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Faculty members from all subspecialties within ophthalmology participate in resident training. Specialty clinics in the following areas provide concentrated areas of study:

  • Corneal disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Neuro-ophthalmology
  • Retina and vitreous diseases
  • Uveitis and ocular inflammatory diseases
  • Pediatrics and strabismus
  • Oculoplastic surgery
  • Contact lenses
  • Low vision rehabilitation

In total, the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences operates 7 outpatient clinic locations that service more than 58,000 outpatient visits per year. In addition to attending clinics, residents rotate through the following hospital clinics, all located within a five-block radius:

First Year (PGY-1)

The first year of ophthalmology residency has been integrated into the curriculum since academic year 2022-2023. During this year the residents will rotate through multiple specialties across the UAB system including Neurology, Neuro-Radiology, Dermatology, UAB ER, Children's ER, Anesthesia, Rheumatology, and Internal Medicine. The curriculum has been curated to aid our residents in learning relevant topics as well as building connections early in residency throughout the UAB system.

In addition, the first-year residents spend 3 months in Ophthalmology starting in July, one month throughout the year, and ending in June. This enables our residents to attend our orientation lectures, stay connected with ophthalmology throughout the year, and obtain a head start to the second year by integrating back to ophthalmology in June.

Second Year (PGY-2)

Training is focused on learning the basics of the eye examination and the diagnosis and treatment of common eye diseases (including medical and laser treatments). Exposure to subspecialty eye care is provided through regular rounds at each of the teaching clinics as well as didactics. As skills and knowledge increase over the course of the year, progressively more autonomy and responsibility is provided.

Five 10-week rotations, all based in the UAB Callahan Eye Hospital, are divided between the Veterans Affairs Eye Clinic (two rotations) and the Lions Eye Clinic (three rotations). Full-time attending staff and third-year residents are present in each clinic. During the day, a first-year resident on the Lions Eye Clinic rotation covers the Callahan Eye Hospital emergency room (with appropriate backup and supervision).

Primary call is in house for second-year residents. Residents cover the Callahan Eye Hospital emergency room and provide consultation services to all UAB affiliated institutions, including the emergency rooms of UAB Hospital (the only Level 1 Trauma Center in the state), Children's Hospital, Cooper Green Mercy Health Services, VA Hospital, and UAB Highlands Medical Center. The resident on call also covers inpatient consultation services at those locations. Call averages to every fifth night. Residents create the call schedule with the assistance of the chief resident.

A major advantage of the UAB system is the close proximity of all facilities to the Callahan Eye Hospital. All except UAB Highlands are located within a contiguous medical campus within a five-block radius. UAB Highlands is located less than one mile from the UAB campus.

Third Year (PGY-3)

The third year of residency is composed of ten 5-week rotations through all ophthalmic subspecialties and an optional elective time which includes the opportunity for an international rotation. Subspecialty rotations include exposure to cornea, retina, glaucoma, oculoplastics, pediatrics, uveitis, low vision, neuro-ophthalmology and the University Consult Service.

Third-year residents take backup call at home, coming in as needed for complex cases, certain surgical decisions, and if the workload demands additional help for the first-year resident. (Except for during the first month of the academic year when second-year residents take call in house with the new first-year residents for training purposes.)

All third-year residents attend the Wills Eye Annual Ophthalmology Review Course in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during the second half of the academic year. Third-year residents are introduced to cataract surgery in preparation for their fourth year.

Fourth Year (PGY-4)

The Fourth year of residency is also divided into ten 5-week rotations—four at Cooper Green Mercy Health Services, four at the VA Hospital, and two at the Lions Eye Clinic.

Surgical experience is primarily gained during this year. The resident serves as primary surgeon for patients from the various clinics with attending staffing from the faculty and community.

Fourth-year call is in backup to the first- and second-year call and consists primarily of surgical responsibilities.
Fourth year residents attend the Alcon Course in Fort Worth, Texas.

Conferences and Meetings

Grand rounds, imaging conference, neuro-ophthalmology conference, and chairman’s rounds are held monthly. Specialty rounds are held regularly at all resident clinics. Didactic sessions are presented three mornings each week. An annual clinical and research symposium is held each spring as a forum for residents to present their research project findings. Residents attend the American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting once during either the second or third year of training. Additional meeting attendance is based on research presentation acceptance, which is encouraged.


UAB Ophthalmology is an active research department with programs in basic and clinical sciences. Residents are required to participate in research during their training. All research faculty are available to residents for mentorship and research project guidance.

Contact Us

For inquiries about residency training in the UAB Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences please contact our office.

Russell W. Read, MD, PhD
Director of Residency Program
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
University of Alabama at Birmingham
700 South 18th Street, Suite 601
Birmingham, Alabama 35294-0009

Krupa Patel, MD
Associate Director of Residency Program
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
University of Alabama at Birmingham
700 South 18th Street
Birmingham, Alabama 35294-0009

Jordan Cook, M.Ed
Education Coordinator
(205) 325-8507