Pediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus Fellowship 

The 12-month Storm Eye Institute fellowship in pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus is designed to ensure that participants develop the knowledge base, diagnostic reasoning, and clinical and surgical skills necessary to provide quality, ethical, ophthalmic eye care to children and adults with strabismus. Upon completion of the fellowship, the graduate should have the knowledge foundation, diagnostic and therapeutic skills, and clinical perspective to manage common and complex pediatric ophthalmic conditions as well as adult strabismus. These skills will be taught in a manner that is consistent with the latest medical evidence and in a way that will encourage lifetime inquiry and learning.

The pediatric ophthalmology fellowship consists of a 12-month experience after completion of an accredited ophthalmology residency. Fellows should be board-eligible or board-certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and must be qualified to obtain a South Carolina license to practice medicine and surgery.

Fellows are credentialed at MUSC as members of the College of Medicine faculty within the rank of clinical instructor. Each fellow will receive medical liability coverage. Fellows can bill for services as an attending physician, including on-call cases, Children’s Hospital inpatient consults, and Emergency Department referrals. Fellows are expected to take general ophthalmology attending calls. The Department of Ophthalmology at MUSC supplements the salary of pediatric ophthalmology fellows above and beyond those funds available from clinical collections of the fellow’s billing activity. The salary is approximately $50,000/year and will be set by the department chair each year prior to the fellowship match.

Much of the training year will be spent working with the side-by-side supervision of one of the pediatric ophthalmology faculty mentors. Fellow clinics provide an opportunity for increased autonomy, but in every case, a mentor is assigned to be readily available and easy to reach. You will be given a weekly schedule of clinics, operating room assignments, and educational activities. There is a “fellow #1” and a “fellow #2” schedule. These schedules are alternated every three months. There is enough flexibility to allow both fellows to be present when very unusual conditions are seen or when rare procedures are performed.

The fundamentals of the pediatric examination will be highlighted at the beginning of the fellowship. The fellow should develop proficiency in establishing rapport with patients and parents, estimating visual acuity in preverbal children, identifying fixation preference, the ocular motility examination, sensory testing, and retinoscopy. As the fellowship progresses, examination techniques and clinical decision-making will be developed from baseline competence to subspecialist expertise.

The fellow will be taught a variety of techniques for strabismus surgery and other pediatric ophthalmic procedures in the OR and will be expected to progress quickly toward mastery of these techniques. The mastery of surgical skills must also be combined with progressively more insightful pre-, intra-, and post-operative decision-making.

After training is complete, fellowship graduates often incorporate aspects of each technique or approach they have been taught into their own personalized preferred approach. It will be emphasized that surgical procedures and indications evolve over time and that each of us must strive to be a lifelong learner, not just of new knowledge but of surgical technique as well. The end of the fellowship does not mean the end of the learning process. 

Residents, fellows, and attendings at the MUSC Storm Eye Institute have a unique opportunity to learn ophthalmic surgical techniques while bringing eye care to underserved international communities. Twice a year, a team from Storm Eye travels to Belize to perform surgeries in a learning environment. The International Rotation Elective was created in 2016 to provide care to those in need in other countries. This international opportunity is instrumental in the education of residents and fellows. At the completion of their training they will become leaders in medicine and in our ‘global village.’