Vision science research at center of Jules Stein

July 1, 2010

Since its earliest days, the Jules Stein Eye Institute at the University of California-Los Angeles has been known as a center for vision science research, with the goal of preserving and restoring eyesight.

Los Angeles-Since its earliest days, the Jules Stein Eye Institute (JSEI) at the University of California–Los Angeles (UCLA) has been known as a center for vision science research, with the goal of preserving and restoring eyesight.

The result is a unique blend of compassionate patient care, innovative resident education, and profound research opportunities for motivated scientists.

Residents do clinical rotations at the UCLA Medical Center, plus two county hospitals and two Veteran's Administration (VA) hospitals-all told, an area about 60 miles at its widest points.

"At our county hospitals, we get a lot of acute ophthalmological problems, including trauma, whereas at the VA we get more chronic conditions: glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts," Dr. Mondino said. "Plus, at UCLA itself, we get rare esoteric cases from all over the world. When you put it together, you get a broad cross section of cases. There's nothing they don't do."

Surgical training begins in the fall of the residents' first year, embracing an educational trend that has pushed that frontier earlier than before. At JSEI, first-year residents get a lot of didactic and wet lab experience, and attend a phacoemulsification course. In their second year, they begin picking up their own cases, and in their third year they receive "massive exposure" to surgery, Dr. Mondino said.

The training is augmented by a surgical simulator, acquired last year, which allows residents to practice virtual surgery.

"You sit down and, with your hands, you do the simulated surgery," he said. "It gives you the feeling and shows you what you're doing so you can practice phacoemulsification."