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Clinical Ophthalmology Elective for Visiting Medical Students

On the Fence About Visiting Us?

Application Process

  • Electives are offered to students through the Visiting Students Learning Opportunities (VLSO) with applications accepted in the Spring.
  • In order to be given EMR access, elective dates need to conform to the SUNY Upstate calendar for four-week electives.
  • Please visit the Visiting Students Page of the SUNY Upstate Registrar for additional Institutional requirements for students selected for a rotation.
  • All visiting students should register for OPTH4001

Visiting Medical Student Resources

Click here for advice on housing and parking while visiting SUNY Upstate.

Scholarship for Medical Students Underrepresented in Medicine (URiM)

Our Department is committed to increasing URiM enrollment in Ophthalmology. We have created two annual $1500 scholarships to facilitate electives at SUNY Upstate Medical University. Applicants who identify as a member of a group that is underrepresented in medicine, as defined by the AAMC, are welcome to apply. In addition to the standard VLSO application, please contact our Coordinator Rachel Kammer at [email protected] for the brief supplemental application.

OPTH4001 Elective Description

4 Credits
Primary Instructor: Robert Fechtner, MD
Training will be centered at the Center for Vision Care.  This is located at 550 Harrison Center, Suite L, Syracuse, NY 13202.

Prerequisites: Prefer completion of surgical and medical rotations
Maximum Number of Students: 2 
Periods offered: 1-12

Weekly Activities: Lectures and conferences, daily clinics, inpatient and outpatient consults, and limited OR experience.

In this course, the student should acquire an understanding of the eye, its function, its abnormalities and diseases, and its relation to the body as a whole. Students are taught history taking skills and examination techniques. They are taught to intelligently approach a patient with eye problems, ask the proper questions to obtain a valuable history, and examine a patient to accurately identify pathology if it exists. 

The main focus of the elective is to gain basic examination skills, be able to recognize the more serious problems that threaten vision and require treatment, and to have a basic understanding of therapy, thus most of the elective time is spent in the eye clinic examining patients. As students develop a working knowledge of the slit lamp and indirect ophthalmoscope, they will become familiar with eye changes in both local and systemic disease. Students will also attend surgery and learn about surgical techniques as part of the curriculum. Students will round with the inpatient residents and attendings on patients admitted to the hospital. If interested, students have the opportunity to see consults with the residents to get exposure to the management of acute ophthalmic issues. Students can then present patients at Monday morning conference to practice presentation skills and demonstrate their understanding of ophthalmic pathology. They are also encouraged to participate in case presentations and literature reviews, attend morning lectures, conferences, grand rounds, journal clubs, and special programs on the Departmental schedule. 

Ample resources are available on the Departmental Moodle app to provide a background for clinical exposure and patient care. A 30-minute presentation by students taking the elective for at least 4 credits is part of the Course curriculum.  No attempt is made to teach students to refract in the short time allowed.

International Students and Students From Non-LCME-Accredited Medical Schools

Please contact the Office of the Registrar for information [email protected].

Additional Questions

Please contact our fantastic Medical Student and Resident Coordinator, Rachel Kammer, at [email protected]