For Fellowship Applicants
The doctors at University Eye Specialists, Drs. Ruderman, Rosenberg and Yang, in collaboration with Drs. Angelo Tanna and Anupama Anchala of Northwestern University, offer a one-year clinical concentration in the diagnosis and management of all forms of adult glaucoma. Our fellowship is distinguished by having several preceptors delivering patient care in both private and academic environments, thus affording our fellow exposure to various methods of managing ocular diseases and diverse surgical techniques.
One-year Clinical Fellowship
The fellow participates directly and actively in all aspects of our busy medical, laser and surgical practice. Fellows carry out a comprehensive systemic and ocular evaluation of all new and follow-up glaucoma patients referred to University Eye Specialists, Feinberg School of Medicine. Ancillary testing and recommendations for therapy are discussed in detail with the patient's attending preceptor We use current diagnostic equipment including OCT, HRT, Humphrey and Goldmann perimeters, including SWAP algorithm, Frequency Doubling Perimetry, digital stereo fundus photography and have a full complement of in-office lasers including selective laser, argon, diode and YAG lasers.
Graduating fellows from University Eye Specialists and Northwestern University have a medical and surgical experience that exceeds many other glaucoma fellowships in terms of volume and diversity of procedures, including trabeculectomy (primary/complex) and its revisions, tube shunt surgery, phacoemulsification, cyclodestruction, and newer surgical techniques such as the Express shunt and minimally invasive surgeries like the iStent. Our surgeons perform more than 700 glaucoma and cataract surgical procedures and see 30,000 outpatients per year. In addition, unlike many other glaucoma fellowships, our fellow has ample opportunity for skill advancement in cataract surgery, including laser-assisted cataract surgery and presbyopia-correcting lens implants. As busy surgeons, our fellow is often in the operating room two or three times a week.
This program is AUPO FCC compliant, and is overseen by the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern.
Weekly grand rounds are attended as well as glaucoma-specific clinical and research discussion groups, which includes quarterly meetings of the Chicago Glaucoma Society. We support fellow attendance at the Chicago Ophthalmological Society meetings, as well as the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Glaucoma Society annual meetings. Our fellow leads quarterly Journal Clubs in addition to Morbidity and Mortality sessions with the group. Opportunities to interact with other subspecialty fellows and to teach residents and medical students enhance the fellowship experience.
One fellow per year is matched to assure maximal clinical and surgical experience. Our fellowship is accredited and is in full compliance with the guidelines set forth by the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology and compliance committee. The doctors are on staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and are faculty members at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University.
We welcome you to apply for fellowship at University Eye Specialists
Over the past 25 years, we have trained more than 35 fellows who practice in over 14 states and four countries. Our graduates work in various settings of academia, private practice and government agencies. We consider our fellow a valued member of our team and we are dedicated to training exceptional physicians who will provide quality care to their patients. Moreover, we enjoy and are grateful for the many long-term relationships we’ve maintained with our graduates.
Our practice and the fellowship is concentrated in the heart of Chicago along the lakefront, simplifying commuting time and ensuring easy access to the vast cultural and entertainment aspects of a world-class city.
If you would like to learn more about the Fellowship opportunity at University Eye Specialists and the Feinberg School of Medicine, contact Kristy Heidel at 312-503-0636.
Dr. Alexander Pleet grew up in Springfield, MA and graduated magna cum laude from Brown University in Providence, RI with a BS in Neuroscience. He was elected to Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, in 2010. He then obtained his MD from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. In medical school, he spent time designing and implementing glaucoma research at the Scheie Eye Institute, for which he received the Stuart L. Fine Ophthalmology Medical Student Research Prize. Throughout his medical training he maintained an active commitment to volunteer activities, including the Sight Savers program at his medical school, which organized to expand community glaucoma screenings to underserved communities and raised awareness of glaucoma. He completed a Tufts University transitional year internship at Lemuel Shattuck Hospital in Boston, MA before coming to Chicago. During his residency in ophthalmology at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary at the University of Illinois, he served as an Illinois Resident Advocacy Ambassador and was awarded the Resident Teaching Award. In his final year of residency, he served as Chief Resident and was a member of the Residency Program Evaluation Committee.– Alexander Pleet, MD (2018-2019)
Testimonials from recent Fellows
My year as a glaucoma fellow at University Eye Specialists and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine was an important stepping stone in my career. This fellowship provided a breadth of clinical and surgical experiences and gave me the opportunity to witness glaucoma management by five different glaucoma specialists. Finishing training, I feel confident in providing comprehensive glaucoma care with a repertoire of techniques including cutting-edge minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries. The faculty will remain my lifelong role models and mentors.– Dianna Liu, MD (2017-2018)
Choosing to do a glaucoma fellowship with University Eye Specialists and Northwestern University was one of the best decisions I have made. Under the tutelage of these incredible doctors I've learned and grown. They were truly invested in providing the highest level of care to our patients as well as fostering my education. I am grateful for the year I have spent here; it has helped shape me into a better ophthalmologist, glaucoma specialist and surgeon.– Sarah Gobraiel, MD (2016-2017)
