A defining feature of the CPMC ophthalmology training program is our commitment to caring for the underserved people of the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California. The home base of our residency program is the Lions Eye Clinic of San Francisco, a resident-run clinic that serves a broad population of low-income and uninsured patients. The Lions Eye Clinic is housed at the Pacific Vision Eye Institute and funded with generous support from the Lions Eye Foundation. With supervision by CPMC faculty, residents in Lions Eye Clinic treat patients with a wide variety of ocular pathologies and have the opportunity to deeply impact the lives of the most vulnerable people in our community.
CPMC residents rotate at Highland Hospital in Oakland throughout the entire course of their training. Highland is a county hospital, the only Level 1 trauma center in the East Bay, and is especially vital for low-income and uninsured people, immigrants, and refugees. The Highland ophthalmology clinic is staffed by full-time attendings, as well as subspecialists that practice throughout the Bay Area and are part of the CPMC faculty. The resident experience at Highland is a defining one, consisting of high operative volume, complex decision-making, and gradual and appropriate autonomy.
In the final year of residency, our residents spend four months at Kaiser Hospital in San Francisco. On the Kaiser rotation, residents run an acute care clinic, hone advanced techniques in cataract surgery, and deepen their exposure to ocular oncology.
Our faculty include nationally respected ophthalmologists who practice throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Residents learn the intricacies of each ophthalmologic discipline during subspecialty rotations with faculty in a variety of practice settings.
An international elective is available to CPMC residents who wish to expand their training further afield. Many residents choose to travel to Aravind Eye Hospital in India where they offer a structured course in small incision extracapsular cataract surgery.
Update: April, 2020
The CPMC Department of Ophthalmology is ending its longstanding “staggered start” curriculum. All future residents will proceed on a traditional residency track in which they begin together in July and finish together in June. In addition, we will initiate a joint internship for incoming ophthalmology residents on July 1, 2021. All future residents will be required to complete their internship at CPMC (PGY-1 through PGY-4). Our joint internship with the CPMC Department of Internal Medicine will consist of 3 months of ophthalmology training and 9 months of training in internal medicine. The following is a description of the four-year curriculum that will begin on July 1, 2021.
The PGY-1 interns spend 3 months rotating in ophthalmology, with substantial time at Highland Hospital. During those 3 months they learn basic exam skills, and become familiar with the diagnosis and management of ophthalmic diseases. Interns complete 9 months of training with the CPMC Department of Internal Medicine including core rotations as well as elective time to gain experience in subspecialities such as rheumatology, neurology, and endocrinology.
The PGY-2 residents begin their year with a deep dive into the fundamentals of ophthalmology by spending the entire month of July at the Stanford Ophthalmology Basic Science Course. For the remainder of the year, they rotate through the Lions Eye Clinic and with our subspecialty faculty throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. At Lions Eye Clinic they serve as the junior resident. In this capacity they perform minor procedures, learn the basics of corneal surgery, perform intravitreal injections, perform ophthalmic laser procedures, and perform some steps of cataract surgery. Rotating with subspecialty faculty they learn the fundamentals of cornea, glaucoma, retina, uveitis, neuro-ophthalmology, oculoplastics, pediatric ophthalmology, ocular oncology, ophthalmic pathology, contact lens, low-vision, and refractive surgery. Many of our subspecialty faculty have been with the CPMC Department of Ophthalmology for decades and are dedicated to resident education.
The PGY-3 residents spend part of the year rotating through Highland Hospital as the junior resident. Here they begin performing phacoemulsification as primary surgeon. The PGY-3 residents also move through a second round of subspecialty rotations, with a focus on surgical proficiency in each subspecialty. Finally, there is a one month elective during which residents can choose to do research, international work, or arrange for a tailored clinical experience.
The PGY-4 residents rotate through three locations: Lions Eye Clinic, Kaiser Hospital, and Highland Hospital. As the sole resident at Kaiser, they run their own acute care clinic with supervision by Kaiser faculty, and gain experience with advanced cataract surgery techniques. The PGY-4 residents serve as the senior resident at Lions Eye Clinic. In this capacity, they perform a variety of surgical procedures as primary surgeon, including cataract surgery and subspecialty procedures. At Highland Hospital they are the senior resident in charge of managing a busy service with complex patient needs involving all subspecialties. During the PGY-4 year there is another one month elective during which residents can choose to do research, international work, or arrange for a tailored clinical experience.