Resident Surgical Practice Patterns for Vitreoretinal Surgery in Ophthalmic Training Programs in the United States

Vinay A. Shah, Arun K. Reddy, Aaron J. Bonham, Nelson R. Sabates, Andrew G. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Purpose: To assess resident surgical experience in vitreoretinal surgery (VRS) in the United States. Design: Anonymous electronic survey over 2 consecutive years. Participants: A total of 287 third-year ophthalmology residents from US residency programs were included. Methods: To determine the type and amount of surgical experience in VRS. Residents were contacted via e-mail to complete the survey. A series of follow-up e-mails were sent to nonresponders. E-mail correspondence was sent to program directors of the US residency programs to encourage survey participation. An electronic survey instrument (Survey Monkey) was used to distribute the survey and collect the results. Participants were asked about vitrectomy and scleral buckle procedures as primary surgeon and about office procedures (e.g., intravitreal injections and retinal laser procedures). Questions regarding the self-described "comfort" level of the resident and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) vitreoretinal requirements for ophthalmology were also included. Main Outcome Measures: Vitreoretinal office and surgical procedures. Results: Of the 114 ophthalmology residency programs in the United States, 3 programs declined to participate and 103 of 228 programs (114 programs per year) did not respond to requests during a 2-year period. Of the 287 total respondents, approximately 59.1% had performed vitrectomy and 40.8% had performed a scleral buckle as the primary surgeon. In the survey of office procedures, 96.7% had performed intravitreal injections, 94.8% had performed macular laser therapy, and 99.6% had performed panretinal photocoagulation. In the self-reported resident "comfort" level section, 59% were "fairly comfortable" knowing the theoretic steps for VRS and 55.4% were "fairly satisfied" with VRS training. However, 72% of respondents were unaware of the correct ACGME minimum operative numbers for VRS. Conclusions: This self-reported electronic survey of third-year residents suggested that VRS experience at ACGME-accredited programs as primary surgeon was suboptimal for surgeries. A modest majority of residents reported comfort and satisfaction with VRS training for surgery, but a majority was satisfied and had adequate experience with office procedures such as intravitreal injection and laser treatment. Unfortunately, the majority of residents were unaware of the actual numeric ACGME VRS requirements for ophthalmology residency programs. Financial Disclosure(s): The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)783-789
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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