Harvard Ophthalmology Residency Training Program

JWM 20office 20websizedA mastery of surgical competencies and leadership skills define our program. Residents graduate with surgical numbers at or above the 70th percentile nationally, and ready to make their mark.”

Joan W. Miller, MD, FARVO 
David Glendenning Cogan Professor of Ophthalmology
Chief and Chair of Ophthalmology
Harvard Medical School
Massachusetts Eye and Ear
Massachusetts General Hospital


Dear Residency Applicant:

The Harvard Ophthalmology Residency Training Program is one of the premier Ophthalmology training programs in the country. Directed by Carolyn Kloek, MD and co-directed by Alice Lorch, MD, the program offers trainees a stellar educational experience under the mentorship of some of the finest faculty in the country. Chief Resident Tomasz Stryjewski, MD, serves as a mentor, teacher, and peer resource to the 24 residents.

With an emphasis on leadership, we want our trainees to excel in today’s increasingly complex and global healthcare environment. We achieve this goal by providing residents with dynamic, hands-on learning; broad clinical and surgical exposure; a first-rate mentoring program; and unparalleled research and training opportunities. In fact, with our innovative surgical program, our residents graduate with surgical numbers, including cataract surgery, at >70% nationally.

Many of our faculty members are internationally recognized experts in subspecialty areas such as macular degeneration, inherited retinal degenerations, diabetic eye disease, ocular surface disease, glaucoma, oculoplastics, ocular genetics, pediatric ophthalmology, ocular melanoma, ocular pathology, and refractive, cataract, and corneal surgery. They are dedicated to education, and residents work with them in clinic and in OR.

Harvard Ophthalmology is home to the largest eye research group in the world. Here, trainees are strongly encouraged to pursue novel scientific and clinical investigations, and their efforts often lead to first-author publications in high impact journals. Many residents are also invited to present at national meetings and conferences such as the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Ophthalmology. 

In addition, major advances in ophthalmology care have come from our clinician scientists, including breakthrough drugs for age-related macular degeneration and the development of the Boston Keratoprosthesis, the most widely used artificial cornea in the world.

Not content with the status quo, we continually seek to improve our residents’ overall clinical experience. For example, over the last several years, we have spearheaded programs that focus on developing cognitive and technical surgical skills outside of the OR. These innovations, ranging from a streamlined step-wise surgical curriculum to surgical simulation training to a structured surgical training facility mentored by faculty, have allowed residents to gain confidence and polish their skills in a safe environment, and have enhanced the quality of their OR experience. Since implementing these programs, we’ve experienced a surge in the number of surgeries performed. The Harvard Ophthalmology residency program graduating class of AY16 performed, on average, over 550 primary surgical procedures.

The Samuel and Nancy Jo Altschuler Ophthalmology Surgical Training Laboratory at Mass. Eye and Ear features state-of-the-art surgical training equipment for Harvard Ophthalmology residents, Mass. Eye and Ear fellows, and practicing surgeons. With nine workstations—including a proctor station with advanced audio-visual controls, as well as a surgical simulator and training machines for vitrectomy and cataract surgeries, the facility is expanding training opportunities in new and exciting ways.

Although most of their time is spent at Mass. Eye and Ear, Harvard Ophthalmology’s multi-affiliate structure offers residents the unique opportunity to rotate through six world-class academic institutions, including Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Boston Children’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, and Veterans Affairs Maine Healthcare System. Diverse patient populations give residents exposure to a wide range of pathologies and enable them to fine-tune their clinical and surgical skills while providing care in a variety of hospital settings.

Most of the time, residents are at Mass. Eye and Ear, the major tertiary care center for ocular trauma in New England and the region’s only dedicated eye emergency room open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Here, residents receive excellent training in the medical and surgical management of ocular trauma. Most of our senior residents gain additional clinical and surgical experience in an international setting during an elective rotation at Aravind Eye Hospital in India, the largest eye care hospital in the world.

We are continually evolving courses and conferences, and adding new educational opportunities to keep our program dynamic and residents inspired. Over the last several years, we’ve boosted our didactic offerings by more than 30 percent with new lectures, workshops, seminars and symposiums. Programs span enduring educational venues such as the Lancaster Course―now in its 70th year―to new and highly collaborative symposiums on AMD, ocular genetics and ocular regeneration that draw esteemed international participants.

And what happens after graduation? We are very proud of the fact that 85 to 90 percent of our resident graduates pursue subspecialty fellowship training and go on to become recognized leaders in Ophthalmology, both in academic centers and in clinical practice. In the last four years, the Heed Ophthalmic Foundation has awarded 28 percent of its Heed Fellowships to Harvard Ophthalmology-affiliated trainees. In addition, about 27 percent of current Ophthalmology Chairs in the United States and Canada are Harvard Ophthalmology alumni―striking testimony to the strength of our program and the caliber of our graduates who are well prepared to excel in clinical, research, and leadership roles at other institutions.  

If you’re looking to gain a world class education in the field of Ophthalmology, one that will prepare you to provide exceptional patient care, teach and mentor those who will follow you, and contribute to future treatments and cures that will help eliminate blinding disease around the world, then we look forward to hearing from you! If you have questions, please contact the Ophthalmic Education office at 617-573-3966. Good luck in your search.