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Ophthalmology Residency

Program Overview

The Ophthalmology Residency at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is a three-year, ACGME-accredited program that admits three residents per year.

Program Details

Many factors combine to distinguish the Penn State Eye Center’s Ophthalmology Residency Program as a leader in ophthalmology resident education:

  • We are associated with Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, the leading academic medical center in central Pennsylvania.
  • Our faculty of full-time ophthalmologists have expertise in all of the subspecialty areas in ophthalmology.
  • Our program size allows for ample opportunities to interact on a one-to-one basis with faculty.
  • Our patient population is interested in joining with faculty and residents to optimize their health care./li>
  • We are committed to provide the best in clinical and surgical education through direct patient care and a variety of innovative and effective educational programs.

Residents entering the program must have successfully completed a post-graduate clinical year (PGY-1) in a program accredited by the ACGME or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Program Highlights

  • 18 full-time faculty with expertise in the major ophthalmic subspecialties (cornea; general eye care; glaucoma; neuro-ophthalmology; medical retina; oculoplastic surgery; ophthalmic pathology; pediatric ophthalmology; vitreoretinal surgery)
  • Resident-focused program admitting three residents per year; no fellows
  • Full ACGME accreditation
  • Two clinical sites (Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center for two-thirds of the program and Lebanon VA Medical Center for the remaining third)
  • State-of-the-art facilities and equipment
  • Optimum balance of medical and surgical training and resident autonomy and supervision
  • Highly collaborative environment among faculty, residents and staff
  • Supportive learning environment with ample opportunities to interact with faculty, fellow residents and medical students
  • Innovative surgical training program with state-of-the-art simulation center
  • Access to dedicated resources on ophthalmology from Harrell Health Sciences Library
  • Dedicated resident research experience (all residents have had their research accepted for presentation at ARVO)
  • Exceptional fellowship match success at top fellowship programs

Our Team


The first two years of residency training are split between general and subspecialty ophthalmology. Subspecialty rotations include cornea and external diseases, glaucoma, pediatric and neuro-ophthalmology, oculoplastics and retina. Experience in general ophthalmology as well as optometry practice is gained through rotations on emergency room/hospital consultation services at Hershey and through general ophthalmology outpatient clinic practice at the VA Medical Center in Lebanon. Goals and objectives have been set for each subspecialty rotation and post-rotation evaluations are conducted with each resident to ensure that the residents are achieving the stated goals.

During the subspecialty rotations, the residents accompany the faculty to the operating room one to two days per week. This provides valuable surgical experience in the first two years of training and facilitates participation in the pre- and post-operative care of their patients.

The final year of training consists of four months at Hershey and eight months at the VA Medical Center. Two senior residents are always scheduled at the Lebanon VA Medical Center, and one senior resident is always scheduled at the Hershey site. The majority of Class I cataract surgeries are performed at the Lebanon VA Medical Center under the direct supervision of faculty members. In addition to the outstanding clinical and surgical experience available at the VA Medical Center, senior residents have the opportunity to develop administrative and teaching skills. The senior resident rotations in Hershey are focused on development of surgical skills through experiences in the hospital OR and Hershey Outpatient Surgery Center. The senior residents also care for pre- and post-operative patients in the clinics of our ophthalmic surgeons and see their own patients in the comprehensive ophthalmology clinic, which is held weekly.

PGY-2 (Ophthalmology Year 1)

PGY-3 (Ophthalmology Year 2)

PGY-4 (Ophthalmology Year 3)

On-Call Schedule

First- and second-year ophthalmology residents take call, on average, every sixth night and every sixth weekend. Weekend call extends from Friday at 5 p.m. through Monday morning at 8 a.m. Third-year residents take secondary/surgical call every third week. A faculty member is assigned on-call responsibilities on a weekly basis and provides appropriate supervision for all residents.

Evaluation Process

How do we ensure that our residents are achieving success in the areas of medical knowledge, patient care, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, practice-based learning and improvement, and systems-based practice?

We utilize a variety of methods to measure resident performance but this is assessed primarily through direct observation and evaluation by members of the faculty. Other methods include evaluations by medical students and patients, performance in the Case-Based Learning in Ophthalmology (CBLO) series, the Ophthalmology Skills Assessment Program (OSAP-in development), Ophthalmology Clinical Evaluation Exercises (OCEX), Simulated Oral Boards in Ophthalmology (SOBO-in development), and performance on written examinations, including the Ophthalmology Knowledge Assessment Program (OKAPs).

