Ophthalmology Residency Program Overview

Teaching the next generation of ophthalmologists is the core mission of the Weill Cornell Medical Center's Department of Ophthalmology. In conjunction with the New York Presbyterian Hospital, the ophthalmology residency program is founded upon a dedication to quality education, innovative research and excellence in patient care. Our faculty members are all generous educators committed to achieving excellence in our comprehensive didactic and clinical teaching program. Our 3-year ACGME accredited residency program accepts 3 residents per year.


Our robust didactic program consists of:

  • Daily morning teaching conferences and lectures by our own distinguished faculty
  • Weekly fluorescein angiography conferences led by our retina fellows and attendings
  • Monthly journal clubs
  • One-on-one wet labs in cataract, cornea, glaucoma and retinal surgery staffed by our faculty
  • Interdisciplinary rounds with the neuro-radiology, otolaryngology, and neurology departments of Weill Cornell Medical College
  • Weekly Grand Rounds by renowned leaders in ophthalmology (http://weillcornelleye.org/education/rounds.html) as well as our own residents and fellows
  • Pathology teleconferences with Dr. Robert Folberg, University of Illinois
  • Greater New York Lecture Series at Manhattan Eye Ear & Throat Hospital
  • New York Eye & Ear Infirmary's Board and Ophthalmic Knowledge and Assessment Program (OKAP) review course
  • Columbia Basic Science Course in Ophthalmology, for first year residents
  • Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary’s Intensive Cataract Surgery Course

Clinical Rotations

First Year:

The first year of residency represents a concentrated introduction to the basic principles and theories of general ophthalmology and ophthalmic surgery. The first year resident masters the basic techniques of the ophthalmic exam, as well as the diagnosis and management of a variety of ocular diseases while rotating on the comprehensive eye service. First year residents have the opportunity to assist and perform minor surgical procedures such as chalazia and pterygia excisions as well as minor eyelid procedures and temporal artery biopsies. While on the cornea rotation the first year resident participates in the care, work-up, and surgical assisting of routine and complex refractive, cataract, cornea and external disease patients.

In addition, our first year residents rotate on the following services:

  • Ocular Oncology: With Dr. David Abramson at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital, which provides an unparalleled experience. (http://www.mskcc.org)
  • Low Vision: At the world-renowned Lighthouse International (www.lighthouseguild.org)
  • Refraction & Contact Lenses: with our two full-time optometrists
Second Year:

The second year of residency at Weill Cornell is one of subspecialty immersion. The residents spend their time on the glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology, pediatric/strabismus, oculoplastics and vitreoretinal services. The residents obtain significant experience in the diagnosis, medical and surgical management of complex eye diseases. During the second year, the surgical experience includes all strabismus cases, retinal and glaucoma lasers, complex eyelid and orbital cases, and an introduction to cataract surgery. The second year resident also develops skills and expertise on the busy inpatient consultation service at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Here, the resident serves as a specialty consultant, working with and teaching those from other disciplines while caring for inpatients with ophthalmic disorders.

There is a comprehensive cataract surgery wet lab experience during the second year in which each resident must complete a minimum of 20 attending-supervised practice cases before their first surgery. At the end of their second year, all residents attend the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary's Intensive Cataract Surgery Course, where several of our faculty members are instructors.

Third Year:

In the third year of training, the residents develop mastery over their medical and surgical skills as well as taking on more leadership, teaching and administrative roles. They spend the year rotating at three institutions, which provide a broad and diverse ophthalmic experience. At each site, the senior resident functions as the chief resident with responsibilities ranging from teaching junior residents and rotating medical students to organizing clinic schedules and didactic conferences.

