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Career Development -- Ophthalmology

What Does Training Look Like?

One year internship is required. Ophthalmology residency is an additional three years. Fellowships range from 1-2 years following residency training.


There are many subspecialties in ophthalmology including: orbit/oculoplastics (2 years), ocular oncology (1 year), cornea/anterior segment, surgical retina-vitreous diseases (2 years), medical retina-vitreous diseases (1 year), glaucoma (1 year), and neuro-ophthalmology (1 year). 

What Does a Typical Workday Look Like?

Physicians who specialize in ophthalmology typically work 50 hours per week. Estimates of how time is spent vary between practice settings. Academic ophthalmologists at Tulane typically spend 4 hours per week on lectures and didactics; 3 ½ days per week in clinic; 1 day a week,  and home on-call approximately one week per month.

Important Qualities and Traits

Qualities recognized as important to ophthalmology include:

  • attention to detail
  • manual dexterity
  • compassion
  • proactive learners
  • strong work ethic
  • ability to work in teams
  • interpersonal skills
Shadowing Opportunities

For shadowing opportunities, please contact Susan DeRocha.
Research Opportunities

Please contact  Susan DeRocha or Dr. Crystal Le for more information about research opportunities in ophthalmology.


Additionally, students may want to pursue research opportunities through the DeBakey Scholars Program. This program offers medical students the opportunity to pursue and complete a longitudinal, structured, closely supervised research experience culminating in a capstone presentation prior to graduation. For more information, contact Dr. Kenneth Mitchell.

Specialty Interest Group

The Tulane Ophthalmology Interest Group (TOIG) seeks to:


  • Increase medical student exposure to the field of ophthalmology, as well as the diagnosis and management of common eye diseases.
  • Help provide guidance to students interested in ophthalmology.
  • Help interested students become competitive applicants.



Nathan MacMaster

Who are the Specialty Academic/Career Advisors for this Specialty?

Please contact Dr. Crystal Le for further information about careers in ophthalmology.

Recommended T3 & T4 Coursework

Students interested in ophthalmology may want to take clinical or research rotations toward the end of the third year. T4 students should consider OPS, Clinic and Research rotation in addition to away rotations.


Specialty Statistics

Number of Applicants & Positions (from "SF Match Statistics")






n = 498

n = 179

Avg. # Applications



Mean USMLE Step 1 score



Median USMLE Step 1 score



Matched 25th Percentile Step 1 score



Matched 75th Percentile Step 1 score



Avg. Interview Invites





Interested individuals should apply through the San Francisco Match system.

Important Advice

If you are interested in ophthalmology, study to score well on the USMLE step exams. Engage in research early, if possible. 

If you are interested in a particular program, away rotations are recommended.


Where Past Tulane Students Have Matched


Eastern VA Med School-VA NORFOLK VA 2017
Loma Linda University LOMA LINDA CA 2018
Mount Sinai School of Medicine NEW YORK NY 2019
Sinai Hospital - Baltimore BALTIMORE MD 2018
Tulane Univ SOM-LA NEW ORLEANS LA 2017
Tulane Univ SOM-LA NEW ORLEANS LA 2018
Tulane Univ SOM-LA NEW ORLEANS LA 2020
Tulane Univ SOM-LA NEW ORLEANS LA 2020
Tulane University School of Medicine New Orleans LA 2021
Tulane University School of Medicine New Orleans LA 2021
Tulane University School of Medicine New Orleans LA 2021
U Maryland Med Ctr BALTIMORE MD 2018
U Missouri - Columbia COLUMBIA MO 2018
U Pittsburgh PITTSBURGH PA 2018
How Many Programs Should I Apply To?

The average number of applications submitted per matched individual has slowly increased. The point of diministing returns (where more application do not result in more interviews) appears to be around 40 applications for an average applicant. While ophthalmology positions offered have increased by 7.6% from 2011-2020, the match rate has remained between 74-78%. The number of programs you apply to will largely depend on how competitive your application is. Getting a sense of this is very challenging. Ask your mentors in ophthalmology to help guage how many applications you should apply to. 
Other Resources

AAMC Careers in Medicine

American Academy of Ophthalmology

Ophthalmology Match Statistics

Tulane’s Department of Ophthalmology


  • Moran CORE (Clinical Ophthalmology Resource for Education)

    • Contains links to Utah’s Moran Eye Institute Grand Rounds, resident lectures, surgical videos, etc. Excellent source of material curated by your very own University of Utah faculty, residents, and medical students.
  • Root Eye Network

    • Great introductory website with many FREE useful videos, downloadable books, lectures, flashcards, etc.
  • AAO Eye Wiki

