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Residency Program
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Jump To:
  • A Note from the Program Director
  • Hospitals
  • A Note From Our Chief Resident
  • Eligibility and Licensure
  • Application Procedures
  • Application Requirements
  • Interview Information
  • PGY-2: The First Year of Training
  • Program Description
  • PGY-3: The Second Year of Training
  • Resident Education
  • PGY-4: The Third Year of Training
  • Stipends and Prerequisites
  • Ophthalmology Resident Website
    bullet point  A Note from the Program Director
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    Welcome to the Department of Ophthalmology Residency Program of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and The Eye & Ear Institute.

    The history and tradition of this program dates back to the founding of the Eye and Ear Hospital in 1895. The first resident was formally accepted in 1924 and since that time, over 350 men and women graduated from this program with our first female resident acceptance in 1957.

    Graduates of our program can be found in academic, military, and private practices all over the United States and in several foreign countries.

    Cultural diversity describes the background of this program with recent residents originally from Italy, Belgium, Korea, India, Thailand, China, Honduras, Bahamas, Turkey, Canada, and all regions of the United States.

    Each year, several hundred applications are made for the six first-year positions. Forty to fifty applicants will interview here giving them a chance to evaluate our program, faculty, and city while we complete our process of resident selection.

    Our goal in resident selection is to find a group of highly motivated, pleasant, team players excited about becoming ophthalmologists.

    Pittsburgh is a great place to be a resident. It has a small town feel with its many ethnic neighborhoods, but big city professional sports and cultural activities, friendly people and a cost of living which allows the residents an affordable place to train and live.

    The training program revolves around the University, VA Hospital, Eye and Ear Institute, Mercy Hospital, Children's Hospital, and a third-year surgical rotation with the University of New Mexico.

    The resident-faculty relationship is characterized by a closeness and friendship which results in a strong bond after graduation. The faculty regards the residents as young colleagues more than just trainees. We want to instill in our residents a sense of pride in their abilities, training, and the University of Pittsburgh, Department of Ophthalmology.

    Contact Information
    Evan L. Waxman, MD, PhD
    Director of Residency Training
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    bullet point  Hospitals
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    Clinical Base:
    University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

    Other Clinical Affiliations:
    UPMC Eye Center
    Veterans Administration Hospital
    Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
    University of New Mexico

    Research Base:

    The Eye & Ear Institute of Pittsburgh

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    bullet point  A Note From Our Chief Resident
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    Thank you for your interest in the University of Pittsburgh Ophthalmology Residency at The UPMC Eye Center. Our residency program provides an outstanding environment in which to pursue your training in ophthalmology. In addition to excellent clinical opportunities, the strength of this program lies in the camaraderie and fellowship amongst the residents as well as the collegial relationship with our exceptional faculty.

    This residency has all the components of an excellent training program.

    • Our faculty are from a diverse educational background covering all the major subspecialties full-time and are very dedicated to resident education.
    • The resident clinic is staffed with a full-time comprehensive ophthalmologist with participation by several community ophthalmologists as well. All surgical cases generated from the clinic are performed by the residents with faculty assistance/supervision.
    • There is an extremely busy Veterns Administration Hospital eye clinic drawing patients from Western Pennsylvania, Northern West Virginia, and Eastern Ohio, with surgical cases signed up for months in advance.
    • We have a separate, fully equipped Eye & Ear Emergency Room located in the University Hospital, and a separate Eye & Ear Resource Center (i.e., library) within the Eye & Ear Institute. As the major tertiary care center in Western Pennsylvania, the emergency room is very busy and provides a wealth of clinical and surgical exposure for the residents.
    • Third year residents may attend the annual American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting or a subspecialty meeting of choice. In addition, residents will receive a stipend to attend any conference where they are presenting their own research.
    • In the third training year, there is a rotation at the University of New Mexico and New Mexico VA Hospital. This provides a unique experience for learning different surgical techniques, and medical philosophies, as well as affords an opportunity to explore a different part of the country (traveling expenses and housing are provided by the department).

    Each class is made up of six residents, making a total number of 18 residents in our program. We look to recruit future residents who work hard, get along well in a group, support one another, and like to have fun together. Teamwork is definitely a motto of our program. I feel that the unique atmosphere among the residents and faculty here at UPMC is what sets our program apart from many others.

    Contact Information
    Jason Hooton
    Chief Ophthalmology Resident

    Dept of Ophthalmology
    Eye & Ear Institute
    203 Lothrop Street, 8th Floor
    Pittsburgh, PA 15213
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    bullet point  Eligibility and Licensure
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    To be eligible for the ophthalmology residency program, applicants must have by the beginning date of the appointment (1) graduated from an accredited medical school, (2) satisfactorily completed an approved internship. A straight surgical internship is not recommended. Matriculation into a PGY-2 year of training at the University of Pittsburgh is contingent upon the applicant's having successfully passed either (1) parts I, II, and III of the National Boards/USMLE; or (2) Flex I (exam effective 1984); or (3) Flex (exam prior to 1984).

