Eye Center Residents

The Residency Training Program in the UC Davis Eye Center at the University of California, Davis has developed into one of the premier training programs in the country. This is due to dedicated faculty, outstanding facilities, and early and intensive surgical training.

This training is designed to produce mature, well-rounded, surgically outstanding comprehensive ophthalmologists who are well prepared for independent practice or further subspecialty training.

Residents from the program graduate with a very diverse surgical experience and are typically in the 95th percentile or higher in surgical volume. Based on the prime importance of one-to-one teaching, each resident is given the opportunity to work closely with faculty in all areas of general and subspecialty ophthalmology and, in addition, is provided opportunities for independent management and decision making.

The program provides the resident interested in either full-time clinical ophthalmology or clinical/academic ophthalmology with the opportunity to flourish in an atmosphere which is both rich clinically as well as concerned with the educational development of the resident in training.


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Program Details

The ophthalmology residency training program, initiated in 1970 at the University of California, Davis, is a fully accredited, three-year multifaceted educational program that successfully integrates clinical, didactic and research experiences. Four residents are accepted each academic year beginning July 1. Emphasis is placed on the acquisition of broad clinical experience in general ophthalmology as well as exposure to a variety of subspecialty areas in ophthalmology.

The UC Davis Eye Center’s primary site is located in a state-of-the-art multi-specialty outpatient clinic in Sacramento, along with other School of Medicine clinics and academic offices. This facility provides a spacious, modern, and well-equipped ophthalmic testing service for both university and referral patients. In this setting, residents are able to manage a wide variety of clinical eye disorders under the direct supervision and close working relationship with members of the faculty of the UC Davis Eye Center. In addition to the clinical areas, the professional suite houses departmental offices and conference facilities together with research space for clinical trials, a visual field reading center and an advanced retinal imaging laboratory. Other clinical facilities are located at a satellite clinic in Sacramento, within a 10 minute drive from the primary site.

The primary teaching hospital is the University-owned, UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, California. In addition, we are one of the few programs in the country to have two outstanding VA facilities. Residents rotate through the Veterans Administration Medical Center in nearby Martinez, California, as well as the Mather Veterans Administration Medical Center in Sacramento. During the absence of full-time faculty residents also spend time working with volunteer clinical faculty in private and HMO settings, providing exposure to a variety of practice settings.

Through its medical group locations, the UC Davis Health System serves patients throughout the Sacramento region, the San Joaquin Valley, Nevada, and north to the Oregon border. This assures a large number and variety of patients not seen in programs isolated to much smaller areas or single cities. As the UC Davis Health System is a Level I Trauma Center, residents are exposed to a wide variety of traumatic eye injuries. Sacramento, which has been rated as the most ethnically diverse city in the United States, provides a huge variety of pathology essential to a well-rounded ophthalmic education. Due to the limited number of subspecialty fellows, resident education is not hampered but enhanced by the additional interaction.

Surgical Training

Early surgical training is a cornerstone of the UC Davis residency program. Surgical orientation begins in the first week with an introduction to ophthalmic instruments, microscope use, and basic surgical techniques. During the first year of comprehensive ophthalmology rotations, the resident begins learning intraocular skills in a stepwise fashion, beginning with wound construction, lens implantation and capsulorhexis. By the completion of the first year, the resident has completed as many as 19 cataract surgeries as primary surgeon, with virtually all of these performed via a clear corneal approach with topical anesthesia.

With this strong foundation in ophthalmic surgery, the resident is well prepared for his/her second year, which includes three months at the Mather VA hospital. Here the resident will refine his/her skills in both cataract and glaucoma surgery under the direct supervision of the VA faculty. The VA setting provides a wealth of surgical pathology during the third year, with the resident perfecting cataract surgery techniques as well as expanding surgical skills in the areas of Refractive surgery.

In the third year the resident spends three months each rotating at the Martinez VA, the Oculoplastics Service, the Vitreo-Retinal Service and serving as Chief Resident. Some of our residents have graduated with the highest surgical volume in the country, with most ranging in the 93-97th percentile.