Our Fellowship Program

The education of retina fellows has always been an important part of the mission for The Retina Institute. The practice has trained over 100 fellows, many who consider The Retina Institute the finest institution in the country for fellowship training.

Each year, two candidates are chosen for the program. The attendings mentor them in both the operating rooms and clinic. The diversity of patients seen by The Retina Institute embodies a wide range of ocular diseases providing an exceptional training ground for the fellows. In addition, the fellows also gain helpful insight into the operation and economics of a large retinal practice.

Along with their reputation for patient care, The Retina Institute is nationally recognized for their fellowship program. In concert with their mentors, the physicians trained at the The Retina Institute will make key contributions to the field of ophthalmology and to vitreoretinal surgery for many years to come.

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General information

Nicholas E. Engelbrecht, MD & Bradley T. Smith, MD

1600 S. Brentwood Blvd., Suite 800
St. Louis, MO 63144

Fellowship Coordinator:
Nancy Bolozky
ext. 2157

2 years/2 positions

This fellowship does require a restrictive covenant to be signed limiting the
geographic options for future practice.

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Message from the co-directors

It is with pleasure that we, along with the physicians of The Retina Institute, welcome you to St. Louis and our practice.  The Retina Institute has a long and storied history in terms of patient care, research, and teaching.

An integral part of the teaching mission for The Retina Institute is the training of retina fellows.  Each of the attending physicians at The Retina Institute brings with them years of experience, and varied skills and techniques that are passed along to the fellows each year.  Diversity of the training includes involvement in both the office and operating rooms in a private setting.  The diversity of the patients encompasses the spectrum of retinal diseases allowing a complete and fulfilling experience for the fellows.

Besides learning about retinal diseases, the fellows obtain education with regards to the economics of a retinal practice and practicalities that apply to everyday clinical practice.  We can assure you at The Retina Institute we are firmly committed to fellowship training and continue to strive to make the fellowship an enriching experience for all involved.

Nick Engelbrecht, MD & Brad Smith, MD


history of the retina institute

Dr. Paul Cibis arrived in St. Louis during the mid-1950s and set the standard for innovative and dynamic vitreoretinal surgery.  In the early days, Paul advanced scleral buckling procedures, introduced the use of silicone oil for retinal detachment repair, and made widespread use of xenon arc photocoagulation.

In the early 1960s, Dr. Edward Okun, joined Paul in the clinic.  Sadly, Paul died of a sudden heart attack in April 1965. Shortly thereafter, Drs. Glen Johnston, Isaac Boniuk, Neva Arribas, Dean Burgess, Rich Escoffery and Gil Grand joined Dr. Okun as Retina Consultants formed.

Ed made remarkable advances in photocoagulation treatment of diabetic retinopathy. Soon Dr. Okun and the group became some of the first ophthalmologists to perform vitrectomy surgery.