Resident performance is evaluated by the faculty following each rotation. Each of these evaluations examines the resident’s performance in the six general competency areas. The residents meet individually with the Residency Program Director twice a year to review their performance on the rotations, discuss their research projects, and review their progress in meeting self-set six-month goals. Residents must present the findings of their research projects at the annual Penn State Eye and Vision Research Day event, which is attended by eye and vision researchers throughout the institution.


A variety of conferences are available to Ophthalmology Residency participants.

Basic and Clinical Science Conference Series

The Basic and Clinical Science Lecture Series is held Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7 to 8 p.m. It serves as the core curriculum of the Residency Program. Conferences cover a broad range of ophthalmic topics including ophthalmic pathology, optics, cornea/external diseases, glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology, pediatric ophthalmology, oculoplastic and orbital diseases, retina, intraocular inflammation and uveitis, and ocular physiology.

Surgical Skills Workshops

The goal of the Surgical Skills Workshop is to promote discussion on the indications, complications, and operative techniques for common ophthalmic surgeries. Surgical Skills Workshops are held monthly in conjunction with the Surgical Morbidity Conference. The residents and a faculty moderator discuss common ophthalmic surgical procedures and techniques and develop a step-by-step algorithm to facilitate resident performance of the surgery. Use of surgery simulation models and wet lab experiences also help to enhance surgical skills.

Resident Orientation Program

The Resident Orientation Program was developed following a mini-retreat with the ophthalmology residents and the Residency Program Director. It introduces the first-year ophthalmology residents to the residents, faculty and staff of Penn State Eye Center. The emphasis of the orientation is on history and eye examination skills. New residents are also introduced to common ocular emergencies and on-call responsibilities. Orientation is coordinated by the Chief Residents to promote the role of the Chief Residents as teachers.

Ethics in Ophthalmology

The Ethics in Ophthalmology seminar is presented semi-annually and is jointly sponsored by Penn State Eye Center and the Department of Humanities. Topics for discussion include: informed consent, patients’ rights, clinical and basic science research, the impaired physician, co-management, advertising, and others.

Educational Activities Outside the Department

Each year, residents may have the opportunity to attend meetings or courses such as the Wills Eye Review Course, the Armed Forces in Pathology course, and the annual meetings of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the Association of Research and Vision in Ophthalmology (ARVO).

Conference and Didactic Schedule


  1. Retina
  2. Cornea, SS Lab
  3. Pediatric
  4. Pathology
  5. Pediatric


  1. Neuro
  2. Retina Case Conference
  3. Neuro
  4. Glaucoma
  5. Surgical Video Conference


  1. Histological Pathology Slide Conference
  2. Glaucoma
  3. Monthly HCAR Residency Educational Program Meeting
  4. Open
  5. Glaucoma


  1. ACGME Core Competency Lecture Series
  2. M and M/QI Conference; OpLog/Eyesi Reports Review
  3. Resident Case Presentations and Grand Rounds
  4. Surgical Skills Lecture


  1. Oculoplastic
  2. Low Vision
  3. Retina
  4. Optics

To Apply

All positions for 2019-2020 have been filled.

During enrollment, eligible applicants for the Ophthalmology Residency must apply through the Central Application Service of the San Francisco Match Program for Ophthalmology (SF Match), sponsored by the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology. Applications are reviewed by members of the faculty and the Residency Program Director. Interviews are then offered to outstanding candidates. 

Prospective residents are evaluated based on their preparedness, ability, aptitude, academic credentials, communication skills, and personal qualities such as motivation and integrity. While the USMLE score is a factor we consider, we do not have a set minimum score requirement. We look at all aspects of your application to determine interview status.

The Ophthalmology Residency does not discriminate with regard to sex, race, age, religion, color, national origin, disability or veteran status.

Application Guidelines and Prerequisites

Applicants must also apply for a PGY-1 preliminary spot in Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Pediatrics, etc., through the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) in addition to their application for a PGY-2 ophthalmology residency position through the San Francisco Match Program.

We typically receive more than 100 times the applications as we have positions available (three).

MD and DO applications are both reviewed, as are those from international or foreign medical graduates, though we only sponsor J-1 visas. 

Because of Pennsylvania licensure requirements, MT applicants must complete University of Pittsburgh Child Abuse Reporter Training.

While the Ophthalmology Residency is not an integrated program, many of our residents complete their internship year at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center as well.

Application Timeline

Oct. 1 is our deadline for applications. Interviews are conducted in November and December.


Current Residents

Past Residents

The fellowship matches of past Ophthalmology Residency graduates appear here.

Contact Us

Mailing Address

Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Eye Center
500 University Drive, MC HU19
Hershey, PA 17033-0850

Ophthalmology Residency

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