J Clin Acad Ophthalmol 2016; 08(01): e42-e45
DOI: 10.1055/s-0036-1593729
Research Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Match Success Trends in United States Ophthalmology Residency Programs

Todd H. Driver1, Allison R. Loh2, Fei Yu1, Steven D. Pletcher3, Ayman Naseri4, 5
  • 1Stein-Doheny Eye Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
  • 2Department of Ophthalmology, Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon
  • 3Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California
  • 4Department of Ophthalmology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California
  • 5Department of Ophthalmology, San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, California
Further Information

Publication History

19 October 2015

29 August 2016

Publication Date:
25 October 2016 (online)


Background Medical students in the United States are inconsistently exposed to ophthalmology. Not only is this eroding U.S. medical graduates' ability to diagnose and treat ophthalmologic conditions, it may potentially affect interest in the specialty.

Methods To assess medical student's interest in pursuing ophthalmology training, this study sought to evaluate the match rate trend among U.S. medical school seniors applying into a U.S. ophthalmology residency and compare the trend to another traditionally competitive surgical subspecialty, otolaryngology (ENT).

Results From 2009 to 2013, the rate of successful residency matching for ophthalmology increased (12% increase per year in the odds of matching [95% CI: 1.04, 1.20]), while the ENT match rate decreased (7% decrease per year in the odds of matching (95% CI: 0.87–0.99). The ophthalmology match rate increased despite the fact that the expansion in the number of graduating U.S. medical students outpaced the increasing number of ophthalmology and ENT residency positions.

Conclusion The increasing match rate in ophthalmology is surprising and suggests that U.S. medical student's interest in ophthalmology may be waning. Future investigations are needed to determine the reasons behind the increasing match rate and the potential decreasing interest of medical students toward ophthalmology.


This study was supported by an unrestricted grant from the Research to Prevent Blindness, New York, NY. Allison R. Loh is supported by unrestricted departmental funding from the Research to Prevent Blindness (New York, NY) and by grant P30 EY010572 from the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, MD).