Residency Program

Stanford's Ophthalmology Residency is a three-year program designed to provide intensive clinical and surgical training in an academic environment which encourages close interaction between residents and faculty. Four residents are accepted each year.

Clinical Facilities

The Stanford School of Medicine uses three institutions as education resources for its residency program.

  • The Stanford University Medical Center includes the Stanford Hospital (which serves as both a university and community hospital), the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, and the Byers Eye Institute at Stanford. All three serve the surrounding community in addition to being highly specialized tertiary care centers.
  • The Veterans Administration Medical Center in Palo Alto serves as the referral center for a large portion of California. Palo Alto VA Medical Center built new state-of-the-art hospital and clinic facilities in 1998.
  • The Santa Clara Valley Medical Center is the county hospital for San Jose, a metropolitan area of over 1,000,000 people. Its busy clinics serve a large indigent population with a mix of many immigrant groups. The Valley Medical Center has recently opened a new hospital and surgical facility.

Components of Residency Training

Didactic instruction includes attendance (without charge, as a part of the residency) at the one-month Bay Area Ophthalmology Course (BAOC) at Stanford, rotation through the in-house ophthalmic pathology laboratory, and an ongoing program of weekly grand rounds and conferences that cover all subspecialties. Clinical training is split between the three Stanford-affiliated hospitals and includes speciality clinics in retina, cornea and refractive surgery, cataract management, glaucoma, pediatrics and strabismus, neuro-ophthalmology, oculoplastics, and uveitis, as well as extensive surgical experience in general and subspecialty ophthalmology. The residents and faculty work together at all three hospitals, and there are no outside faculty practices. Residents pursue research projects and receive mentorship on career development and most elect to seek post-residency fellowships.

Clinical Rotations

The Stanford program provides a progressive acquisition of clinical and surgical skills. All of the clinics at the Stanford teaching hospitals are extremely busy, and generate roughly 52,000 outpatient visits and 1100 major surgical procedures annually.

First-year residents spend the initial month of their residency studying the fundamentals of ophthalmology in the Bay Area Ophthalmology Course (BAOC) and in a special series of conferences and hands-on workshops that introduce the basic techniques of clinical care. First-year residents start at Stanford on the Cornea and Pathology rotations, and split the rest of the year between the general clinics at our affiliated hospitals. This provides a variety of patient care experiences a crowded county hospital, with chronic and age-related disease in the VA population, and with specialized referrals and complex private care in the Stanford and Children's Hospital eye clinics. Residents begin to perform eye surgery in the first year, including minor procedures, such as pterygium and chalazion excision, as well as cataract surgery.

Second-year residents spend two-thirds of the year on subspecialty services at Stanford. These include retina, glaucoma, pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus, oculoplastics, and uveitis. They also have one rotation at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center to improve clinical skills and to begin major responsibilities as a surgeon.

Third-year residents serve as the chief resident at each hospital for one-third of the year. They do a large volume of primary surgery. They also teach the junior residents in each hospital, and take administrative responsibility for clinics and conferences.


The department faculty is involved in a variety of clinical and basic research projects. Residents participate in research throughout their residency. Each year they develop and pursue an investigative research project (experimental or clinical) in conjunction with a faculty member of their choice. The results of this research are presented at a special Resident Research Conference held each June. Residents are sponsored to attend ARVO or comparable major research meetings to present their work.


The Stanford-Palo Alto areas is one of the great places to live in the US, with beautiful weather year-round, cultural opportunities at Stanford and in San Francisco, and easy access to every type of sports and outdoor activity.

Residents are paid competitive salaries according to the scale of the Stanford University Hospital.

Residents get three weeks of vacation each year, one during each of three annual service rotations.

Residency Application Process

Four first-year residents enter the program each July. Appointments to the residency program are made one and one-half years in advance through the Ophthalmology Matching Program.


Applicants must meet the following requirements to be eligible for the residency:

  • Graduation from an LCME accredited medical school in the United States or Canada
  • Possession or eligibility for a California medical license.
  • Satisfactory completion of a PGYI year in an accredited program in the United States or Canada which includes a minimum of six months of broad experience in patient care.
  • In exceptional circumstances, graduates of foreign medical schools may be considered for the residency if they have already obtained an Applicant Evaluation Status Letter or a California license from the Medical Board of California. For further information contact:
    Medical Board of California
    1426 Howe Avenue
    Sacramento, California 95825
    (916) 263-2344

Only applications submitted through SF Match, Ophthalmology Matching Program (OMP) will be accepted.

Ophthalmology Matching Program
PO Box 7584
San Francisco, California 94120-7584

Deadline for applications is October 1, 2015. Please DO NOT send any additional materials, i.e. CV, letters or publications, as they will not be reviewed.


The Admissions Committee will invite approximately 40 candidates to interview. Resident interview dates are November 20th, December 4th and 11th, 2015.

The Department of Ophthalmology sponsors several ophthalmology clerkships including a four- to-six week hands-on clinical externship at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and a similar two week externship at the Livermore VA hospital. To find more complete descriptions, period dates, and the on-line application go to med.stanford.edu/osa.


Jeffrey L. Goldberg, M.D., Ph.D.

Douglas Fredrick, M.D.
Director, Residency Program

Charlotte Rendon
Residency Coordinator

Department of Ophthalmology
Stanford University Medical Center
300 Pasteur Drive
Stanford, CA 94305-5308
Phone: (650) 724-9981
Fax: (650) 723-7918

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