Fellowship Overview

Overview of the Retina Fellowships

The Retina Service of the Department of Ophthalmology has trained over 112 fellows since 1962. We currently offer two surgical retina fellowship positions per year and one medical retina fellowship position per year. These begin in July, with the surgical fellowship running for 24 months and medical fellowship for 12 months. Combined two-year medical retina/research fellowships are also available—for inquiries regarding the latter please email Dr. Elliott H. Sohn (Director of Retina Fellowships).

First year of surgical retina fellowship

During the first year the fellows spend a majority of their time in the Retina Clinics where they evaluate and treat medical retinal diseases, performing most laser photocoagulation treatments and intravitreal injections. The first year retina fellows do not take call for the first six months of fellowship, which allows time for reading and initiating research projects. The last six months of the 1st year, the fellows operate (typically for scleral buckle, vitrectomy, and plaque procedures) while taking retina call every other week. Any available remaining time is devoted to clinical or laboratory research as well as conference preparation and teaching.

Second Year of surgical retina fellowship

The second year has a surgical emphasis with time split between the operating room and Vitreoretinal Clinics. As a major tertiary referral institution for Iowa and the surrounding 7 states, the fellow acquires extensive diagnostic and surgical experience in the management of simple and complex vitreoretinal disorders. The second year retina fellows do not take call for the last six months of fellowship. Vitreoretinal surgery is performed in both the main OR and ASC of the University of Iowa Hospital as well as the new Stead Family Children's Hospital that is connected directly to the University of Iowa Hospital.

AUPO FCC Our Vitreoretinal Fellowship is AUPO FCC approved.


Other retina fellowships

Medical retina fellowship

One-year medical retina fellows spend time in the Retina Clinics where they evaluate and treat all medical retinal diseases, performing most laser photocoagulation treatments and intravitreal injections. There is no call taken by medical retina fellows. Medical retina fellows are actively engaged in clinical or laboratory research as well as conference preparation and teaching.

Retina clinical and molecular research fellowship

This one-year ong fellowship is designed for vitreoretinal fellowship-trained physicians to gain specialized expertise in 1) clinical diagnosis and treatment of inherited retinal diseases, 2) laboratory based skills related to the molecular genetic diagnosis and pathophysiology of inherited retinal diseases, and 3) research skills necessary for advancing to an academic career.

Clinical Training

The fellowship programs in retinal, vitreous and macular disease allow hands-on, in-depth experience and frequent didactic teaching in the following areas:

1. Retinal Detachments and Peripheral Degenerations

Fellows will learn the technique of indirect ophthalmoscopy, scleral indentation, examination of the vitreous by slit-lamp biomicroscopy and contact lens examination of the macula with slit-lamp and fundus contact lens. This experience is acquired by supervised examination of patients who have peripheral retinal degenerations, retinal detachments, retinal tears, and all types of macular disease. There are over 20,000 outpatient visits per year on the Vitreoretinal Service. Indirect ophthalmoscopy and slit lamp biomicroscopy can be recorded on dedicated video instruments kept in the Retina Clinic.

2. Imaging

The technique and interpretation of high-resolution optical coherence tomography, OCT-angiography, autofluorescence, and stereoscopic and wide-field fluorescein angiography for the diagnosis of diseases of the posterior pole of the eye is acquired in coordination with the Photography Service of the Department of Ophthalmology. 1st-year vitreoretinal and medical retina fellows direct an imaging conference once a week during the academic year. This conference is attended by staff members of the Service as well as by fellows and residents in the Department of Ophthalmology.

Imaging is performed with state of the art devices for OCT, FA/ICG, autofluorescence, ultrawide field photography and OCTA, including:

  • Heidelberg Spectralis SD-OCT machines 
  • TopCon photography and SD-OCT machines
  • Zeiss SD-OCT units with OCT-angiography 
  • Zeiss Plex Elite 9000 for ultra-wide swept source OCT and OCT angiography
  • ultrawide field photography, FA, and autofluorescence with Optos, Clarus 500 and Clarus 700 units
  • Portable OCT using the Bioptigen handheld SD-OCT unit

3. Inherited Retinal Diseases

The surgical and medical retina fellows learn the diagnostic work-up and phenotypes of patients with inherited retinal diseases in clinics of Drs. Ian Han, Elliott Sohn, and Edwin Stone. As the genetic diagnosis and treatment of these rare diseases are primary missions of the University of Iowa Institute for Vision Research, fellows gain extensive knowledge and experience in the latest treatments for these disorders, e.g. assisting in first-in-human surgeries using gene and stem cell therapy. Fellow research projects in inherited retinal diseases are encouraged. Electrophysiologic tests (dark adaptation, multi-focal and full field electroretinography) are performed by the Electrophysiology Service of the Department of Ophthalmology.

