Matching into Ophthalmology

  1. Grubbs JR, Mian SI. Advising Students Interested in Ophthalmology: A Summary of the Evidence. Ophthalmology. 2016;123(7):1406-1410. doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2016.04.016. 
    Read that article. Written by faculty at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center, it contains evidence-based recommendations on preparing yourself as an applicant. Find a trusted faculty advisor and get to work. 
  2. Burk-Rafel J, Santen SA, Purkiss J. Study Behaviors and USMLE Step 1 Performance: Implications of a Student Self-Directed Parallel Curriculum. Academic Medicine. 2017;92(11S):S67-S74. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000001916. Following the recommendations the above paper, begin preparing early in medical school by learning lots of basic medical science. This paper suggests some successful techniques used by students at Michigan. 
  3. Make your top choice known to your mentors and to your program of choice. Extrapolating from the following article about the association between stating your #1, mentor-to-program contact, and retina fellowship matches, it may be helpful to you in your ophthalmology match. Christiansen SM, Osher JM, Riemann CD. Association of Mentor-to-Program Contact and Applicant Rank Disclosure With Vitreoretinal Fellowship Applicant's Final Match Outcome in 2016 and 2017. JAMA Ophthalmology. Published online April 26, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2018.1107. 
  4. The University of Iowa has a nice tutorial on the match process. Worth reading through
  5. Doximity's Residency Navigator has information on individual programs, with filters by region, hospital type, size, etc. Sortable in a variety of ways, too. 
  6. is a georgraphical map of residency programs across the U.S. Kudos to these folks on a beautiful site. 
  7. American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) website contains some some information on the match, as well as perspectives from within the field. 
  8. SFMatch - Ophthalmology is an early-match specialty that uses SFMatch rather than ERAS. Application opens June 1st. Submit mid-August. Ophthalmology match day is early January. 
  9. You will still need ERAS for applying to preliminary/transitional years. Submit mid-September. Match day is mid March. 
  10. The below episode of Straight from the Cutter's Mouth: A Retina Podcast is a panel of newly-matched-into-ophthalmology medical students from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine who share their perspectives. Excellent listening. 

Interview Tips

  1. Read through this massive UCSF interview questions document to reflect upon your life and career in preparation for residency interviews. 
  2. Try Swap & Snooze, a pseudo-couch surfing site dedicated to interviewing M4s. 
  3. Fly or Drive Calculator (BeFrugal). 
  4. Rotating Room (sublet for Med students). 
  5. AirBnB (enough said). Note that booking through Delta allows you to "double dip" on points. 
  6. Search "My friends who live near *CITY*" in Facebook. 
  7. Track your expenses (Excel sheet). 
  8. Make notes on interviews (Excel sheet). 
  9. Southwest allows you to cancel and change reservations for free. 
  10. Chase Sapphire Reserve was the best overall travel card for the price ($95/yr), with a good sign-on bonus and 2-3x points per dollars spent on travel and dining. Use this link to check it out
  11. Link your Uber and Lyft apps to airline miles promotions. Delta had one going with Uber, I believe. But look into this, as you may end up using rideshare services a lot, and will be smart to take advantage of these bonus points. 
  12. Register for a "dining rewards" system. Just google it, pick your favorite airline's frequent flyer program, and add your cards. That way whenever you eat out, you don't have to think about it and you may earn additional frequent flyer miles. 


A genuine passion for what I'm doing is essential. If you're this way, too, stoke that interest.

  1. Read books
  2. Listen to podcasts
  3. Share videos
  4. Become a resource for your classmates, have conversations, share what you know, and always give back. Perhaps this podcast episode from Ophthalmology Off the Grid about mentorship will serve as inspiration.