Fellowship Training

Fellowship Training 

Retina Associates of Kentucky is proud to offer excellent post-residency fellowships in diseases and surgery of the retina and vitreous since 1998. In 2007 the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Kentucky joined us in a joint fellowship program. The fellowships offered include two-year medical/surgical fellowship and a one-year medical retina fellowship. 

Two-Year Medical/Surgical Fellowship 

The two-year fellowship program has become one of the most popular fellowship programs in the United States due to the wide range of surgical procedures performed by the physicians at Retina Associates of Kentucky.  Fellows alternate three months at Retina Associates of Kentucky followed by three months at the University of Kentucky.  While at Retina Associates of Kentucky, fellows spend approximately 70% of their time in the operating room learning vitreoretinal surgery.  Fellows also have a broad exposure to medical retinal diseases and their management through the Retina Associates of Kentucky main office in Lexington.  Didactic experience includes a monthly surgical fellow conferences, weekly fluorescein conferences and grand rounds at the University of Kentucky. 

As all of the physicians at Retina Associates of Kentucky trained at diverse training programs, retina fellows gain a unique perspective on different ways to approach a variety of basic and complex surgical diseases.  Fellows will gain expertise in performing small gauge vitrectomy surgery as well as scleral buckling techniques.  Fellows will be exposed to approximately 1500 vitreoretinal surgical procedures during their two years in hospital and ASC settings.  Fellows will gain exposure to a variety of equipment including Alcon Constellation and Accurus platforms, Synergetics VersaVit, as well as Leica and Zeiss operating microscopes. 

Retina fellows are exposed to a variety of clinical trials and are encouraged to present research at national meetings.  Our past retina fellows have presented research at ARVO, American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS), and the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) meetings. 



Pars plana vitrectomy (20, 23, 25, & 27 gauge) 

Scleral buckling 

Membrane peeling techniques 

Macular hole repair 



Repair of tractional retinal detachment 

Pars plana lensectomy 

Management of dislocated intraocular lenses 

Pneumatic retinopexy 

Repair of ruptured globe 

Retisert placement 

Physicians Participating in Fellowship Training: 

William Wood, MD 

Rick Isernhagen, MD 

John Kitchens, MD 

Thomas Stone, MD 

Todd Purkiss, MD, PhD 

Belinda Shirkey, MD 

Sheila Garcia Santana, MD 

Blake Isernhagen, MD 

Andrew Pearson, MD* 

Peter Blackburn, MD* 

Claire Fraser, MD* 

Mark Kleinman, MD* 

Eric Higgins, MD* 

* - University of Kentucky 

Current Fellows 

Dr. Romulo Albuquerque 

Dr. Albuquerque began his career as a Dentist in Brazil, graduating from the University of Pernambuco with a DDS degree. In 2001, he relocated to Lexington to pursue a Fellowship and subsequent Masters Degree in Orofacial Pain at the University of Kentucky. He went on to complete his dual PhD/MD degree with UK's College of Medicine in 2011 and was awarded the Alpha-Omega-Alpha Good Physician Award the same year. After completing a surgical internship in 2012, Dr. Albuquerque continued into the UK Ophthalmology Residency Program and served from 2013-2016. 

Dr. Clinton Ellingson 

Dr. Ellingson graduated in 2007 with a degree in Biochemistry from the University of Utah and in 2011, completed his Medical Degree at Penn State University. He served as a Medicine Intern at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center until 2012. Dr. Ellingson began his Ophthalmology Residency in 2013 at the University of Kentucky where he earned the Charles C. Barr Resident Award in 2014. Dr. Ellingson has served as Principal Investigator for clinical research trials and has been published multiple times for his work. 

Dr. Gregory Lee 

Dr. Gregory Lee is a graduate of Princeton University and completed his medical degree at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. During his time at Princeton, he served as a research coordinator at Yale Hospital. Dr. Lee completed his internship at Steward Carney Hospital followed by his Ophthalmology residency at Tufts University Medical Center. Dr. Lee has been featured in numerous publications and has presented at both The American Society of Retina Specialists and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. Dr. Lee is currently in his first year as a surgical fellow with Retina Associates of Kentucky. 

Past Retina Fellows: 

Douglas Mehr, MD (2003-2005) Medical/Surgical; currently in private practice in West Jordan, Utah. 

Oren Plous, MD (2004-2006) Medical/Surgical; currently in private practice in Lakeland, Florida. 

Eric Thomas, MD (2005-2007) Medical/Surgical; currently in private practice in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. 

Nitin Gupta, MD, MPH (2006-2008) Medical/Surgical; currently in private practice in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

Drew Sommerville, MD (2007-2009) Medical/Surgical; currently in private practice in Evansville, Indiana. 

Russell Pecoraro, MD (2007-2008) Medical; currently in private practice in Jacksonville, Florida. 

Scott Westhouse, DO (2008-2010) Medical/Surgical; currently in private practice in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

Shivan Tekwani, MD (2008-2009) Medical; currently in private practice in Chicago, Illinois. 

Carey Pate, MD (2009-2011) Medical/Surgical; currently in private practice in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

Eric Higgins, MD (2009-2010) Medical; currently at the VA medical center in Lexington, Kentucky. 

Dan Prescott, MD (2010-2012) Medical/Surgical; currently in private practice in Fresno, California. 

Ajay Singh, MD (2011-2013): Medical/Surgical fellow; Currently on faculty at Kansas University    

Matt Cole, MD (2012-2013): Medical fellow; Currently in private practice in Raleigh, NC 

Claire Fraser, MD, PhD (2012-2014): Medical/Surgical fellow; Currently on faculty at University of Kentucky  

Kyle Thompson, MD (2013-2015): Medical/Surgical fellow; Currently in private practice in Idaho Falls, Idaho 

Matthew Dykhuizen, MD (2013-2016) Medical/Surgical Currently in private practice in Cincinnati, OH 

Ryan Whitted, MD (2014-2016) Medical/Surgical. Currently in private practice in Spokane, Washington 

Yi Jiang, MD (2015-16) Medical. Currently in a surgical fellowship in Chicago, IL. 

Please apply to our fellowship through the University of Kentucky.