4. Surgery of Retinal Detachments and Peripheral Retinal Degenerations

Patients with varying and progressively more complex retinal detachments and retinal degenerations leading to detachment are studied and examined by the fellows as the patients are referred to the Service. Surgery is performed by a fellow under the direct supervision of the staff in the operating room. Primary scleral buckling procedures and pneumatic retinopexies are also performed. Post-operative care is directed by the staff surgeon but also seen and followed by the fellow who was involved in the surgery. See the Vitreoretinal Surgery section for further details.

5. Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy

The diagnosis and selection of patients with diabetic retinopathy for treatment is performed as patients are referred to the Service. The necessary clinical judgment in selecting patients who can be expected to benefit from laser photocoagulation, anti-VEGF and steroidal therapies, and/or surgical intervention is acquired by examination of patients and consultation with the faculty. Clinical, translational and animal research projects in diabetic retinopathy are readily available.

6. Macular Disease

The Vitreoretinal Service evaluates over 2000 new patients a year with macular disease, the majority being patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) but a wide variety of other macular diseases are also seen. Fellows play an integral part in the evaluation and treatment of all patients. Fellows gain an understanding of the role of genetic research in AMD and macular dystrophies with application to clinic patients through the Carver Lab. In addition, there are numerous studies being carried out including phase I, II, and III trials in AMD with which fellows have the opportunity to be involved with.

7. Laser Photocoagulation

Fellows develop skills in treating a wide range of retinal and choroidal vascular diseases in addition to managing peripheral retinal tears using multiple wavelengths of visible and intrared laser for photocoagulation. Green and infrared indirect laser ophthalmoscopes are available for use.

Two Pascal lasers are used regularly in the retina clinic along with micropulse yellow and diode lasers.

8. YAG Laser

A Nd:YAG lasers are readily available.

9. Cryopexy Treatment of Retinal Disease

Patients are treated under supervision of the staff on an outpatient basis (treatment room or minor operating room), in the ambulatory surgery center, or in the main operating rooms.

10. Ultrasound

The Echography Service is run by Dr. Boldt. There are two technicians with over 30 years of combined experience in standardized echographic techniques. Fellows are expected to learn echographic techniques in the surgical management of vitreoretinal disease, and have both didactic and hands-on training in ocular echography.

11. Tumors

Experience in evaluation of uveal melanomas, metastatic tumors, and vascular tumors will be gained under direct supervision of Drs. Boldt and Binkley. We were a clinical center for the COMS. We were also the COMS Photographic Reading Center, and we still act as a part of the COMS Archival Repository. Fellows participate in the evaluation and management for approximately 100 new uveal melanomas a year. They also participate in the screening and treatment of approximately 6 new patients with retinoblastoma a year.

12. Pediatric Eye Disease

Retinopathy of prematurity screening is performed by the pediatric service and laser for ROP is performed by several members of the retina service. Opportunities to interact with the NICU service are available. Fellows specifically interested in pediatric dis­ease can get experience in these areas.

13. Posterior Uveitis

Dr. Folk and other retina faculty have a special interest in inflammatory diseases of the choroid and retina. Patients are evaluated and treated by the fellows in conjunction with the faculty. Experience in diagnostic vitrectomy and administration of chemotherapeutic agents will be gained. Clinical trials for new therapies targeting posterior uveitic diseases are readily available for participation by fellows.

Retina Surgery Training

Retinal Surgery Experience

Approximately 700 major vitreoretinal surgeries are performed annually. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy, epiretinal membranes, full-thickness macular holes, and rhegmatogenous retinal detachments are the leading indications though endophthalmitis, proliferative vitreoretinopathy, diabetic traction detachments, vitreous hemorrhages, post-trauma/IOFBs, and other etiologies are frequently encountered.

In 2019, the UI Hospitals & Clinics and department of ophthalmology approved the creation of an eye OR team that consists of RNs and techs dedicated to ophthalmic surgery, including retina. This eye OR team is based in the ASC thus retina surgeries are currently being transitioned for over 95% of cases which should greatly limit night and on weekend surgeries with the exception of true retinal emergencies. On-call cases at night and on weekends will be in the main operating room but have the support of the same eye OR team members. Surgeries involving children are performed in the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital.