    • Basically a Wikipedia style eye encyclopedia curated by American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). There are articles on nearly every basic ophthalmology topic. Unfortunately many things, such as pictures/diagrams, are restricted unless you are a member of AAO. You will likely use this site every day on ophthalmology rotations.
  • Eye Rounds.org (From University of Iowa)

    • Excellent resource from one of the top 5 ophthalmology departments in the country. They have useful pages on nearly every eye condition, many of which are designed specifically to be at the med student level. You can also find videos of common eye surgeries to help you prepare for the OR. Check out their explanation of Visual Fields.
  • The Eyes Have It: University of Michigan’s version of Iowa’s Eye Rounds

    • Great photo atlas of eye conditions with pertinent history/exam findings. They also have a free app that you can download and YouTube videos.
  • Eye Guru:

    • Website designed by former residents for beginning residents. This has tutorials on the most common eye diseases, links to landmark trials in ophthalmology, etc.
  • Pre-Ophtho

    • Website that catalogues useful resources (books, videos, podcasts, apps)
  • American Academy of Family Physicians


  • Website with great review articles on ocular conditions and emergencies and management. Check out their outlines on these topics as well.


Apps (Android and Apple Stores)

  • “The Eyes Have It” by University of Michigan (Free)
    • Use this app to systematically learn exam findings, differential diagnoses, treatments, etc. of common diseases. Learn systemic conditions with ophthalmic findings and ophthalmic side effects of systemic medications. Learn how to identify and treat various sequelae of eye trauma. You can even quiz yourself on your knowledge.
  • “The Eye Handbook” by Cloud Nine Development (Free)
    • Residents sometimes use this app to check vision and color vision while on call. It has many components including Powerpoint slides on common diseases, scoring rubrics for various diseases, videos of surgeries, podcasts, eye atlas of various diseases, manual of many eye diseases (including definitions, symptoms, exam findings, treatment, ddx, follow up, etc.), pictures of what patients see when they have cataract, diplopia, etc.
  • “Anu Reality EyeSim” Mobile by EON Reality, Inc. ($19.99)
    • This app is an investment, but it is worth it. Use this interactive interface to learn the detailed anatomy of the eye, orbit, visual fields, pupil exam, etc. You can rotate the virtual eye models and learn spatial relationships. Learning eye anatomy is the first step to understanding ophthalmology. If you know your anatomy, you will better understand diseases and differentials.
  • Eyes for Ears Podcast


  • The Wills Eye Manual

    • This book is essentially the bible for “on-call” ophthalmology residents. It is concise and comprehensive, with roughly 1-2 pages of high yield info on nearly every eye condition. No matter what diseases you encounter on rotations, this book will at least contain “high-yield” info about them (clinical presentation, management, etc.). Has lots of good pictures as well. I would buy a used version online to save money. Many programs buy their residents the newest version upon starting residency as well.


  • Kanski’s Clinical Ophthalmology by Brad Bowling
    • Comprehensive text book available through Clinical Key if you are looking for something free. A great way to learn ophthalmology exam findings is by looking at atlases and pictures.


  • Basic Ophthalmology by Richard A. Harper
    • Purple or black book that most ophthalmology departments let their rotating students use during clerkships. You can ask Meghan Johnson to borrow a copy. This book good clinical information regarding the most common eye pathologies (cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, etc.). However, it doesn’t cover more complex diseases that you might come across on clerkships.
  • Ophtho Book by Tim Root
    • Yellow book that can be read easily in 1-2 days. Very basic/introductory, but useful for students just beginning to learn about ophthalmology. Affordable and worth purchasing, but also available for free in PDF form online at Tim Root’s website.
  • Ophthalmology Made Ridiculously Simple by Stephen Goldberg
    • Also a yellow book that can be read quickly. This is a step up from Root’s Ophtho Book, but is still very introductory.
  • The Mass Eye & Ear Infirmary Illustrated Atlas of Ophthalmology
    • This book is very similar to Wills Eye Manual in its content.
  • Review of Ophthalmology by Neil J. Friedman MD and Peter K. Kaiser
    • Many residents use the book to review for yearly board exams. It is an outline of important ophthalmology topics. It is generally easier to understand if you already have some background knowledge on the topics reviewed.
  • The Bloomberg Library on the 5th floor of Moran Eye Center
    • This library also a great resource for checking out some of the books listed above, including past editions of the BCSC series (Basic and Clinical Science Course—series of books released annually by AAO for resident learning). You could look at the BCSC Fundamentals Please email Elaine Peterson (elaine.peterson@hsc.utah.edu), if you are checking out a book. You may need special card access to enter the library, which Elaine could also help with.


Dr. Katrina D’Aquin can put you in touch with potential mentors.