Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
Associate Professor and Acting Chair
Ramzi K. Hemady, MD
Undergraduate Medical Program
The eye is an extension of the brain, and includes both CNS and peripheral structural elements. Ophthalmology is the study of how all of these elements interact optimally to provide high quality visual information, and their diseases. Diseases affecting other body systems also result in ocular changes, and the eye can be used to evaluate such diverse problems as diabetes, hypertension, connective tissue diseases, and tumors. Thus, familiarization with the basics of the eye exam are essential for all physicians
Ophthalmology is integrated into the medical school curriculum throughout the four-year period. Introductory lectures in ophthalmology are given in the first year as part of the neurobiology core curriculum. Second-year medical students are introduced to clinical ophthalmologic techniques and common ophthalmologic diseases during the physical diagnosis and pharmacology courses. During their medical clerkships, third-year students participate in both inpatient and outpatient examinations with ophthalmology staff.
Clinical and research electives are available during the senior year. For the clinical clerkship, time is divided between the outpatient clinic and the operating room. Patients with a wide range of diseases are seen together with faculty who have subspecialty interests. Conferences and grand rounds are included in the program. Self-instructional aids are available.
Students are also encouraged to become involved in the Student Sight Savers Program, a community outreach effort that involves students in glaucoma screening activities. This program is run by students and supervised by members of the Department.
A variety of clinical trials funded by NIH and industry are ongoing in the department. Infant vision, retinopathy of prematurity, ischemic optic neuropathy and glaucoma trials are currently in progress.
Basic science research efforts include ocular changes from diabetes mellitus, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and cataract prevention. Projects include biochemical effects of aldose reductase and its specific inhibitors on development and prevention of cataract formation. Also, projects related to corneal biochemistry as well as age-related macular degeneration, ischemic optic neuropathy form a major part of the research program. Elective study opportunities exist for students to participate in these ophthalmic research projects. This typically runs in one month blocks, but shorter or longer sessions can be arranged.
Postdoctoral fellowships in ophthalmic biochemistry are also available.
A three-year residency program providing clinical training is offered with rotations at the University of Maryland Medical Center and the Baltimore and Wilmington, Delaware, VA Medical Centers. Interested candidates can apply to the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Since ophthalmology is an “early match,” interested students are encouraged to complete the ophthalmology elective no later than the beginning of the fall of their fourth year. Applications for ophthalmology are usually due in early September. Residents are expected to conduct a research project and write a paper, in collaboration with a faculty member, which is due by the end of their third year. The department also conducts graduate studies in ocular biochemistry, genetics and neurobiology in collaboration with the Graduate School.