The ophthalmology residency at the University of Colorado focuses on
the development of outstanding clinical and surgical skills. The
experience of the residents is both broad and deep, with extensive
exposure to the evaluation and management of ophthalmic diseases, common
The residents' growth as ophthalmologists is assisted by a faculty
dedicated to resident education, cutting-edge research programs that
keep them abreast of the latest developments, didactic teaching sessions
that build a solid fund of knowledge, and busy clinic settings that
balance autonomy and oversight so that residents can develop solid
decision-making skills. At the end of the 3-year program residents will
have a foundation that will allow them to become highly competent
leaders in ophthalmology, whether in private practice or academics.
Throughout the three years of residency, the residents attend basic
science lectures and journal clubs given by faculty to enhance their
fund of knowledge and their ability to review the literature critically.
Weekly clinical conferences give them experience presenting cases as
well as exposure to a variety of approaches in disease management.
Organized wet labs guided by faculty allow them to hone their surgical
skills prior to working on live patients.
As the only academic medical center for hundreds of miles, our
residents have the advantage of working at a range of unshared
university-affiliated hospitals. These include a tertiary care Veterans
Administration Hospital, Denver Health Medical Center (a level 1 trauma
center), Children’s Hospital Colorado (ranked #5 Children’s Hospital by
U.S. News and World Report), and the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute
at the University of Colorado. The high surgical volume and balanced
clinical experience during the 3 years at these facilities is second to
none. We are proud of our training program and our residents, and we
constantly strive to maintain an environment that allows them to develop
into skilled ophthalmologists.
Each of the 3 years of residency is divided into five rotations each
lasting approximately ten weeks. Details for each year are given below.
The First Year
The first year focuses on attaining the
basic clinical skills and fund of knowledge needed to properly evaluate
and manage the majority of ophthalmic pathology encountered. Lectures,
clinical conferences and wet lab training combine with extensive guided
clinical experience to achieve this goal. Three rotations are spent at
the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute (RMLEI) and one rotations is
spent at both the VA and Denver Health. A limited amount of time is also
spent at Children’s Hospital Colorado so first year residents learn to
The Second Year
Having developed their clinical skills in
the first year, second year residents begin a year that includes a high
volume of procedures in the fields of strabismus, oculoplastics, and
retina. Additionally they have an opportunity to
perform their first cataract procedures as the primary surgeon. Second
year residents have rotations at Children’s Hospital Colorado, Denver
Health Medical Center, and at RMLEI with a focus on oculoplastics,
retina, and ophthalmic research.
The Third Year
The third year is an intense year of surgery, focusing mainly on
cataract surgery. In addition to at least 150 cataract surgeries as the
primary surgeon, the senior resident is a consultant for the junior
residents, both in the clinics and on call. They have a high level of
responsibility in both the care of patients and the organization of
their surgery schedule. Though functioning with greater independence,
they still have an attending available at all times for questions and
surgical supervision. As the year progresses, the residents’ surgical
skills and decision-making mature so that upon completion of residency
they should feel comfortable addressing any ophthalmologic situation
Application Eligibility, Process and Deadline
Five first-year residents begin training each July. Appointments to the residency program are made one and one-half years in advance through the Ophthalmology Residency Matching Program at SFMatch.
All applicants must meet the following requirements by the residency appointment date:
- Graduation from a Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME)-accredited medical school in the United States or Canada
- Possession or eligibility for a Colorado Medical License
- Satisfactory completion of a PGY1 internship year in an accredited program in the United States or Canada
- Satisfactory completion of the USMLE, Part 3
In exceptional circumstances, graduates of foreign medical schools may be considered for the residency if they are eligible to obtain a physician license from the Colorado Medical Board.
The residency application process is managed through SF Match, where application requirements and deadlines are listed. For questions unanswered on the SF Match website, you may contact our Residency Coordinator.
The University of Colorado Ophthalmology Residency Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
Learn more about our Faculty
, Affiliated Institutions
and see the Residency Manual