State of the art equipment that is the standard at University of Iowa in the OR includes:

  • Alcon Constellation and Dutch Ophthalmic (DORC) Eva vitrectomy systems (23-27 gauge)
  • 3 Zeiss Lumera scopes equipped with Resight wide-angle viewing system and Rescan intraoperative OCT
  • Standard complement of vitrectomy instruments such as macular lenses, vertical/horizontal/curved scissors, ILM peelers, PVR forceps, chandeliers for bimanual peeling, membrane pics, diamond dusted scrapers (Tano and Sapphire), multiple IOFB forceps, intra- and extraocular magnets, straight and curved illuminated endophotocoagulators, indirect laser, intraocular cryoprobe, silicone oil, perfluorocarbon liquids, etc.
  • Scleral buckle materials

Trial of new, FDA approved instruments are done frequently at UI Hospitals & Clinics in the retina OR.

There is a wet lab with microscope (with BIOM) and surgical simulator with the vitreoretinal module (EyeSi VR Magic) available for use by the surgical fellows. Multiple wet lab sessions at University of Iowa have allowed future technologies to be tested by fellows and faculty.

During the Fellowship, the majority of surgical procedures will be performed by the Fellow under the direct supervision of a member of the faculty. Intraoperative digital recordings can be done on all cases for presentations and used to review and improve techniques.

Elaine Binkley, MD

Above is faculty member Elaine Binkley, MD, demonstrating flawless technique on the EyeSi VR Magic vitreoretinal surgical simulator when she was a fellow

Retina Research

The Vitreoretinal Service is actively involved in clinical and laboratory investigations. Each ophthalmology fellow is expected to complete a research project based on clinical or laboratory experience. Fellows have access to the Experimental Surgery Unit as well as all laboratories within the department if arrangements are made with the appropriate supervisors of those laboratories. An EyeSi vitrectomy simulator is also available to fellows at the Veterans Affairs Hospital.

Medical Education and Research Facility (MERF)Research is usually performed within the department but can take place in another department or, occasionally, at another institution. The research interests of the faculty are varied, and many projects are in progress. Presentations of research are made annually during the Resident/Fellow Research Conference at the end of the academic year. The P.J. Leinfelder Award is given annually by a faculty committee to the fellow who has made the most significant contributions in preparing and delivering their research.

University of Iowa Institute for Vision Research has its own pharmaceutical grade, clinical Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) facility that is wholly dedicated to novel gene and stem cell therapies for humans with genetic eye diseases. The Retina Service is a regular site for major nationwide collaborative studies including:

  • Gene therapy for Leber Congenital Amaurosis Trial (phase II/III sponsored by Spark Therapeutics)
  • Gene therapy for exudative AMD (phase I)
  • Combination anti-VEGF/PDGF therapy for wet AMD
  • Combination anti-VEGF/ang-2 therapies
  • Multicenter Uveitis Steroid Treatment (MUST) Trials
  • Visual cycle modulator for dry AMD
  • Comparisons of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Treatments Trial (CATT)
  • VIEW1 (VEGF-trap)
  • The Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study (COMS)
  • Choroidal Neovascularization Prevention Trial (CNVPT)
  • Submacular Surgery Trials (SST)
  • Complications of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Prevention Trial (CAPT)
  • Protein Kinase C Inhibitor Study of Diabetic Retinopathy
  • The Vitreoretinal Service has functioned as both an investigative center and as the national Photography Reading Center for the Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study (COMS).

Research studies in large and small animals utilizing novel therapies focused on gene replacement and autologous, CRISPR-corrected stem cells are being conducted by Drs. Elliott Sohn, Ian Han, Steve Russell, and Ed Stone at the UI Institute for Vision Research.

Faculty and Research Areas of Interest

Elaine M. Binkley, portrait

Elaine M. Binkley, MD

Research Areas of Interest

  • Clinical and translational research in ocular melanoma and other posterior segment tumors
  • Clinical and translational research in von Hippel Lindau disease

H. Culver Boldt

H. Culver Boldt, MD

Research Areas of Interest

  • Clinical research on ocular melanoma and other ocular neoplasms
  • Clinical research on proliferative vitreoretinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration

James Folk

James C. Folk, MD

Research Area of Interest

  • Clinical and translational research on ocular inflammatory disease and diabetic retinopathy

Ian Han, MD

Ian C. Han, MD

Research Areas of Interest

  • Clinical research involving multimodal retinal imaging for the discovery of imaging-related biomarkers, genotype-phenotype correlations, and novel insights into pathophysiology
  • Translational research involving rat models of retinal degeneration for the development of gene and stem cell therapy for inherited eye disease

Steve Russell

Stephen R. Russell, MD

Research Areas of Interest

  • Research focus is on evaluating treatments for retinal disorders, typically through clinical trials.
  • Currently investigating gene replacement therapy to treat Leber's congenital amaurosis, as well as evaluating a light cycle inhibitor to treat the atrophic form of age-related macular degeneration termed geographic atrophy.
  • Currently working on electronic enhancement and sensory substitution approaches for low vision navigation and function.

