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Fellowship Overview

Mission Statement

Our goal is to produce physician leaders. We are proud that graduates of our program become the 'go-to' retina doctors in their communities, respected educators, and high impact researchers. As a major tertiary care center, we have trained over 119 retina fellows since 1962 and strive to provide the best possible educational environment through daily retina didactics; diverse exposure to common, rare and complex medical and surgical pathology; training of fundamental and advanced surgical techniques; utilization of state-of-the-art innovations; ample research opportunities in the most exciting areas of medicine; and close mentorship with experienced, renown faculty who care deeply about your success.

Overview of the Retina Fellowships

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

UPO FCC compliance logoOur Medical Retina and Molecular Ophthalmology Fellowship is AUPO FCC approved.

Other Retina Fellowships

Mina Chung, MD Inherited Retinal Diseases Fellowship

This 1-2 year-long fellowship is designed for ophthalmology residency (ideally 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 on academic career.

Vitreoretinal Surgery Fellowship

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.