Cornea, External Diseases, and Refractive Fellowship

Program Overview

Our fellowship in cornea, external diseases, and refractive surgery provides one fellow per year an intense and thorough experience, and enables our graduates to enter clinical or academic practice with ample experience and a high level of proficiency. As the regional referral center for the entire state of Oklahoma, as well as parts of Kansas, Texas, Missouri, New Mexico, and Arkansas, the Dean McGee Eye Institute (DMEI)/University of Oklahoma (OU) Department of Ophthalmology attracts patients with many of the more unusual and difficult diseases. More than 30 ophthalmologists at DMEI/OU provide approximately 200,000 patient visits per year and perform more than 10,000 surgeries annually. The fellow will be exposed to the full range of pathology while immersed in a supportive teaching environment.

The Dean McGee Eye Institute takes great pride in the unsurpassed quality of cornea, external disease, anterior segment, and refractive surgery training offered to our fellow each year. We offer the advantages of a department ranked in the top 12 of all departments of ophthalmology in patient care, education, and research, with the personalized attention that can only be given to one fellow who does not have to share clinic time or surgical cases. This results in a unique opportunity for learning and an excellent foundation for a career in clinical or academic ophthalmology. Salary is at the PGY-5 level plus benefits.

Educational Experience

The cornea, external diseases, and refractive fellowship is directed by Dr. Rhea L. Siatkowski, who completed both her residency and fellowship at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute/University of Miami.

Additional faculty members responsible for education and training in this fellowship are:

  • Dr. Kamran M. Riaz, who completed his residency at Northwestern University and his cornea fellowship at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.
  • Dr. David W. Jackson, who completed both his residency and cornea fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

Patients are seen with infectious, inflammatory, neoplastic, traumatic, and degenerative disorders of the cornea, ocular surface, and anterior segment. Recent fellows have performed over 40 penetrating and deep anterior lamellar keratoplasties, 50 DSAEK, 100+ phaco/IOL, and 15-30 refractive surgeries as primary surgeon. Additional expertise will be developed in secondary lens implants, iris reconstruction, keratoprostheses, ocular surface reconstruction, limbal stem cell transplantation, ocular surface neoplasm excision, and in oculoplastic procedures relevant to the treatment of corneal diseases.

In addition to this exposure to a tremendous breadth and depth of cornea and external disease pathology, the fellow also will participate in the evaluation and management of patients with ocular inflammatory disease and uveitis, including the use of immunomodulatory therapy, in the uveitis clinic.

Dr. Jackson’s practice is focused on refractive, cataract, anterior segment, and corneal surgery. Under Dr. Jackson’s direct supervision, the fellow will perform state-of-the-art refractive procedures as primary surgeon, and will learn to recognize and manage complications of refractive surgery through participation in the consultation practice. Of particular note is the hands-on training with cutting-edge refractive technology, including wavefront-guided ablations and presbyopia-correcting lenses such as the Restor® and Crystalens®.

Research Opportunities

Participation in clinical or basic research projects in the laboratories of our 10 NIH-funded basic scientists is available to the interested fellow. Ongoing NIH-funded research programs include studies of molecular mechanisms of bacterial keratitis, endophthalmitis, adenoviral keratitis, the capacity of conjunctiva to act as a site of immune activation, the local and systemic immunologic responses to herpes virus infections, and development of keratoconus. Various clinical trials are also ongoing within the department. The fellow is encouraged to pursue topics of particular interest, and previous fellows have presented their results at local and national meetings.

Application

This fellowship is approved by the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology’s Fellowship Compliance Committee and participates in the Central Application Service provided by the San Francisco Matching Program. The fellowship application form may be accessed at www.sfmatch.org where it is listed under both the Cornea and External Diseases as well as the Cornea, Refractive, Anterior Segment Surgery categories.