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 

Clint Ellingson, MD 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. He was the proud recipient of the Wirtschafter Teaching award by nomination from his co-residents. Dr. Ellingson has served as Principal Investigator for clinical research trials and presented at the 2016 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Annual Meeting.

Parker DuPree, MD graduated in 2008 with a degree in Microbiology and Cell Sciences Cum Laude from the University of Florida College Of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He completed his Medical Degree at the University Of Florida College Of Medicine in 2013. Dr. DuPree did a preliminary year of General Surgery at the University of Kentucky and then completed his Ophthalmology Residency as the Chief Resident in 2017 at the University Of Kentucky. Dr. DuPree has published numerous manuscripts and has served on medical mission trips to Costa Rica.

Javed Sayed, MD graduated with Highest Distinction in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Minors in Chemistry and Health Administration from Indiana University, where he was a Wells Scholar. He completed his Medical Degree Cum Laude at The Ohio State University College of Medicine in 2013. Dr. Sayed served as a Medicine Intern at Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He completed his Ophthalmology Residency in 2017 at The Ohio State University. He has been a volunteer at the Havener Eye Institute Free Clinic since 2014.


Past Retina Fellows: 

Peter Blackburn, MD (2001-2003) Medical/Surgical; currently in academic practice at University of Kentucky.

Michael Heeg, MD (2002-2004) Medical/Surgical; currently in private practice in San Luis Obispo, California.

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. 

Greg Lee, MD (2015-2017) Medical/Surgical. Currently in academic practice at NYU in New York City.

Romulo Albuquerque, MD (2016-2017) Medical/Surgical. Currently in research and academic practice at the University of Kentucky.


Please apply to our fellowship through the University of Kentucky.