The retina fellowship at the Chicagoland Retinal Consultants (CRC) is a two-year combined medical/surgical fellowship that begins in early July. One fellow is accepted to the program every year. The fellowship will provide structured clinical and surgical training in the management of vitreoretinal diseases. Fellows will be trained to interpret various diagnostic imaging techniques. All of our offices are equipped with state-of-the-art imaging instruments including wide angle fluorescein angiography, ICG angiography, auto-fluorescence, both Zeiss and Heidelberg optical coherence tomography, as well as ultrasonography. All images are fully integrated with our EHR and can be accessed from all offices including from home.

During the fellowship, fellows will have the opportunity to perform various office procedures including panretinal photocoagulation, focal/grid laser treatment of the macula, laser retinopexy or cryopexy for retinal tears, pneumatic retinopexy, photodynamic therapy, and intravitreal and subtenon injections including anti-VEGF agents, steroids, other FDA approved medications.

Surgical training will emphasize the importance of decision making and mastering surgical techniques. The goal of the fellowship program is to graduate well trained, confident and ethical vitreoretinal specialists who are able to manage complex medical and surgical cases independently. Each week, fellows will spend 3-4 half-days in the operating room with four faculty surgeons. During the fellowship, they will perform 500 to 600 retinal surgical procedures including scleral buckles, small and large gauge vitrectomies and complex diabetic tractional retinal detachment, PVR, giant retinal tear and trauma cases.

In addition, fellows will participate in journal clubs, surgical teaching conferences aided by surgical videos and are required to participate in clinical research that will result in poster presentations and publications in peer reviewed journals.

Competitive salary and benefits package will be provided as well as an allowance to cover expenses for educational meetings and conferences.

Program Details

Goals and Objectives
The goal of the fellowship is to provide an advanced level of training in the diagnosis and management of medical and surgical disorders of the retina and vitreous. Fellows will acquire the necessary clinical skills by the initial evaluation and long term follow up of patients, as well as by playing an active role in the pre, intra, and post-operative care of their patients.

Medical Knowledge
  • Learn established and evolving medical concepts by reading journals and textbooks and applying the knowledge to patient care.
  • Practice self-directed learning by reading and researching about cases seen in faculty clinics and while on-call.
  • Read about surgical procedures and review the patients’ charts prior to the day of surgery.
  • Fellows will be evaluated on their medical knowledge throughout the fellowship. After each semi-annual evaluation, fellows will meet with the Program Director to review their evaluations.

Patient Care
  • Provide compassionate and evidence based patient care.
  • Learn proper retina focused history taking, examination and interpretation of test results.
  • Learn to appropriately counsel patients on recommendations for medical treatment or retinal surgery.
  • Implement treatment plans and properly follow-up with patients.
  • Prepare for each procedure they attend or perform.
Fellows responsibilities will appropriately increase as they progress through their training. They will learn retina surgery from the faculty in the operating room as well as during surgical rounds. The faculty will evaluate the fellow’s ability to care for patients. After each semi-annual evaluation, fellows will meet with the Program Director to review their evaluations. Any area that may need additional work will be addressed with the aid of the Program Director.

Practice-based Learning and Improvement
  • Learn how to evaluate scientific evidence to appropriately apply to patient care.
  • Research topics related to patients observed in the clinic and operating room.
  • Admit mistake and learn from errors.
The bimonthly surgical rounds, which includes morbidity and mortality, provides the opportunity for practice based learning. Edited surgical videos will be presented during surgical rounds.

Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  • Learn and practice interpersonal and communication skills to establish and maintain professional relationships with patients, families, practice staff, administrators, physicians and other members of the healthcare community.

  • Maintain patient confidentiality and demonstrate sensitivity to cultural diversity, socioeconomic status, disability, religious, and sexual preference.
  • Dress, present and carry oneself in a professional manner.
Part of professionalism is completing assignments on time and being on time for all assigned activities. Medical records and surgery logs also must be completed in timely manner.
The curriculum of the Vitreoretinal Fellowship program follows the guidelines for vitreoretinal fellowships developed by the American Society of Retinal Specialists, Macula Society and The Retina Society.

1. Retina Clinic Experience
Fellows will learn how to evaluate and manage a variety of retinal diseases under the direction and supervision of the attending physician staffing the clinic. In addition, fellows will learn how to interpret retinal imaging including OCT, FA, ICG, autofluorescence and B-scan, as well as perform intravitreal injections, thermal laser photocoagulation, and photodynamic therapy.

Moreover, a fellow run clinic may be present for the fellows to treat and manage their patients under supervision of the faculty.

2. Operating Room Experience
Fellows will be trained in surgical techniques including scleral buckling procedures and a variety of vitrectomy techniques. All surgical procedures are performed under the full and direct supervision and presence of the attending staff in the operating room at all times. Fellows will spend approximately 3 to 4 half days per week in the operating room with four faculty surgeons, performing 500 to 600 retinal surgical procedures during the two years of training.

3. Research
Fellows are required to present a research project at a national meeting such as the Association for Research and Vision in Ophthalmology (ARVO), the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) or the American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS) and submit for publication. Fellows will actively participate in clinical trials conducted at CRC. Protected research time may be provided.

4. Surgical Rounds
Surgical rounds are held bimonthly. The fellows will present challenging surgical cases including edited surgical videos. The retina faculty participates in these lively discussions. Fellows will be required to submit 1 surgical video to the ASRS surgical video bank yearly.

5. Journal Club
Journal Club is held each month on the first Monday of the month, and will be attended by the retina faculty. Recent publications in the field of retina will be discussed.

6. Conferences
Fellows are encouraged to attend national conferences pertinent to the fellow’s interest. Schedules are designed to allow fellows to attend such meetings and funding is available to cover the cost of meetings. In addition, fellows are required to present at local dinner meetings organized by the Chicagoland Eye and Retina Foundation (CERF).
Chicagoland Retinal Consultants has four state-of-the-art and fully-equipped offices strategically located to serve our patients. In addition, CRC provides retinal services to Hauser-Ross Eye Institute (1630 Gateway Drive, Sycamore, IL 60178) and Hauser-Ross Ambulatory Surgical Center (2515 Klein Road, Sycamore, IL 60178).
Call Duties
Fellows will be on call every other week. Call duties include covering new and established CRC patients and hospitals calls.
Employment Benefits
First Year salary $41,000
Second Year salary $42,500
Malpractice/Health Insurance/Dental Insurance
Medical license fees and yearly renewal fees
Two weeks vacation First Year
Three weeks vacation Second Year
Educational Allowance $1500/year for attending and presenting at conferences
Applications will be processed through SF Match and are available on their website:
San Francisco Match Program Contact Information:
Ophthalmology Fellowship Match
655 Beach Street
San Francisco, California 94109
Phone: 415-447-0350
Fax: 415-561-8535

Requirements for VR fellowship application:
  • One letter of recommendation from current Program Director
  • Three additional letters of reference from other faculty members with whom the candidate has closely worked with
  • Personal Statement, stating why you wish to pursue fellowship training in vitreoretinal diseases and your long term career plans
  • A copy of your USMLE scores
  • Verification of postgraduate training
  • Medical school transcripts

Applicants must also meet the requirements below prior to the fellowship start date:
  • Obtain a State of Illinois Medical License
  • Obtain an Illinois Controlled Substance Registration Certificate
  • Successfully Complete a Fully Accredited Ophthalmology Residency Program (By ACGME)
  • Eligible for American Board of Ophthalmology Certification

For additional program details, please contact our program coordinator, Karina Castanon at or (312) 527-1880.