Elliott Sohn

Elliott H. Sohn, MD

Research Areas of Interest

  • Translational and clinical research related to retinal diseases, especially:
    • Age-related macular degeneration: from stem cell therapies to clinical trials to basic mechanisms of the pathophysiology especially related to genotype
    • Diabetic retinopathy: tissue and image-based analysis in mice and humans with focus on pathophysiology and treatment
    • Inherited macular dystrophies and retinal degenerations–gene and stem cell therapies in pigs and humans as well as phenotype-genotype correlations

Edwin Stone

Edwin M. Stone, MD, PhD

Research Area of Interest

  • Diagnosis, mechanistic understanding, and treatment of a wide variety of inherited retinal diseases

Research Labs

Research Laboratories for Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

The Carver College of Medicine is internationally recognized for its excellence and leadership in biomedical research. Among public medical schools, the College of Medicine ranks 11th in NIH funding in both the number of grants and total grant dollars per research faculty in public medical schools. University of Iowa Institute for Vision Research continues to garner funding for its ground-breaking research.

Carver College of Medicine faculty have been awarded approximately half of the University's total research funding and more than 80 percent of its National Institutes of Health funding. The University of Iowa is at the forefront among research universities in this country, and its contribution has been nationally recognized by such eminent authorities as the Carnegie Foundation, which classified The University of Iowa as having "very high research activity" among research universities.

Medical Education and Research Facility (MERF)

The Laboratory for Disease Gene Discovery (LDGD), directed by Val C. Shefffield, MD, PhD, has as its primary goal the identification and characterization of genes involved in hereditary human disease with special emphasis placed on the study of hereditary retinopathies including age-related macular degeneration. The main strategies used by the laboratory are the use of genetic mapping methods and genomic resources to identify disease genes based on their position within the genome and/or putative function. The LDGD has developed thousands of highly polymorphic human genetic markers and novel genetic mapping methods to aid in the efficient mapping of disease loci. In collaboration with the MOL, the LDGD has succeeded in the mapping of over thirty human disease loci, and the identification of ten disease-causing genes including genes involved in glaucoma, macular degeneration and syndromic retinopathies (Bardet-Biedl Syndrome).

The Chorioretinal Degenerations Laboratory is directed by Rob Mullins, PhD. The major focus of this laboratory is to understand the cellular and molecular basis of macular diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), central serous retinopathy and Best vitelliform macular degeneration.

The laboratory is exploring the role of the choroid in the development of AMD and other diseases. It is also looking at the pathogenesis of other macular diseases including Best disease, Bardet-Biedl syndrome, Leber congenital amaurosis, retinitis pigmentosa, uveitis, and other acquired and inherited diseases of the retina.  It utilizes animal models, human donor eyes, cell culture approaches, biochemical methods and genetic resources unique to the Carver Family Center for Macular Degeneration to approach this problem.

Research in Gene Therapy for eye diseases is under the auspices of Ian C. Han, MDStephen R. Russell, MDArlene V. Drack, MD, Elliott H. Sohn, MD, and Edwin Stone, MD, PhD. The University of Iowa is a leader in finding genetic causes of common and uncommon eye diseases such as Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA). Under the Carver Family Center for Macular Degeneration in the Department of Ophthalmology Institute for Vision Research, Drs. Russell, Drack, and Sohn are collaborating with pioneer gene therapists at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to treat children blind from birth with Leber’s congenital amaurosis. In addition Drs Drack, Russell, Sohn and Stone are investigating gene replacement therapies and gene directed therapies in mice and pigs for other inherited retinal conditions.

Stem Cell Research for retinal, eye and related diseases is directed by Budd Tucker, PhD. New to the UI in 2010, Dr. Tucker’s research on combining state-of-the-art patient-specific stem cell and biodegradable tissue engineering technologies for the treatment of blinding retinal degenerative diseases has earned a 2010 National Institutes of Health Director's New Innovator Award.

