Department of Ophthalmology

Residency Program


The University of Texas Health Science Center offers a three-year ophthalmology residency. We seek highly motivated individuals with excellent academic qualifications. Residents are challenged in the clinical and surgical settings, and they are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the many research opportunities within our department. Our graduates are well prepared to enter a busy comprehensive practice or successfully pursue fellowship training in the area of their choice. Approximately one-half of our graduates have entered fellowships after residency and the other half have gone into private practices. Our program is located in San Antonio, a vibrant city with rich cultural diversity, excellent schools and affordable housing. Our historic city has a population of over one million and ranks among the ten largest cities in the United States; yet, its warm and friendly citizens give it a small town feel.


Photos of San Antonio


Four residency positions are available at the PGY-2 level. Our program participates in the Ophthalmology Matching Program sponsored by the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology and administered by the San Francisco Matching Program.


The Department of Ophthalmology provides each new resident the twelve-volume set of the American Academy of Ophthalmology's Basic and Clinical Science Course. During the month of February, the first-year residents are sent to the Houston Basic Science Course; this four-week course is an intensive review of ophthalmology. Beginning residents are also required to purchase their own lenses for slit lamp stereomicroscopy of the fundus and indirect ophthalmoscopy.


Second-year residents are required to submit an abstract of their original research for presentation to the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO). All second-year residents attend this five day ARVO meeting in the Spring. All third-year residents are sent to the four-day annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) in the Fall.


Primary on-call duties are performed by first and second year residents; on-call is from home. Third-year residents perform "back-up" call, which occurs approximately every four weeks. Trauma volume is high, and residents become very experienced at managing lacerated globes, orbital fractures, eyelid lacerations, and other injuries.


[Top of Page]


Academic activities include daily morning teleconferencing covering material from the Basic and Clinical Science Course. These are conducted in association with the ophthalmology departments at Wilford Hall Air Force Medical Center and the Brooke Army Medical Center. The military ophthalmology faculty and residents also join us, along with community ophthalmologists, in weekly Grand Rounds on Friday mornings, in which interesting and challenging cases are presented for examination and formal discussions. Didactic sessions with local faculty or guest lecturers follow the Grand Rounds events. Monthly Journal Club meetings provide an opportunity for discussion of the latest literature in informal, social settings, often hosted in the homes of our community faculty.


A Resident's Surgical Skills lab is available for learning and practicing surgical techniques. This lab is equipped with an operating microscope, phacoemulsification machine, and a variety of instruments.


Applicants for our residency program must clear a screening process to ensure that they are not listed by a federal agency as excluded, suspended or otherwise ineligible for participation in federal programs. UTHSCSA performs the screening at no cost to the applicant. We comply with all Equal Employment Opportunity and American with Disabilities Act requirements.


Our graduates must be eligible to sit for the examinations of the American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO), for which they apply immediately upon graduation. ABO examination candidates must have a valid medical license in the United States, its territories or a Canadian province. Therefore, it is required that residents entering our program have successfully passed all parts of the USMLE necessary for state licensure. We expect our residents to concentrate on mastering ophthalmology, without the distraction of preparing for other examinations during their ophthalmology residency.

[Top of Page]


As of July 2016, the rotations are as follows:


The first-year provides the resident with the clinical foundations of ophthalmology. Rotations in comprehensive ophthalmology, emergency and in-patient consultations, ocular pathology, oculoplastic surgery, ophthalmic oncology, and neuro-ophthalmology provide the resident with the knowledge and skills to examine patients, identify abnormalities and begin to formulate differential diagnoses and management plans. In addition, basic surgical principles and skills are learned on the oculoplastics rotation as the resident participates in surgical procedures involving the orbit and ocular adnexae.


Second-year rotations are in glaucoma, pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus, and comprehensive ophthalmology as well as in emergency and in-patient consults. During the second year, surgery is performed on the globe and in the eye. Residents perform muscle surgery, trabeculectomies and glaucoma tube shunt placements, and extracapsular cataract extractions and do their first phacoemulsification cases. Residents also perform various anterior segment and retina laser procedures.


The third-year residents hone their skills in anterior segment surgery, particularly phacoemulsification of cataracts and lens implants. Two comprehensive rotations are joined by the cornea/uveitis rotation and the retina rotation.


[Top of Page]




University Center for Community Health (UCCH)

VA Hospital

Audie L. Murphy Division-South Texas Veterans Healthcare System



Medical Arts and Research Center (MARC)

McDermott Clin Sci Bldg

Robert F. McDermott Clinical Sciences Building


The two major residents' clinics are the UT Medicine Ophthalmology Clinic at the University Center for Community Health (UCCH) located on S. Zarzamora Street, and the Ophthalmology Clinic of the Audie L. Murphy Division - South Texas Veterans Healthcare System (STVHCS) Hospital, located on Datapoint Drive. Combined clinical activity is well over 20,000 annual patient visits. Our resident consult service receives referrals from the VA Hospital's and University Hospital's in-patient services and emergency department; over 1000 initial consults are seen annually.


There are a wide variety of surgical experiences, with residents exceeding required minimum procedure numbers. During subspecialty rotations, the residents will spend some time in the faculty's clinics at UT Medicine Ophthalmology located at the Medical Arts and Research Center (MARC) on Floyd Curl Drive. Refractive surgical experience is included on the cornea rotation at the Joint Warfighter Refractive Surgery Center at Wilford Hall Medical Center (located at Lackland Air Force Base).  In addition, some rotations include time with community faculty.  On those rotations, the resident will be at their private offices and may go to one of our other affiliated hospitals for surgery. Most offices and hospitals are within the Medical Center area in northwest San Antonio.

Pathology and basic science research laboratories, as well as the administrative offices for the Ophthalmology Department are in the McDermott Building, and our Lions Low Vision Center is in the School of Health Professions Building, both located in the Medical Center's Greehey Campus, about 2 blocks northwest of the medical school and University Hospital.

*Please Note*

The resident will need to meet the requirements for a base pass in order to be admitted to Lackland Air Force Base in order to participate in all parts of the residency program.  While this is subject to change, as of 2012, some of the critical learning experiences at Lackland Air Force Base include:  refractive surgery and simulated surgery and well as other educational activities.

[Top of Page]

Additional Benefits

The University Health System (the primary teaching facility for the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio) offers the following benefits:

  • Medical and Dental Insurance (click here)
  • Optional Insurance & Other Programs (click here)
  • Paid Time Off (click here)

The UTHSCSA Department of Ophthalmology will provide:

  • Library Copy Privileges (upon request)
  • Malpractice Liability Insurance

Click here for more info about San Antonio!


For additional information, please contact:


Lauren Belasco Lauren Belasco
Program Coordinator
Education Office
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
7703 Floyd Curl Drive, MSC 6230
San Antonio, TX 78229-3900
(210) 567-8406