The program offers an eight-week period of protected time for electives. This time can be spent pursuing subspecialty interests, completing rural ophthalmology rotations, or partaking in international ophthalmology opportunities including but not limited to Orbis, India, Iqaluit and the Eye Van.
The program has a long-standing mutually supportive relationship with the Srikiran Eye Institute (SEI) in Kakinada, India. Each year, fifth year residents have the opportunity to do an elective in the SEI. It offers residents a valuable opportunity to practice ophthalmology in a dramatically different clinical setting. In addition to comprehensive ophthalmology, SEI provides subspeciality services including pediatrics and strabismus, oculoplastics, cornea/anterior segment and retina/uveitis. Residents can tailor their experience based on individual interests and will see many things that you only read about in textbooks. A highlight of this elective is to learn to perform small incision cataract surgery through graded responsibility and mentorship from expert attendings.
Residents have the opportunity to practice ophthalmology in Northern Ontario on the CNIB mobile Eye Van. The Eye Van is a mobile clinic equipped with facilities to perform complete ophthalmic examinations and perform minor surgical procedures such as YAG, SLT and retinal laser procedures. It travels to roughly 30 underserved communities in which the population is too small to support a local eye clinic. Residents will travel with a staff physician across multiple communities and see diverse and often more advanced eye conditions. Residents gain valuable experience in providing care in resource-limited settings, which is different from the majority of their training done in tertiary care centers.
The Baffin Island Elective rotation allows residents to provide service to Iqaluit and the surrounding communities that are included in the University of Ottawa’s large catchment area. The PGY-4 residents have the opportunity to visit Iqaluit for a week to provide eye care to everyone from children to the elderly. Many patients fly in from surrounding communities for their appointments, and are very appreciative of the care that they receive. A typical week for the residents consists of clinic, one day of OR, minor procedures and plenty of lasers!