Computer-Aided Diagnosis. Dr. Michael Abramoff and coworkers have established large retinal imaging networks in the Midwest of the United States and the Netherlands, with widespread networks of retinal cameras connected through the internet to the University of Iowa, for screening of diabetic retinopathy. The research combines clinical ophthalmology, visual neuroscience and bioinformatics to study the phenotypes and genotypes of diabetic retinopathy, age related macular degeneration and glaucoma.

Many of our faculty are investigators for the Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Visual Loss at the Iowa City Veterans Administration Medical Center. Investigators: Randy Kardon, MD, PhD; Michael D. Abramoff, MD, PhD; Chris A. Johnson, PhD; Markus Kuehn, PhD; Young H. Kwon, MD, PhD; Thomas A. Oetting, MD; Milan Sonka, PhD; Michael Wall, MD.

See additional information at UI Institute for Vision Research. The institute supports and coordinates the vision research activities of nine existing research units at the University of Iowa.

Resident and Dr. Syed in the Eye Pathology LabOphthalmology Diagnostic Laboratories

The Frederick C. Blodi Ocular Pathology Laboratory occupies approximately 1,350 square feet in the UI Carver College of Medicine. A major renovation of this space was completed in 2001. Dr. Nasreen Syed joined the department as the laboratory director in September 2002. The lab serves as a national reference center and has up-to-date tissue processing equipment and computers to meet the needs of the most advanced anatomic pathology laboratory. One full-time histotechnologist staffs the laboratory.

The mission of The Carver Family Center for Macular Degeneration at University of Iowa is to cure inherited forms of blindness through the practical application of molecular biology. One can envision the process toward a cure as a serious of steps that begin with disease gene discovery, proceeds through investigations of animal models and affected patients, and ends with successful clinical trials of novel therapies.

The Molecular Ophthalmology Laboratory and The John and Marcia Carver Nonprofit Genetic Testing Laboratory occupy about 5,000 square feet in the Medical Education Research Facility. A vast array of techniques in molecular biology including DNA extraction, linkage analysis, single strand conformation polymorphism analysis, cloning and sequencing DNA, and polymerase chain reaction can be performed within the facility.

The John and Marcia Carver Nonprofit Genetic Testing Laboratory is dedicated to providing non-profit genetic testing for rare eye diseases to meet a societal need.


Fellows are encouraged to work on at least one project that will lead to a publication and/or presentation of new material at a national meeting such as the American Academy of Ophthalmology, ARVO, ASRS, Retina Society, or the Macula Society.

Articles recently published by our fellows include:

Abbassi, S., Binkley, E., Han, I. C., Christiansen, S. M., Luse, M., Affatigato, L. M., Andorf, J., Yannuzzi, L. A., & Stone, E. M. (2018). Predominance of hyperopia in patients with molecularly confirmed Best disease. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 59(9), 3.

Binkley, E. M.Watson, J. S., Russell, S. R., Mahajan, V. B., Boldt, H. C., Folk, J. C., Abramoff, M. D., Gehrs, K. M., & Sohn, E. H. (2016). Disease Recurrence Following Endophthalmitis Associated with Intravitreal Injection. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 57(12), 3.

Boldt, H. C., & Binkley, E. (2018). Treating Small Choroidal Melanoma: Smaller Is Better. JAMA Ophthalmology, 136(12), 1333-1334. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2018.3880

Caraballo, J., Binkley, E., Han, I., & Dowden, A. (2017). Intraoperative anaphylaxis to bacitracin during scleral buckle surgery. Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 119(6), 559-560. doi:10.1016/j.anai.2017.09.002

Clavell, C., Athwal, L., Zarbin, M. A., Langer, P. D., & Bhagat, N. (2018). Pediatric Infectious Endophthalmitis: A Case Series. J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus, 55(1), 69-70. doi:10.3928/01913913 20170703-07

Cunningham, C. M., Critser, D. B., & Han, I. C. (2018). Swept-Source OCT of a Scleral Tunnel in Choroideremia.Ophthalmology, 125(6), 806. doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2018.03.010

Feiler, D., Binkley, E., Han, I. C., Critser, D. B., & Folk, J. C. (2018). Automated Quantification of Posterior Vitreous Inflammation using Optical Coherence Tomography. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 59(9), 5. 

