Ocular Oncology Fellowship

The Ocular Oncology Service of Wills Eye Hospital is a specialty branch of the division of Ophthalmology dealing exclusively with the diagnosis and management of intraocular, periocular malignant and benign tumors and simulating lesions.  Patients evaluated and managed in the Oncology Service are referred through an extensive network in the United States and abroad, with over 30,000 new patients with ophthalmic tumors having been evaluated by the Oncology Service during the past 20 years.  Principal fields of expertise are in the diagnosis and management of intraocular tumors, malignant melanomas, metastatic carcinomas to the eye and orbit, retinoblastoma, and orbital tumors, lid and adnexal tumors.

The Oncology Service at Wills Eye Hospital offers clinical (2 years) and research (1 year) opportunities in Ocular Oncology fellowship training. The fellowship is under the direction of Dr. Jerry Shields, Dr. Carol Shields, Dr. Arman Mashayekhi and Dr. Sara Lally. 

Clinical fellowship

  • This is 2 years of ocular oncology fellowship training.
  • Prerequisites for the clinical fellowship include
    • at least three years of residency in ophthalmology,
    • if American:
      • PA medical license
      • DEA
    • if from other country
      • USMLE 1,2 &3
      • ECFMG certificate
      • H-Visa
    • Year 1 of clinical fellowship training (PGY-5 level Oncology Clinical fellow) is responsible for:
      • clinical care of ocular oncology patients.  This includes the diagnosis and treatment for patients with conjunctival, intraocular, ocular, adnexal and orbital tumors.
      • assisting in in-office procedures such as intravitreal injections, minor eyelid procedures and cryotherapy.
      • assisting in operating room procedures with staff.
      • clinical research projects for publication in major ophthalmology journals.
      • participation in medical meetings.
    • Year 2 of clinical fellowship training (PGY-6 level Oncology Clinical fellow) is responsible for:
      • Similar clinical and operating duties as PGY-5 but will more direct hands-on experience.
      • Clinical research projects for publication.

Research post-residency fellowship

  • This is 1 or 2 years of ocular oncology fellowship training.
  • Prerequisites for the research fellowship include:
    • at least three years of residency in ophthalmology,
    • if American:
      • completed residency
      • interest in ocular oncology
    • if from other country
      • completed residency in country
      • J1 Visa
      • Interest in ocular oncology
  • Duties of the research fellow include:
    • conducting clinical research projects with compilation of data in a relatively independent fashion
    • publication of research.
    • assistance with related ocular oncology education
    • presentation of research at meetings

Research pre-residency internship

  • This is 1 or 2 years of ocular oncology internship training before ophthalmology residency.
  • Prerequisites:
    • Medical student
    • if American:
      • currently enrolled or graduated from medical school/1 year break
    • if from other country
      • same as American student
  • Duties of the research fellow include:
    • conducting clinical research projects with compilation of data in a relatively independent fashion
    • publication of research.
    • assistance with related ocular oncology education
    • presentation of research at meetings

Although Ocular Oncology is a comparatively small subspecialty, it has profound implications for patients with benign and malignant tumors of the eye.  Many other subspecialists, in fields of retina, oculoplastics, cornea, neuro-ophthalmology, and pediatric ophthalmology refer their patients with eye tumors to ocular oncologists.  Ocular oncologists provide care for patients with tumors of the eyelid, conjunctiva, intraocular structures and orbit.

The goal of the fellowship program is to train physicians from the USA and abroad to be experts in the care of patients with eye cancers.  Upon completion of their fellowship, they generally return to their area of the USA or their home country where they provide specialized care for children and adults with eye cancer. The availability of such a program often has profound implications for saving both the life and the vision of the affected patients.

Ocular oncology is a widely recognized and well-established subspecialty of Ophthalmology.  The International Society of Ocular Oncology (ISOO) has had numerous meetings in which over 400 physicians from many countries share ideas in order to improve research efforts and patient care.  In addition, Ocular Oncologists make many important contributions to conferences of the other subspecialties.

The Ocular Oncology Service at Wills Eye Hospital of Thomas Jefferson University has been in existence since 1974 and has received 1-2 year fellows from the USA, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Philippines, Australia, Taiwan, China, Spain, Ireland, Turkey, Greece, Iran, India and Egypt. The great majority of these trainees have returned to their home countries to pursue care of patients with eye cancer. I hope that you can realize the profound importance of such a program. Other ocular oncology centers in the USA have also trained many qualified individuals from our country and abroad. We do not have the funds to individually support fellows but most fellows obtain grants from their supporting institution or country for this training period.

Ocular oncology is an exciting field of ophthalmology and we are proud to maintain one of the largest and busiest eye cancer centers in the world.  We are honored to have the opportunity to train qualified fellows in this subspecialty.

Jerry A. Shields, M.D.
Director, Oncology Service

Carol L. Shields, M.D.
Co-Director, Oncology Service

Download our  fellowship application here.
Fellowship Coordinator: Sandra Dailey
sandradailey@shieldsoncology.com
215-928-3129