The Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary (IEEI) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) has a long history of international collaborations and training. We have a large volume of patients with medical and surgical vitreoretinal diseases and have a particularly large volume of complex retinal detachments from severe diabetic retinopathy, trauma, and proliferative vitreoretinopathy that require advanced surgical techniques.
International observers and fellows can spend between 1 month to 1 year or more with our service and will have the opportunity to be exposed to a comprehensive retina experience, as they will rotate with experts in ocular oncology, pediatric retina, clinical trials, uveitis, and retinal degenerations. Our faculty on the retina service include Dr. Jennifer I. Lim (Director, Retina Service), Dr. William F. Mieler (Director, Vitreoretinal Fellowship and Vice Chair for Education), Dr. Norman Blair, Dr. R.V. Paul Chan (Co-Director, Vitreoretinal Fellowship and Director, Pediatric Retina and ROP Service), Dr. Felix Y. Chau, Dr. Yannek I. Leiderman, and Dr. Lawrence J. Ulanski. The uveitis service is led by Dr. Pooja Bhat and Dr. Ann-Marie Lobo.
In order to hone their surgical skills, the international observers and fellows will have access to the Cless Family Ophthalmology Training and Simulation Center. The department recently finished construction on a state-of-the-art surgical simulation laboratory in the eye center, featuring 10 fully equipped practice stations with Zeiss operating microscopes and phaco/vitrectomy machines for practicing cataract and retinal surgery. There are video recording and editing capabilities to help improve surgical skills. An EyeSi simulator is also available for practicing vitrectomy surgery.
The retina service is actively involved in a number of major clinical trials and our faculty have numerous national/international research collaborations. Observers and fellows will have full access to the Lions of Illinois Eye Research Institute (LIERI), which is the main location for the basic science laboratories of the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences. LIERI has state of the art facilities for research in cell and molecular biology, chemistry and biochemistry, electrophysiology, immunology, microbiology, nanotechnology, neuroscience, pharmacology, genomics, physics, physiology and psychophysics. Researchers at the IEEI also have strong collaborations with the Graduate School of Engineering at the University of Illinois, which is among the leading engineering departments in the country. Vision research at the Illinois Eye & Ear Infirmary is supported by many sponsored programs, including a Core Grant for Vision Research and a Clinician Scientist Training Grant both from the National Eye Institute. IEEI ranks in the top 5 Ophthalmology departments for NIH funding.
If International observers and fellows choose to focus their efforts on specific areas in vitreoretinal disease and research (e.g. pediatric retina and ROP, clinical trials, ocular oncology, telemedicine) we will accommodate their schedules to do so.