Greenberg, J. P., Belin, P., Butler, J., Feiler, D., Mueller, C., Tye, A., Friedlander, S. M., Emerson, G. G., & Ferrone, P. J. (2019). Aflibercept-Related Sterile Intraocular Inflammation Outcomes. Ophthalmol Retina, 3(9), 753-759. doi:10.1016/j.oret.2019.04.006

Han, I. C., Whitmore, S. S., Critser, D. B., Lee, S. Y., DeLuca, A. P., Daggett, H. T., Affatigato, L. M., Mullins, R. F., Tucker, B. A., Drack, A. V., & Stone, E. M. (2019). Wide-Field Swept-Source OCT and Angiography in X-Linked Retinoschisis. Ophthalmology Retina, 3(2), 178-185. doi:10.1016/j.oret.2018.09.006

Lee, S. Y., Cheng, J. L., Gehrs, K. M., Folk, J. C., Sohn, E. H., Russell, S. R., Guo, Z., Abràmoff, M. D., & Han, I. C. (2017). Choroidal features of acute macular neuroretinopathy via optical coherence tomography angiography and correlation with serial multimodal imaging. JAMA Ophthalmology, 135(11), 1177-1183. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2017.3790

Peairs, J. J., Abramoff, M. D., Lee, K., Guo, Z. H., Critser, D. B., & Folk, J. C. (2017). OCT-Predictive Visual Threshold Sensitivity Predicts Visual Field Loss in Patients with Ocular Inflammatory Disease. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 58(8), 3. 

Velez, G., Roybal, C. N.Binkley, E., Bassuk, A. G., Tsang, S. H., & Mahajan, V. B. (2017). Proteomic analysis of elevated intraocular pressure with retinal detachment. American Journal of Ophthalmology Case Reports, 5, 107-110. doi:10.1016/j.ajoc.2016.12.023

Watson, J. S.Carey, A.Binkley, E. M., Boldt, H. C., Folk, J. C., Sohn, E. H., Mahajan, V. B., Gehrs, K. M., & Russell, S. R. (2016). Long term follow-up of Ocular Histoplasmosis in the Anti-VEGF Era. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 57(12), 2.

Wubben, T. J., Johnson, M. W., Sohn, E. H., Peairs, J. J., Kay, C. N., Kim, S. J., Gardner, T. W., Paulus, Y. M., Zacks, D. N., Steinle, N. C., Avery, R. L., Berrocal, M. H., & Anti, V. T. I. S. G. (2019). Anti–Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Therapy for Diabetic Retinopathy: Consequences of Inadvertent Treatment Interruptions. American Journal of Ophthalmology, 204, 13-18. doi:10.1016/j.ajo.2019.03.005

EyeRounds contributions

Myers, L., Almeida, D. and Abràmoff, M.D. Intravitreal Injection Technique: A Primer for Ophthalmology Residents and Fellows. EyeRounds.org. January 6, 2015; Available from:http://www.EyeRounds.org/tutorials/intravitreal-injection/. 2015.

Treloar, M., Roybal, C.N., Niles, P.I. and Russell, S.R. Progression of Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy During Pregnancy. EyeRounds.org. Posted September 1, 2015; Available from:http://EyeRounds.org/cases/219-Gestational-Diabetic-Retinopathy.htm. 2015.

Chin, E. and Venckus, T. Allen Dots. EyeRounds.org.  Posted Jan 21, 2014. Available from:http://eyerounds.org/atlas/pages/Allen-dot.htm.  2014.

Folchert, M., Chin, E.K. and Folk, J.C. Polypoidal Choroidal Vasculopathy (PCV). EyeRounds.org. May 4, 2014; available from http://EyeRounds.org/cases/186-PCV.htm. 2014.

Gauger, E.H., Chin, E.K. and Sohn, E.H. Vitreous Syneresis: An Impending Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD). Oct 16, 2014; Available from: http://EyeRounds.org/cases/196-PVD.htm. 2014.

Chin, E. and Warner, L. Acquired Peripheral Retinoschisis. EyeRounds.org.  Posted Dec 9, 2013. Available from: http://eyerounds.org/atlas/pages/acquired-peripheral-retinoschisis.htm.  2013.

Chin, E. and Montague, C. Angioid Streaks and Optic Disc Drusen in Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum. EyeRounds.org.  Posted Aug 15, 2013, Available fromhttp://eyerounds.org/atlas/pages/angioid-streaks-optic-disc-drusen-pseudoxanthoma-elasticum.htm.  2013.

Chin, E. and Critser, B. Combined Hamartoma of the Retina and Retina Pigment Epithelium (CHRRPE). EyeRounds.org.  Posted Aug 21, 2013. Available from:http://eyerounds.org/atlas/pages/CHRRPE.htm.  2013.