  • The New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center is a highly specialized tertiary care university medical center. The residents provide the highest level of clinical care and therapeutic excellence to patients with a variety of complex ocular pathology. The residents are also actively involved in the care of inpatients on our consultation service. For example, here in our nation's largest and busiest burn center, the residents work as an integral member of an interdisciplinary team to help treat the complications of Stevens Johnson syndrome.
  • The New York Hospital Queens / Queens Eye Center is a community hospital located 10 miles from the main Cornell campus that serves the most culturally diverse county in the United States (http://www.nyhq.org/). Almost half of Queens' residents are foreign born and over half of the population speaks a language other than English at home. This experience allows the resident to learn how cultural differences and preferences impact the medical decision making process. Within minutes of the hospital is Flushing Meadows Park which is home to the former Shea Stadium, now Citi Field, where the NY Mets play baseball and the USTA National Tennis Center where the US Open is played each year.
  • Lower Manhattan Hospital is another community-based affiliate of the New York Presbyterian Hospital and is located just over 6 miles south of the main campus at the southern tip of Manhattan, near the Statue of Liberty and steps away from Ground Zero. It serves a diverse population including the main financial hub of New York City (Wall Street), as well as a large underserved community of immigrants and a significant charity care population. The senior resident at this site and the Queens site has a significant amount of autonomy and responsibility in patient care. (http://nyp.org/lowermanhattan/)


Participation in scholarly activity is an integral component of the residency program. Our departmental research initiative is quite diverse and ranges from basic science research in retinal and corneal pathophysiology in our Margaret M. Dyson Vision Research Institute (http://weillcornelleye.org/research/) to a multitude of ongoing prospective studies organized by our in-house Clinical Trials Unit. We are also engaged in several translational projects with our biomedical engineering colleagues at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Our department's NIH-grant funding is amongst the highest of any program in the US. The residents have ample opportunities to participate in research projects and all of our residents have presented their work at major ophthalmic meetings (ARVO, ASCRS, AAO, Retina Society etc.) and have had their work published in respected peer-reviewed journals. When a paper or poster is accepted as first author at a major meeting, the resident's travel and expenses are reimbursed by the department.


The call schedule during the 3 years of residency is 100% call-from-home without overnight in-house call or night float rotations. We maintain compliance with all state, hospital and ACGME-mandated duty hours.


The majority of our graduating residents apply for subspecialty fellowships. In recent years our residents have matched at Harvard/MEEI, UCLA, USC, Duke, Johns Hopkins/Wilmer, Weill Cornell, University of Pittsburgh, Columbia, Stanford, University of Michigan, UC-Davis and UCSF for fellowships in neuro-ophthalmology, retina, cornea, glaucoma and pediatrics. In the last 10 years our graduates have performed well above the national average in first-time pass rates on the American Board of Ophthalmology written and oral exams. Many of our graduates have become world-renowned leaders in clinical and academic ophthalmology.

Other Residency Information:

Stipend & Supplies

At the beginning of the residency the department provides the new residents with the latest edition of the multi-volume American Academy of Ophthalmology Basic & Clinical Science Course textbooks, the Wills Eye Manual, as well as a complete set of retinal indirect lenses (90D, 20D) and a 4-mirror gonioscopy lens. A $1000 stipend is also provided to cover equipment and textbook costs over the course of the 3-year residency.

Salary, Housing & Life in NYC

Life in Manhattan is unlike anywhere else in the world and Weill Cornell is uniquely situated within one of the safest, wealthiest, and most vibrant neighborhoods in the city, the Upper East Side. The picturesque neighborhood is home to Central Park, world-class museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum and the Guggenheim, boutique designer shopping along Madison Avenue, the mansions of Park Avenue, and many five-star restaurants. The rest of Manhattan and its countless treasures are all easily accessible from the Upper East Side and the Weill Cornell Medical College campus.

Resident's salary and benefits are determined by the hospital and are quite competitive for New York City. All residents are guaranteed subsidized housing in one of the many Weill Cornell apartment buildings (http://weill.cornell.edu/housing/). The resident housing is amongst the finest in the city, is conveniently located, and is priced well under market value for the neighborhood.

All residents are entitled to four weeks of paid vacation/leave each year.

How to Apply

Applications for residency and fellowship programs must be submitted through the Central Application Service (CAS) of the San Francisco Match (www.sfmatch.org). International medical graduates must first register with the ECFMG (ecfmg.org) and must have a J1 visa (H1B visas are not accepted by the hospital).

Please visit sfmatch.org for more information, application dates, and interview dates.

Please contact our office at 646-962-2053.

For More Information

Please direct all inquiries to:
Phone: 646-962-2053
E-mail: ophthoprograms@med.cornell.edu

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