In order to be adequately prepared for the “real world” of a glaucoma subspecialist practice, it is of utmost importance to have extensive first-hand experience with the broad spectrum of clinical and surgical pathology that can affect our patient population. On the first day of my fellowship, I was examining patients with rare clinical findings that I had only read about in my residency training. Within days, I was actively involved in primary glaucoma surgeries, cataract surgeries, complex re-operation procedures, revisions, and more. Working with six attending surgeons of varied training backgrounds, I have obtained a wealth of clinical knowledge and surgical approaches that will guide the shaping my future practice. The OR/clinic balance is just right; there is plenty of OR time to hone surgical skills, and enough clinic time to manage complex patients, post-ops, etc. The attendings truly enjoy teaching and make it a priority to maximize the fellow’s education. All of this experience comes with great personalities, a welcoming work atmosphere, and the beautiful city of Chicago. This glaucoma fellowship is the perfect year to prepare for a successful career as a glaucoma subspecialist.– Casey Cahill MD (2015-2016)
San Antonio, Texas
The choice to complete my final year of training in glaucoma with University Eye Specialists and Northwestern University was the best decision I could have made. The immense amount of pathology and broad array of patients is one of the many strengths of this program. With large surgical volume and varying surgical technique, including the new MIGS procedures, I quickly grasped the art of postoperative management and decision-making. Through the mentorship of six outstanding attendings, I learned different ways of managing the same problem. A teaching tenant of “always learn how to do a surgical procedure in at least two different ways” culminated in a broad arsenal of surgical and management procedures. University Eye Specialists provides an excellent fellowship year for a motivated glaucoma fellow. I am grateful for the mentors and friendships I have made during my time here.– Noureen Khan MD (2014-2015)
Because the fellowship is shared between the academic setting at Northwestern and the private practice setting at University Eye Specialists, I got the best of both worlds. I became experienced with complex surgical cases like pars plana tube implantations, IOL exchanges, bleb revisions, and cyclodialysis cleft repair. Moreover, as a Heed fellow, I was given ample research support to publish 2 papers. I experienced some of the best teaching experiences in my life. My favorite times in clinic were when multiple attendings sat together, treating me more like a colleague than a fellow, to discuss management plans for complicated patient presentations. They also trained me well in the business aspects of practice management and gave invaluable support in my job search. In both settings, having worked with 6 attendings with large surgical and clinic volumes, I felt like a kid in a candy store, in a very nerdy kind of way. I was also impressed at the volume of cases that I participated in: over 400 glaucoma and cataract procedures, including becoming certified in LASIK and femtosecond laser cataract surgery. This was my #1 choice for fellowship, and I recommend it hands-down to anyone.– Rajen U. Desai MD (2013-2014)
New York, NY
The fellowship at University Eye Specialists and Northwestern University is indispensable for a developing glaucoma specialist. The attendings take great pride in teaching and are eager to assist in the progression of the fellow as a confident clinician and surgeon. The clinical experience is tailored to maximize and enhance education while focusing on first-rate patient care. The surgical experience is also phenomenal; the fellow learns a repertoire of surgical techniques and management strategies by working with a diverse group of practitioners. It is an ideal environment for acquiring and fostering confidence prior to a career in glaucoma.The fellow truly becomes part of the team at UES, and I am grateful to have gained fantastic mentors and friends during this year.– Adam Breunig MD (2012-2013)
The practitioners of University Eye Specialists are clinically and personally devoted to developing well-rounded, successful fellows. They carry diverse philosophies and surgical approaches – a great milieu for the formation of a robust and individualized approach to the difficult treatment decisions inherent to glaucoma. The fellowship offers many clinical challenges that are met with a patient-first ethos and team approach. A new collaboration with Northwestern University didactics and clinic further enhanced a great year. Looking forward to many continued years of mentor and friendship.–Matthew Lazzara (2011-2012)
The fellowship at University Eye Specialists provides a world class educational experience and training. All four practitioners are well accomplished ophthalmologists, and all lend a unique perspective on the medical and surgical management of glaucoma and comprehensive ophthalmology. Not only is their knowledge and surgical skill impressive, but also their open-mindedness to new ideas and opinions regarding patient care, and their willingness to attempt new surgical techniques. I feel confident leaving here as a glaucoma specialist, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time and the professional relationships and friendships I've made at University Eye Specialists.– Michael Rasansky (2010-2011)
The glaucoma fellowship at University Eye Specialists combines a clinically diverse patient population with excellent training in the medical and surgical management of glaucoma. One of the strengths of the fellowship is having the mentorship of four different glaucoma specialists whose management styles are similar yet individualized. There is active teaching by the faculty, supplemented with ongoing case discussion sessions. I feel that having undergone training under the physicians at UES has prepared me thoroughly for a fulfilling career in glaucoma and ophthalmology.– Unni Nair (2009-2010)
Fort Worth, Texas
I had a great experience doing my fellowship at UES. The physicians are very knowledgeable and I learned so much from each of them. I really enjoyed getting to know all the physicians and staff on a personal level. The fellowship training has shaped me into becoming a better ophthalmologist, glaucoma specialist, and surgeon.– Aarthi Balashanmugam (2008-2009)
The glaucoma fellowship at University Eye Specialists fully prepared me for the challenges of a career as a glaucoma specialist. My mentors are a caring and ethical group with a wide range of clinical approaches and opinions. The fellowship provides diverse glaucoma surgical experience while offering the opportunity to continue to build general ophthalmology skills. The doctors at UES serve a unique demographic, allowing me to see rare conditions and increasing my efficiency in treating routine cases. I value the relationships I developed with the doctors at UES as they continue to provide a valuable go-to resource when treating a rare condition or complication.– Johann Ohly (2007-2008)
Testimonials from past Fellows
It was during his residency at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University that Vold first became interested in the subspecialty of glaucoma. Not only was its use of technology appealing, but he also liked the complexity involved in treating patients with glaucoma–patients with whom he'd develop long-term relationships given the ongoing therapy required to manage their disease.
