International Vitreo-retinal Fellowship Program

International Vitreo-retinal Fellowship Program

At Kentucky Lions Eye Center, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Louisville

Description of the Program:
The Retina faculty in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Louisville have been training vitreo-retinal fellows since 2002. Several US and international graduates have been selected through the San Francisco match program and successfully completed their training at the Kentucky Lions Eye Center. The need of fellowship trained vitreoretinal surgeons outside the US has given birth to the creation of an additional slot reserved for foreign medical graduates. The aim of the “International Vitreo-retinal Fellowship” program is to train promising young foreign medical graduates in the field of vitreo-retinal surgery with the goal of enhancing both intellectual and technical exchanges for the benefit of patients abroad. This program should not be seen as a simple skill transfer but as an effort to promote academic excellence in remote parts of the world through which novel ideas and a network of cooperative associations can be constructed.

The goal of the International Retina Fellowship program is to provide an advanced level of training in the diagnosis and management of vitreo-retinal diseases. International fellows will learn the diagnosis and management of vitreo-retinal diseases by initial evaluation and long term follow-up of patients in our clinics. They will assist and perform surgery under the guidance of the retina faculty. They are expected to engage in scholarly activities, such as reading, discussing and contributing to subspecialty journals and texts, as well as leading, organizing and lecturing in national and international conferences. International fellows will be required to follow the principles of ethical and humane treatment of patients in accordance with the Code of Ethics of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Declaration of Helsinki Standards, and the ARVO statement for the use of Animals in Ophthalmic and Vision Research.


All candidates must:

  1. Graduate from a foreign medical school listed in the International Medical Education Directory and be ophthalmology board eligible in their home country
  2. Pass USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 (clinical knowledge and clinical skills)
  3. Meet the requirements for a Fellowship Training Limited License in the Commonwealth of Kentucky as outlined in KRS 311.571(5).
  4. Be committed to a future academic career in their home country
  5. Although part of the salary of the international fellow will be supplied by the Kentucky Lions Eye Center Retina faculty, applicants must have supplemental funds through scholarships, grants or their own institutes and governments to support the rest of their salary. Please contact the fellowship coordinator to learn the details of the financial requirements.

Selection Process:

Availability of the fellowship position is advertised by direct e-mails to chairs of ophthalmology departments abroad. Applicants are requested to send their CV along with three reference letters. Considering the travel costs and possible financial restrictions of the fellows, interviews are conducted either during their attendance at professional/scientific meetings or via teleconferencing through the internet. Although no test is required for documenting proficiency in English, the candidate’s communication skills will be evaluated during the interview. Evaluations are done by the Retina faculty of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Drs. Henry J. Kaplan, Charles C. Barr, Harpal Sandhu, Douglas Sigford, and Wei Wang in a masked fashion. Academic background, publishing record, professional goals and benefit of training to the candidate’s community will be elemental in deciding the ranking of the candidate. The candidates will be ranked by each of faculty and a final list created, with the first ranked candidate being offered the position.


Performance of the trainees is assessed in accordance with AUPO criteria. Basically, the international fellow receives a semiannual evaluation summarizing his performance and evaluation from each Retina faculty member. Each fellow has open access to the evaluation report. These evaluations include a review of their teaching abilities, commitment to the educational program, clinical knowledge, and scholarly activities. Annual written evaluations by fellows must be included in this process. This record also contains a plan that addresses the weaknesses noted in the assessment in order to achieve improvement in performance. The program director provides a final evaluation of the international fellow at the conclusion of the program. The evaluation includes a review of the fellow’s performance during the final period of education and verifies that the fellow has demonstrated sufficient professional ability to practice competently and independently.

Contact Info:

Fellowship Manager
Erin Moody
301 East Muhammad Ali Boulevard, Louisville, KY 40202
Phone: (502) 852-0710
Fax: (502) 852-7349

Fellowship Director
Charles C. Barr, M.D.