The Department of Ophthalmology and Stein and Doheny Eye Institutes are committed to teaching medical students the basics of ophthalmology that any practicing physician might utilize in their communities. More specialized instruction is also available to students who are interested in pursuing ophthalmology as a career. Each academic year, instruction is provided to medical students enrolled in the UCLA School of Medicine, as well as to registered visiting students. Through lectures, small group demonstrations, discussions and clinical practice, students are afforded numerous training opportunities from which to gain knowledge and experience in ophthalmology.

Required Ophthalmology

A thread of ophthalmology has been designed to weave through the pre-clinical curriculum of years 1 and 2. This thread includes approximately 10 hours of ophthalmology podcasts as they relate to the body system being studied and approximately 8 hours of small group sessions, led by clinical instructors that focus on ophthalmic history taking, clinical examination skills, and red flag signs and symptoms. Preclinical students also participate in a focused clinical experience for an afternoon examining eye clinic patients.  In this way, each student is exposed to major ophthalmic diseases, significant ophthalmic signs/symptoms, and obtains actual examination experience, all of which are useful in the practice of any medical specialty.

Elective Rotations

In the third year, a two-week selective rotation is offered during the Surgery Clerkship to DGSOM students only. This selective is particularly useful to students intending to pursue careers in internal medicine, emergency medicine, neurology, family practice, pediatrics, and any surgical specialty, as eye problems are pervasive in all types of medical practice. Students become part of the ophthalmology team at any of the teaching hospitals and are expected to perform clinical examinations with supervision, observe ophthalmic surgery, and learn to instrument tie ophthalmic size sutures. They also receive instruction through lectures, reading and internet assignments, grand rounds attendance, discussion, demonstrations, and visits to the ophthalmic pathology laboratory.

The fourth-year medical student program is made up of various 3-week-long electives. These are open to both UCLA and visiting medical students. All elective courses provide extensive exposure to the clinical practice of ophthalmology and the basic scientific knowledge on which it rests. Electives include:

OP250.01 (based at Stein Eye Institute in Westwood)
OP250.02 (based at the Harbor County Hospital resident eye clinic in Torrance)
OP250.04 (based at the Olive View Hospital resident eye clinic in Sylmar)
OP250.08 (based at Doheny Eye Institute faculty practices in Pasadena, occasionally Arcadia, and Westwood for Grand Rounds)
OP250.09 (based at Stein Eye Institute faculty practices in Westwood) and
OP264.01 (Ophthalmic pathology elective in Westwood)

Please see the David Geffen School of Medicine Elective Course Descriptions at the link below for more details.

Additional Information from the David Geffen School of Medicine >
Download the Residency Training Brochure >>


Visiting medical students should submit applications for clerkship electives through the online Visiting Student Application Service (VSAS). For questions regarding fourth year offerings please contact:

Debbie Sato, 4th year medical student elective coordinator
Edmund Tsui, MD, Director MS4 ophthalmology electives. Contact him for questions regarding MS4 ophthalmology electives
Co-Directors of Medical Student Education for Stein/Doheny Eye Institutes — JoAnn Giaconi, MD and Gary Holland, MD