Grant, L., Walsh, M. and Feng, M. Familial Exudative Vitreoretinopathy (FEVR). EyeRounds.org.  Posted Aug 15, 2013. Available fromhttp://eyerounds.org/atlas/pages/FEVR.htm.  2013.

Davis, A.S. and Syed, N.A. Granular Corneal Dystrophy Discovered Following LASIK: A Clinicopathologic Correlation of Granular Corneal Dystrophy Type II and LASIK. EyeRounds.org. September 16, 2011. Available from: http://EyeRounds.org/cases/140-post-LASIK-Granular-Corneal-Dystrophy.htm. 2011.

Retina Didactics

Fellows in seminarEach fellow is expected to prepare a vitreoretinal conference once every 2 months on a topic of choice to be presented to the members of the Ophthalmology Department. 

Intimate didactics are an integral part of retina fellowship training at the University of Iowa with weekly imaging/FA conference and weekly post-clinic rounds by Drs. Binkley, Boldt, Folk, Han, Sohn, and Stone.

Rounds, Lectures, and Conferences

Physician giving lectureGrand rounds are held Monday through Thursday from 8:00 to 8:45 a.m. in the Braley Auditorium. All residents and staff attend unless operating or engaged in acute medical care. During rounds, residents and fellows develop their public speaking skills by making presentations. Discussion by the faculty and house staff follows each case.

The cases and discussions presented by Residents and Fellows at Grand Rounds are often further developed and published as case reports and tutorials on EyeRounds.org.

Once a week during the academic year, didactic lectures on ophthalmology are presented. These two-hour lectures are organized to coincide with the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Basic and Clinical Sciences Course. Lectures cover most aspects of basic and clinical ophthalmology. Once every 10 weeks these sessions include a journal club covering recent journal articles in that subject area to help develop skills in practice based learning.

Six, day-long clinical conferences are held during the academic year. Clinics are closed on these days. Ophthalmologists from throughout Iowa and Illinois attend and present challenging clinical problems for discussion by faculty and guests. These meetings feature a visiting professor who presents a lecture based on his/ her research interests. The day is balanced by the presentation of a more clinically oriented topic. This conference has contributed to the excellent rapport between practicing ophthalmologists and the ophthalmology staff at the university. 

Each year in June, alumni and other members attend a two- to three-day Iowa Eye Association meeting with invited speakers and a focus on a specific subspecialty topic.

Presentations of research are made annually during the Resident/Fellow Research Conference at the end of the academic year.

Ophthalmology Upcoming Event Calendar

Fellow Evaluation

At the beginning of the fellowship, the fellow is given a document outlining the goals and responsibilities of the fellowship. The evaluation of the fellow's progress during training is determined by periodic consultation among the members of the Vitreoretinal Service.

At the end of each training period all staff members must agree that the performance of the fellow has been satisfactory.

 Following successful conclusion of the Fellowship a fellow will receive a diploma recognizing his/her achievement.

Our Facilities

Pomerantz Family Pavilion (PFP)

UIHC exterior above aerial view

The Pomerantz Family Pavilion, dedicated on April 26, 1996, was named in honor of the Pomerantz Family in recognition of their $3 million contribution toward the cost of constructing the building. The University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics Eye Institute occupies more than 65,000  square feet of space on 2 floors of the Pomerantz Family Pavilion. The building also houses several ambulatory care clinics including the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center and Infusion Suites, Women's Health, Otolaryngology, and the Ambulatory Surgery Center.

The Eye Institute

The Eye Institute replaced the Department of Ophthalmology's ambulatory patient care clinics, diagnostic and treatment units, faculty and staff offices, and conference and teaching facilities, which had been located on the second level of the General Hospital since 1950.

Eye clinic

Ophthalmology clinic areas are adjacent to the hospital registration facilities on the main floor. The reception, scheduling and waiting areas enjoy the benefit of window walls and skylights. Subspecialty waiting areas are color-coded for ease in locating by patients and staff. Work rooms and check-in stations are also incorporated, affording staff the space and privacy needed for conferences and/or consultations, while providing patients with a readily identifiable source of assistance. More than fifty exam lanes have been designed to be more "user-friendly," and except for those in Pediatric Ophthalmology, are adaptable to the needs of any service, allowing flexibility of usage. Faculty, administrative and most support staff offices are also on the main level adjacent to the clinic area.

