Retina Fellowship

Current Fellow

Program Overview

The Dean McGee Eye Institute takes great pride in the unsurpassed quality of vitreoretinal clinical and surgical training offered to our fellows. The Dean McGee Eye Institute (DMEI)/University of Oklahoma (OU) Department of Ophthalmology serves as the sole tertiary referral center for eye care in the state of Oklahoma, and additionally serves parts of Arkansas, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Missouri, and Texas. Its staff of approximately 30 ophthalmologists includes physicians in every subspecialty.

Annually, physicians at DMEI/OU provide approximately 200,000 total patient visits and more than 10,000 surgeries including many difficult and unusual cases. In addition, DMEI/OU faculty provide emergency/trauma coverage at OU Medical Center, the only level-one trauma facility in the state. In this environment, a retina fellow can expect to be exposed to a broad range of diseases and disorders of the retina and vitreous.

Our fellowship in diseases of the vitreous and retina provides one fellow every two years a complete and thorough experience in both surgical and medical retina, enabling our graduates to enter clinical or academic practice with a high level of experience and proficiency. Care is taken by the retina faculty to keep the fellowship experience devoted to learning and education with minimal time devoted to patient calls, refilling medication prescriptions, dictations, etc. Fellows receive salary support equivalent to PGY-5 plus benefits.

Educational Experience

Dr. Vinay A. Shah, who completed his residency at the University of Missouri and his retina fellowship at the Kresge Eye Institute/Wayne State University, serves as the retina fellowship director.

Additional faculty directly responsible for education and training in this fellowship include:

  • Dr. Reagan H. Bradford, Jr., who completed his residency at the Dean McGee Eye Institute/University of Oklahoma and his retina fellowship at Bascom Palmer/University of Miami.
  • Dr. Stephen R. Fransen, who completed his residency at the Dean McGee Eye Institute/University of Oklahoma and his retina fellowship at Bascom Palmer/University of Miami.
  • Dr. Ronald M. Kingsley, who completed his residency at Yale University Medical School and retina fellowships at Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute/Johns Hopkins University and Moorfields Eye Hospital and Hammersmith Hospital in London, England.
  • Sun Young Lee, MD, PhD, who completed residency at Doheny Eye Institute/University of Southern California and her retina fellowship at the University of Iowa.

Drs. Bradford, Lee, and Shah are vitreoretinal surgeons. Drs. Kingsley and Fransen specialize in medical retina.

The surgical experience provided by Drs. Bradford, Lee, and Shah is comprehensive and diverse. Each faculty member has a unique and effective technique for vitrectomy and scleral buckling. Dr. Bradford performs adult and pediatric vitreoretinal surgery. Dr. Shah conducts a high-volume clinical and surgical practice. Dr. Lee maintains a busy practice but also conducts bench research as a member of the DMEI/OU vision research faculty.

The fellow can expect approximately 500 vitrectomy surgeries as the primary surgeon and 80-100 scleral buckle procedures as the primary surgeon. The Dean McGee Eye Institute’s retina service also provides advanced vitreoretinal surgery care for patients with ocular trauma and foreign bodies, severe diabetic retinal detachments, and advanced proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) cases.

In addition to this exposure to a tremendous breadth and depth of vitreoretinal disease and 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, with Dr. Fransen. Dr. Kingsley will provide further refinement of medical retina skills and treatment algorithms. Retinopathy of prematurity rounds takes place once a week with pediatric ophthalmologist and residency program director Dr. R. Michael Siatkowski. Dr. Brian Firestone is responsible for ocular oncology and the placement of radioactive plaque treatment of choroidal melanomas.

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. 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.

Now recognized as one the leading ophthalmologic research institutions in the United States, the Dean McGee Eye Institute holds a National Institutes of Health Core Grant, ranks among the top research programs in the country with respect to National Eye Institute funding, and also is among the United States’ top programs in support from Research to Prevent Blindness.

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 found at www.sfmatch.org and is listed under the Surgical Retina category.

It is expected that the retina fellow be eligible for an Oklahoma Medical License and thus must have completed and passed all three parts of the USMLE and be either Board Eligible or Board Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. No additional application material is required beyond that which is included in the central application service. The University of Oklahoma supports only J1 visas.