• Cody Lo

Event Summary: Western University Ophthalmology Virtual Town Hall

St. Joseph’s Health Care London, the primary site for Western Ophthalmology

Source: St. Joseph’s Health Care London

Western University’s Ophthalmology program held their first of two Virtual Open Houses on January 6th. This event was hosted by Drs. Yiannis Iordanous (Program Director), Stephanie Cote (PGY-4), Heather McDonald (PGY-3), and Gaya Sivakumar (PGY-1). There was a prepared presentation about the program followed by a breakout room where a small group of attendees were paired up with a resident. This allowed for informal discussions about the program, life in London, and CaRMS applications. Here are some takeaways from the presentation:

  • In Year 1 you are mostly doing “off service” rotations but residents felt all the specialities were relevant to ophthalmology. There is only call on 1-2 rotations so overall residents feel the workload was very manageable as you adjust to residency.

  • In Year 2, you are sharing day call with your co-resident. However there are many ways that the PGY-2’s are supported during this year such as: always having senior back up in July/August, you don’t take night call until Sept, and the evening residents helps you finish up clinic if you’re running behind.

  • In Years 3 and 4, you spend 2 months at a time in each of the main subspecialty clinics each year. The residents cited this as a nice progression to build your knowledge base in a particular area. The majority of your surgical training is also done during these years.

  • Western recently made changes to their call schedule which they cited as a recent large improvement to the program! This includes a graded schedule where more senior residents take progressively less call and the PGY2s have more senior support in the early portion of their training.

  • There is also flexibility in when residents do their elective time, particularly if residents want to do a particular fellowship. Many of Western’s residents go onto do fellowships.

  • Residents also receive full funding to attend many courses throughout residency such as TORIC, Lancaster, the Stanford course and more.

  • Overall residents felt they received very good surgical exposure as there are high volumes, a favourable consultant to resident ratio (21:8), the program actually has a sizable catchment despite being in a smaller city, and there are no fellows.

  • Residents said that London is a very nice city to live in as you often have a short commute, there are nice restaurants with patios in the summer, and lots of accessible nature close by.

Check out Western Ophthalmology on Instagram @westernophtho! You can also email the program at westernophtho@gmail.com

Cody Lo is a 4th year medical student from UBC and is the Director of External Affairs for the Canadian Ophthalmology Student Interest Group.