The lower level of the Eye Institute features the C.S. O'Brien Ophthalmology Library and the Braley Auditorium. Also on the lower level are clinical coordinator offices, a residents' room and some work spaces. The Residents’ Office and Multimedia Center provides an additional work area and private space for resident physicians with individual desks for each resident. The Multimedia Center has advanced software and hardware facilities for managing data including video to allow portfolio management and review of recent surgeries.

The department has the most up-to-date laser technology and surgical equipment. A team of nurses and technicians within the department staffs the Ophthalmology Procedure Suite. The facility includes three operating rooms, a refractive laser suite and 2 examining rooms. Located closer to the glaucoma and retina services are 4 additional laser rooms. The Main Operating Room is located in an adjacent building, incorporating over 30 suites. The Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) on the 4th floor of the Pomerantz Family Pavilion provides an excellent patient care environment for ophthalmic patients and surgeons. The department performs the majority of its operations in the ASC.

Areas for clinical research are located within the department. Basic research laboratories are in adjacent buildings. All buildings making up the Medical Center are connected. The Pomerantz Family Pavilion, at the south end of the complex connects by a skyway to the John Pappajohn Pavilion, providing access to the more than two-million net square feet of space that make up University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics.

Additional Clinical, Diagnostic and Research Facilities 

In addition to the Eye Institute facilities in the Pomerantz Family Pavilion of University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, ophthalmology clinics and faculty associated with The University of Iowa are present at both the Des Moines and Iowa City Veterans Affairs Hospitals and at the Des Moines Broadlawns Hospital. Clinical faculty in private practice are also located in Iowa City, Davenport, and Des Moines. Research and Clinical Laboratories are located in the Medical Research Center and the Medical Education and Research Facility.

Medical Education and Research Facility (MERF)

The University of Iowa Institute for Vision Research is divided into nine functional units, each directed by a faculty member with extensive experience in that area. The Center, located in the Medical Education and Research Facility has laboratory and office space occupying an accumulated 30,000 square foot area and employs over 175 people.

The Ocular Pathology Laboratory occupies approximately 1350 square feet in the contiguous Medical Research Center. The lab is equipped with up-to-date histology and computer equipment and serves as a national reference center. 

Medical Retina Fellowship

Medical retina fellowship

One-year medical retina fellows spend time in the Retina Clinics where they evaluate and treat all medical retinal diseases, performing most laser photocoagulation treatments and intravitreal injections. There is no call taken by medical retina fellows. Medical retina fellows are actively engaged in clinical or laboratory research as well as conference preparation and teaching.

Click here for Medical Retina Fellowship

Quick Facts


Visit our GME site to find out about:

Board Certification Requirements

  • While Ophthalmology, as a specialty, is board certified, Ophthalmology subspecialty fellowships are not board certified. Visit the American Board of Ophthalmology for specifics on board certification requirements.

Patient volume in Retina 

  • Our patients represent all age groups and all socioeconomic strata and they present with virtually all acute and chronic conditions of the eye.
  • UI Hospitals & Clinics is a tertiary care center and our department receives referrals for specialized services from Iowa and neighboring states. Some patients travel from outside the continent to be seen by our physicians.
  • In an average year there are approximately 20,000 retina/vitreous patient visits​

What's so good about Iowa?

  • Our faculty are really nice, and exceptionally dedicated teachers too.
  • We have a diverse faculty with wide-ranging clinical and research interests.
  • Some of our faculty are internationally known and have been with us for many years.
  • We also have several bright young faculty who bring new interests and enthusiasm to the practice.
  • All the subspecialties are represented in our training program.
  • Our programs, clinical and teaching are consistently ranked in the top ten nationally.
  • Our fellows are great people and they make exceptional ophthalmologists.
  • Iowa City is a highly intellectual community with premier arts events that are accessible to residents both in terms of cost and location.
  • We have an outstanding school system for children in grades K-12.
  • A great training program and a high quality of life.
  • We want you to succeed.

Malpractice Insurance and GME Policies

Read about malpractice insurance and GME policies:

Malpractice Insurance

University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics is an agency of the State of Iowa, which self-insures the tort liability of the State and its employees under the provisions of the State Tort Claims Act, Chapter 669, Code of Iowa. Resident and Fellow Physicians at UI Hospitals & Clinics are State employees for the purposes of the State Tort Claims Act. The coverage provided to Resident and Fellow Physicians by the State Tort Claims Act is occurrence coverage.

GME Policies

We have indexed our policies and procedures in a document clearinghouse as a means of keeping items there as up to date as possible. Each of the documents listed on the clearinghouse page is in .pdf format and will be downloaded to your computer. All policies are subject to change.