Vold was also enticed into the subspecialty by Lisa Rosenberg, MD, and Jon Ruderman, MD, glaucoma subspecialists who served as mentors during his residency. "Dr. Rosenberg and Dr. Ruderman really inspired me, and they encouraged me to apply for the glaucoma fellowship," Vold said. "I knew it was one of the most preeminent programs in the country–and I was really excited about the possibility of learning from the best."– Steven D. Vold, MD, (1997-1998)
San Francisco, CA
It is difficult to believe I completed my glaucoma fellowship 20 years ago! Having participated in training nearly 30 fellows at Washington University in St. Louis, I look back with gratitude for my training with three excellent clinicians, each with a progressive philosophy of patient management. I have always aspired to emulate their high standards while teaching our fellows and residents about ethics and excellent patient care. During my fellowship, I recall collaborating with Ted Krupin, a renowned clinician-scientist in the glaucoma community, performing rabbit trabeculectomies with adjunctive topical calcium channel blockers. It definitely prepared me for my current trials and tribulations of translational research. I fondly recall incredibly busy clinics with Jon Ruderman and how he kindly remembered facets of patient’s personal lives, as he established strong bonds with patients on a daily basis. This admirable trait has served me well as I also care for patients in a high volume clinic. I recall respecting Lisa Rosenberg as an “up and coming” academician working her way onto the national scene by serving on committees, presenting at national meetings, preparing manuscripts and teaching newer surgical techniques. I cherish these valuable memories and all my learning from three kind, caring and passionate physicians who always made me feel part of their team. This year of superb training positively influenced my career trajectory from assisting me in obtaining my first (and current) academic position, but also continue to follow and support my career to this day.– Carla Siegfried MD, (1994-1995)
St. Louis, Missouri
When my friend, Steve Vold, and I get together at meetings we always reminisce about our fellowship year (1997-98) with Drs. Krupin, Ruderman, and Rosenberg as "one of the best years of our lives' — no kidding. It truly was a great year! We were fresh out of residency, eager and anxious to learn as much about glaucoma as possible in the next twelve months. I had chosen this fellowship for its reputation of great teaching and surgical volume, and I was not disappointed. During that year I gained first hand experience in performing and managing trabeculectomies while maintaining my phaco skills. As fellows we also had opportunities of teaching and assisting in resident cases, something which I enjoyed and continue to do till this day. Although my Oakland practice consists largely of patients referred specifically for glaucoma surgery, I perform a fair amount of cataract surgery in my San Francisco practice. Being able to perform cataract surgery during my fellowship was valuable in keeping my skills sharp as I entered private practice. Having three different teachers taught me that there are often different approaches to clinical problems and that flexibility and creativity are essential in a busy practice with a diverse patient population. My fellowship preceptors demonstrated a strong commitment to teaching fellows and residents. This in turn instilled in me a desire to teach and pass on clinical and surgical knowledge to future clinicians. I currently serve as a Clinical Instructor at my institution and have received the Resident Teaching Award three times. I also serve as an Associate Examiner for the American Board of Ophthalmology.– George Tanaka MD, (1997-1998)
San Francisco, California
University Eye Specialists is a very unique and special place to complete a fellowship training. I am nearly 10 years out in private practice and work closely with residents in a university setting- both in the clinic and the OR. As such, I can now look back at my fellowship year in a more broad perspective. I have come to appreciate what it takes to make a solid training experience. To create an excellent glaucoma fellowship training program, you need intelligent clinician teachers who are surgically strong and willing to move forward with technology in medicine. But you also need a patient population that provides you with complicated case scenarios and diverse presentations. Being a top-notch glaucoma referral center for Chicago and the overall Midwest region, the fellow here is exposed not only to bread and butter glaucoma, but also some of the toughest cases out there. The fellow is given appropriate autonomy while being backed up by some the brightest and most well respected minds in the glaucoma community each with their own perspective and approach, providing a multifaceted experience. The University Eye Specialists fellowship combines caring and ethical mentors with a practice setting to provide an amazing educational experience during this formative training year. The fellow here walks away feeling well trained, confidant, and making lifelong friends amongst their mentors.– Nina Goyal MD, (2006-2007)