience at the Cornea and Laser Vision Institute—one of the few resident rotations of its kind in the country—ensures that the resident will be certified in excimer laser refractive surgery by the end of the rotation.

During the remaining 3 rotations, the third-year resident functions as Chief of the Ophthalmology Clinic at each of the 3 affiliated institutions and is responsible (under the supervision of the attending physicians) for all patient care redered by the service. At each institution, the resident undergoes rigorous surgical instruction in phacoemulsification, trabeculectomy, ophthalmic plastic surgery, and vitreoretinal surgery, again, under close, individual supervision of clinical faculty. Moreover, during each of the 10-week rotations at Jersey City Medical Center and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, third-year residents supervise more junior residents in the clinic and in the microsurgery practice laboratory. The third year is one of intense surgical training, and, by the end of the year, each graduating resident will have performed over 350 major ocular procedures as primary surgeon (and an additional 200 laser procedures), each procedure assisted by an attending physician.

All didactic lectures, rounds, and conferences are conducted at the Doctors Office Center, the central teaching facility of this program. The didactic schedule comprises lectures and conferences on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings and are conducted primarily by the full-time faculty. Didactic lectures can be viewed by teleconference at the Jersey City Medical Center.

On Monday mornings, lectures alternate among the neuro-ophthalmology, retina, cornea, and glaucoma services. Wednesday morning lectures comprise retinal lectures, pathology didactic lectures, and fluorescein conferences. In addition, on the fourth Wednesday morning of the month, the first-year residents will attend an ophthalmic pathology lecture by Dr. Mirani in the Department of Pathology, followed by a 30-minute review of all pathologic specimens generated the previous week.

On the second and fourth Friday of each month, all residents are required to attend the Mortality and Morbidity conference run by Drs. Zarbin, Langer, Guo, and Khouri at 6:45 AM. On the first Friday morning of the month at 7:00 AM, a neuro conference or a retina lecture is held. The third Friday morning of the month is dedicated to Orbital Conference, a multispecialty conference involving orbital surgery, neuroradiology, and pathology. The third-year resident on the plastics rotation and the second-year neuro resident are responsible for preparing the cases with input and assistance from Drs. Langer and Turbin. Grand Rounds are held the third Monday evening of each month and include a resident lecture followed by the main presentation.

The second Friday morning of each month is devoted entirely to didactic teaching.  All clinics throughout the residency are cancelled on these days.  Following the Mortality and Morbidity Conference, residents present cases to the faculty and residents for discussion, followed by two to three hours of lectures and conferences.

Each thirrd-year resident also sponsors one journal club during which current ophthalmic literature is critically analyzed under the guidance of an attending physician. These 5 yearly journal clubs are held in the evenings over dinner at local restaurants, allowing for the residents to interact with full time faculty in a relaxed atmosphere.

First-year residents are subsidized to attend the free optics review course held one weekend in March at Baylor in Houston, Texas, for which the department pays airfare and housing. Finally, the department offers an introductory microsurgery course every August to orient new residents to the surgical aspects of ophthalmology.

The close resident-faculty interaction afforded in our program allows the faculty to devote increased time for individual instruction, promotes productive resident research based on individual interests, and guides the faculty when providing recommendations for those residents seeking subspecialty training or jobs in practice after their residency. Residents assume full responsibility for the clinical and surgical care of all patients on the advanced subspecialty rotations and participate in the complex surgical procedures that are normally reserved for fellows.

Resident research projects are mandatory, and the faculty participates actively in guiding residents in their research endeavors. Second- and third-year residents are required to complete a research project and to present the results at the annual Resident/Alumni Day Meeting. Travel funds are available for residents whose abstracts are accepted for presentation at national meetings (Table1), such as the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology or the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

FY2001 8 10 1
FY2003 10 7 0 1 18
FY2004 19 6 0 1 26
FY2005 11 8 0 1 20
FY2006 14 17 0 1 32
FY2007 18 13 0 3 34
FY2008 15 11 0 1 27
FY2009 14 3 0 4 21
FY2010 14 6 0 2 22
FY2011 18 6 0 1 25

Following the two week introductory course, first-year residents are on 24-hour in-house call approximately once every sixth night. Second-year residents are on 24-hour in-house call once every month: they cover all Friday nights and take in-house call 2 Saturdays during the year, for a total of 12 times per year for each second-year resident. Third-year residents take in-house call 2 Saturdays during the year and are on back-up call for surgical emergencies when they are doing rotations at University Hospital. All residents receive 4 weeks’ vacation over the course of the year. Residents are also provided financial support to attend any meeting at which their research has been accepted for presentation.

Salary levels are as follows: PGY–I, $50,808.00; PGY-II, $54,251; PGY-III, $57,572; PGY-IV, $60,934.

The Residency Program of the The Institute of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education.
Applicants must possess a valid Medical Training License from the State of New Jersey before entering the program. In addition, applicants must have completed a PGY-I year in medicine, surgery, or combination thereof.
The Residency Program participates in the Ophthalmology Central Application Service and the Ophthalmology Residency Matching Program. Interested applicants must forward all application materials to
Mr. Douglas Perry
Director, Ophthalmology Residency Matching Program
PO Box 7584
San Francisco, CA 94120-7584
(415) 447-0350
Fax: (415) 561-8535
Please address all inquiries about the Program to:
Paul D. Langer, MD
Director of Resident Education
The Institute of Ophthalmology and Visual Science
UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School
90 Bergen Street, 6th Floor DOC
Newark, NJ 07103-2499
Telephone: (973) 972- 2063
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