Ocular pathology is a component of countless systemic diseases, yet many medical schools lack clinical education and opportunities in ophthalmology. The aim of this course is to provide a practical understanding of the evaluation and treatment of ocular disorders for physicians of any specialty. The experience you gain in evaluation of eye diseases will be of use to you regardless of what field of medicine you eventually practice. Particular benefit may be gained by those going into certain specialties (as outlined below).
Ophthalmology: Any students interested in ophthalmology residency are strongly encouraged to discuss this with the residents and the program director. Ophthalmology is very different from the rest of medicine, and so is the match process. We offer guidance. You will see a myriad of pathology during your time in the clinic. It is also recommended that you see call patients with the residents to get a better idea of ophthalmology call and to see a broader range of acute pathology including trauma.
Internal Medicine: Ocular findings are noted in many general conditions from diabetes, to headaches, to hypertension. All older patients will eventually develop cataracts. A basic understanding of cataract pathology and surgery is essential for the internist. You will also see a great deal of diabetic retinopathy in the clinic. Familiarity with the stages, pathogenesis, and treatment of diabetic eye disease will also be expected.
Pediatrics: We are affiliated with the Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughters (CHKD), covering their ER, carrying out floor consultations, and performing surgeries. A pediatrician should be comfortable with diagnosing strabismus, congenital cataract, pre- and post-septal cellulitis, and other potentially vision threatening and life threatening pathology in children. If you desire, you can join the residents and Dr. Crouch, one of our pediatric ophthalmologists, in the CHKD OR on Wednesdays.
Emergency Medicine: Sentara Norfolk General Hospital (SNGH) is a Level I Trauma Center and we see a good deal of ocular trauma. In addition, the ER refers many cases of less acute pathology such as corneal abrasions, infections, iritis, etc. It is essential for an ER physician to be able to quickly and accurately diagnose ocular issues that can threaten a patient’s sight or even life. Many ER patients will be seen in our clinic as follow-up. Students interested in emergency medicine are encouraged to see some call patients with the residents to gain experience in evaluating acute ophthalmic issues.