    Several excellent internship programs are available in the Pittsburgh area. Resident applicants are invited to apply individually to the internships of their choice. The Department of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh sponsors one-year Preliminary and Transitional Internships. For information about these programs, you should contact The Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, UPMC Montefiore, N 713, 200 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 (412-692-4942). The Department of Medicine will make every effort to coordinate an internship interview should you be invited for an ophthalmology residency interview. If you apply for an internship with the University of Pittsburgh Department of Medicine, please indicate that you are also applying for an ophthalmology residency in our program.

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    bullet point  Application Procedures
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    Completed applications are to be submitted by to the Central Application Service of the San Francisco Matching Program by October 1, 2016 for positions beginning July 1, 2017. The Department will honor the release date of November 1, 2016 for Dean's letters and transcripts. Interviews are conducted by invitation only and are arranged through the Office of the Program Director. Only candidates who are being considered seriously for appointment will be asked to appear for an interview. Applicants will be notified of an interview by phone call and/or email. Our interview dates will be November 18-19, 2016. Please be sure your application includes appropriate contact information.

    The Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh, participates in the Ophthalmology Matching Program sponsored by the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology. To receive further information, contact the program coordinator at the following address: Ophthalmology Matching Program, Post Office Box 7999, San Francisco, California 94120.

    The University of Pittsburgh is in compliance with Civil Rights Legislation and Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, or national origin in its educational programs, activities, or its employment practices.

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    bullet point  Application Requirements
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    Application through the Central Application Service, (CAS) of the San Francisco Ophthalmology Matching Program is required. The program will set a deadline with the CAS for all application materials. There are no application requirements outside that of the CAS. Please do not send additional information or a photograph directly to the program. The CAS will accept information after the program deadline, however, there is no guarantee that late information will be reviewed with your application. Please note Photos are NOT required with your application, please do not send a photo. Please contact the CAS of the SF Matching Servies for application requirements and deadlines.

    A personal interview is required before acceptance into the Department of Ophthalmology residency program. Only applicants being considered seriously for appointment will be requested to appear for a personal interview. Due to the volume of applications received, we will contact ONLY applicants we are inviting to interview. In practice, this usually consists of about 15% or less of those applying, based on preliminary judgement of the Selection Committee after review of all completed applications. Once an applicant has been notified that he or she is to be interviewed, it is the responsibility of the applicant to contact the Academic Program Manager, Siobahn Gallagher at 412-647-2256 or by email at, to confirm the interview. Applicants are first notified via email and then by phone. Please to be sure to have accurate and complete contact information on your application.

    Contact Information
    Siobahn Gallagher
    Academic Program Manager
    Eye & Ear Institute
    203 Lothrop Street, Rm 821.1
    Pittsburgh, PA 15213
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    bullet point  Interview Information
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    If you have received an invitation for a residency interview at the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh here is some helpful information for you:

    Please check back for upcoming interview dates

    Location: The Eye & Ear Institute is located in the heart of the University of Pittsburgh campus in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. The Institute's address is 203 Lothrop Street. As you walk up Lothrop Street, the main entrance to The Institute will be on your left and directly beneath the glass skywalk connecting The Institute with the Hospital. You should come to the 8th floor atrium area.

    If you drive to Pittsburgh, parking is available at the Presbyterian University Hospital garage. You can enter the garage from the Lothrop or Terrace Street entrance. We will be pleased to validate your parking ticket; please bring the ticket with you to the interview.

    If you fly to Pittsburgh, you should anticipate a thirty to forty minute taxi or limousine ride into Oakland. A taxi fare will cost approximately $50.

    Hotels: The following hotels are within walking distance or provide free shuttle service:

    Shadyside Inn: telephone 412-682-2300
    Wyndham Hotel: telephone 412-682-6200
    Hampton Inn: telephone 412-681-1000
    Hilton Garden Inn: telephone 412-683-2040

    In order to get the special rates, be sure to mention that you are interviewing for a residency program with the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

  • Directions to UPMC Oakland Campus
  • City of Pittsburgh Information
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    bullet point  PGY-2: The First Year of Training
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    During the first two weeks of residency, first-year residents participate in an orientation period where instruction on the instrumentation of ophthalmology, emergency room procedures, refraction, basic lectures and introduction to the subspecialties, microbiology and hospital services are among the topics covered. First-year residents taking night call will have a second or third year resident on site during their initial months of training. A senior resident is always on call from home. In-house ER night call is every sixth night for each first-year resident.

    In the first year of training, residents spend the majority of their assigned time in the Eye Clinics located in The Eye and Ear Institute. Experience in the clinic and emergency room is supplemented by two half days per week exposure to the various subspecialties and the operating room. In addition, first year residents will rotate on the pediatric ophthalmology service at Children's Hospital and its out-patient Eye Services department. First-year residents perform strabismus surgery during their pediatric ophthalmology rotation.

    All residents in the first year of training participate in the American Academy of Ophthalmology's Basic and Clinical Science Course of directed study.

