Special characteristics of the program

The Geisinger Ophthalmology Department is made up entirely of full-time faculty with their offices and practices in the eye clinic. Perhaps most significant is the opportunity for the residents to follow their own patients during their entire residency and provide continuity of care. This provides the resident with the opportunity to develop a significant relationship with the patient and to observe the natural progression of diseases such as diabetes. Attending staff participates in clinical research, including national trials, resulting in involvement in the herpetic eye disease study and anterior ischemic optic neuropathy trials.

Finally, we believe residents optimally develop their surgical skills when permitted sufficient time, experience and supervision. Residents halfway through their first year begin performing cataract surgery as the primary surgeon, allowing sufficient time and experience to develop these important skills. All surgical cases are completed under the direct supervision of our full-time faculty. There are no fellows in the Department of Ophthalmology, which protects the primary or the resident and their education. The combination of time to develop skills, a rich, varied and extensive surgical experience, and teaching exclusively by experienced, fellowship-trained sub specialists, results in extraordinarily well-trained surgeons.

Charitable work
Residents in the Department of Ophthalmology are encouraged to participate in community service through organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and through their local religious organizations. The Department of Ophthalmology has more specifically involved the residents in these activities through a program called Mission Cataract. This program, started in California in the early 1990s, provides free screening and free cataract surgery to those patients who have no insurance and no ability to pay for their surgical care. This consists of a free screening clinic day followed by an operating day two weeks later.

Last year, 20 patients received this free gift of sight. It is the hope of the Department of Ophthalmology that involvement in such a program will not only provide the resident perspective on the ethics of medical care and the need to care for all patients regardless of their ability to pay but will also give the residents insight into the larger health system and those currently underserved.