Clinical rotations at the Stein Eye Institute include both general ophthalmology and subspecialties. In general ophthalmology, residents work as a team, handling clinics, emergencies (including on-call coverage from home) and walk-in patients. They also serve as an ophthalmology consult service for inpatients in the UCLA Medical Center. Residents assigned to subspecialty service rotations are provided with intensive exposure to the various divisions within the Department, working closely with faculty members in a private practice environment. At the UCLA-affiliated medical centers, residents work in teams that provide both general and subspecialty patient care.

First year residents are given a firm clinical foundation with an emphasis on general ophthalmology. They develop skills in refraction, diagnostic evaluations, and the medical management of ophthalmic problems. They also begin their training in surgery and take an intensive rotation in ophthalmic pathology under the direction of a full-time ophthalmic pathologist. Second year residents begin in-depth training in all of the ophthalmic subspecialties. Third year residents assume greater responsibilities for medical and surgical patient care and participate in supervision and teaching of medical students and first- and second-year ophthalmology residents. They also engage in administrative duties at the various medical centers.

Didactic Education

Residents receive didactic education in the classroom on an ongoing basis. Once each week, all residents attend a mandatory half-day program that includes faculty lectures in a series that over the course of the three-year program cover each of the required subjects in the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and Clinical Sciences Course. These lectures are followed by Grand Rounds, consisting of presentation and discussion of specific patient cases, and faculty lectures on clinical topics related to ophthalmology subspecialties.

Throughout the week, clinical conferences in ophthalmic subspecialties are held, where problems are presented and discussed. These conferences sometimes consist of visiting faculty lectures.  First-year residents also meet weekly with faculty members in a course designed specifically for their needs as new trainees. There are additional opportunities for residents to participate in any of the extensive continuing education programs conducted by the Department and the Institute. All residents attend at least one annual meeting of the AAO in their second or third year of the program.

Surgery Training

Residents begin to perform surgery in their first year of training and continue to operate throughout their residency. Surgical cases are assigned commensurate with level of training and experience. First-year residents begin in the Institute's microsurgery laboratory, learning basic techniques. The Laboratory is available to residents throughout their training. Residents first assist on selected surgical cases; by the end of their training, they are performing procedures independently.


An understanding of and an appreciation for research are major prerequisites for assimilating future developments in ophthalmology. Accordingly, ophthalmic research is an integral component of residency training. Residents are expected to undertake independent investigation or to participate in an ongoing clinical or basic science research project in ophthalmology. They present the results of their work at the Department's Annual Clinical and Research Seminar during their second and third years of residency. They are also encouraged to report their studies at regional and national meetings and many publish their results in scientific journals. Residents with special clinical or research interests have an opportunity to use elective time to increase their exposure to a particular area of ophthalmology. This time can be spent with full-time or volunteer faculty at UCLA or at other institutions.

Training Rotations Information

Residency Training Program 
(310) 825-4617
[email protected]