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    bullet point  Program Description
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    The ophthalmology residency program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine offers an exciting and comprehensive educational experience. The program seeks a diverse group of individuals who are intellectually able, academically competent, motivated, and whose prior activities suggest a strong commitment to personal excellence. The program selects applicants who have demonstrated compassion, professional responsibility and ethical values in the best tradition of the medical profession. Furthermore, the ability to get along well with others is highly valued, as well as a demonstrated "generosity of spirit" in dealing with peers, ancillary personnel, and teachers. The ophthalmology residency program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has its clinical base at the Eye and Ear Institute of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and at three affiliated Pittsburgh clinical loci - Children's Hospital, the Veterans Administration Hospital, and the Eye Clinic/Health Center Ophthalmology, Inc. (located in The Eye & Ear Institute). The program is accredited by the Graduate Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association. Residency training periods begin on July 1st, and six residents are chosen each year, making the total residency complement of 18 men and women.

    Residents are encouraged to participate in active research, either basic or clinical. Experienced senior investigators are available for advice, discussion, and supervision. Successful resident investigators are encouraged and supported to present their work at ARVO (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology) each year. Manuscripts for publication are expected to be submitted within three months after this meeting.

    At the completion of training, residents are well-trained in general ophthalmology, retina/vitreous disorders, strabismus/pediatric ophthalmology, glaucoma, oculoplastic surgery, neuro-ophthalmology, cataract and intraocular lens surgery, contact lens refraction and fitting, and low vision. In this context, residents participate in scheduled didactic and practical courses in microsurgery, phaco-emulsification, intra-ocular lens implantation and laser treatment and surgery. A very high percentage of graduating residents are accepted to superior fellowship programs for subspecialty training.

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    bullet point  PGY-3: The Second Year of Training
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    The second year of training concentrates on the subspecialties. Rotations, each approximately ten weeks in length, include cornea, glaucoma, retina, and neuro-ophthalmology services. During each rotation, residents see subspecialty private and clinic patients along with a full-time or voluntary member of the faculty. Residents have the opportunity to observe or assist in surgical cases performed by the faculty, and participate in all regularly scheduled specialty clinics. In the second year, residents begin to perform extra-ocular procedures on scheduled clinic patients under the direct supervision of the faculty. An additional rotation at the Veterans Administration Hospital serves as an introduction to microsurgical techniques and intraocular surgery (including phacoemulsification) as well as a broad spectrum of ophthalmic pathology.
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    bullet point  Resident Education
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    Formal teaching exercises include blocks of didactic lectures on specialties, fluorescein conferences and grand rounds which are scheduled daily from 7:00 - 8:00 a.m., August through June. The Grand Rounds and Chairman rounds are attended by all residents, fellows, and full-time faculty; voluntary faculty and area ophthalmologists are frequent participants. During the course of the year, conferences include research presentations, lectures in the subspecialties with patient examination where possible, followed by discussion of the patients as the basis for Chairman's Rounds.

    Numerous visiting professors and update courses are scheduled throughout the year. Once a month, invited speakers present at Grand Rounds in the afternoon and again in the evening in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Ophthalmology Society dinner meeting, with all residents in sponsored attendance. Additionally, all residents attend the Pittsburgh Ophthalmology Society's one and one-half day Spring Meeting where papers are presented by nationally-recognized authorities. The Department sponsors an annual Residents' Day with required presentation of scientific papers by all residents.

    During all three years of training, all residents help with both informal, and on a more limited basis, formal instruction of students and allied personnel. Residents are part of the faculty for the formal course of instruction in ophthalmoscopy given to the second-year medical students, as well as for the informal instruction given the junior and senior medical students on their rotation in ophthalmology.

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    bullet point  PGY-4: The Third Year of Training
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    The third year of training is the residents' principal surgical year (intra- and extraocular). During rotation blocks of approximately two months at each location, third-year residents see patients in the clinics and perform all resulting surgical cases. Resident will rotate on the pediatric ophthalmology service which will allow them to perform advanced strabismus and other pediatric cases in conjunction with the attending. Our senior residents are required to participate in a 10-12 week away rotation at the University of New Mexico. Transportation and apartment expenses are covered by the Department. The residents will split time between the University Hospital and the Veterans Administration Hospital in Albuquerque. This rotation significantly enhances the residents' surgical experience, particularly in the area of phacoemulsification, by teaching different techniques and medical philosophies. Third-year residents take at-home call for surgical care.

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    bullet point  Stipends and Prerequisites
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    Appointments begin July 1st and are renewable annually for a total of 36 consecutive months. Residents are paid according to an advancing scale. 2016-2017 University of Pittsburgh graduate medical education stipends are:

    • PGY-2 $56,178.20
    • PGY-3 $57.265.52
    • PGY-4 $60,101.08.

    Embroidered white clinician's coats are provided. Twenty (20) days of paid vacation is granted per year. In addition, The Eye and Ear Institute houses the Blair-Lippincott Learning Resource Center, which specializes in ophthalmic and otolaryngologic literature. Residents have photocopy and literature search services available.

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    bullet point  Ophthalmology Resident Website
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    Click on the link above to access the Residency Website. You can access information about the Albuquerque rotation here.
  • Ophthalmology Resident Website
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