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UC Irvine's Gavin Herbert Eye Institute and Department of Ophthalmology offers fellowship training to well-qualified physicians in the subspecialties of cornea, glaucoma and retina. These selective programs emphasize both clinical training and research.

We take into consideration performance on the Ophthalmic Knowledge Assessment Program (OKAP) test and the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), letters of recommendation and personal statements, as well as Central Application Services (CAS) applications, before extending an interview offer.

Cornea Fellowship Program »

The Corneal and External Disease Fellowship is a 12-month program that begins in July. Fellows accepted into this service receive complete training in the evaluation and management of medical and surgical problems of the anterior segment.

Each fellow works with four members of the cornea faculty: department chairman Roger F. Steinert, MD; Marjan Farid, MD; Sumit Garg, MD, and Matthew Wade, MD. Fellows run cornea clinics at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange and at the VA Long Beach Healthcare System under faculty supervision. Teaching opportunities include working with our highly motivated ophthalmology residents.

By working in a referral practice, fellows gain hands-on experience with patient management of infectious and inflammatory disease processes, pre-operative and post-operative care, complicated cataract surgery, corneal transplants, surgical management of dislocated intraocular lenses, anterior segment reconstruction, conventional penetrating keratoplasty (PKP), Intralase®-assisted PKP, Descemet's stripping endothelial keratoplasty and refractive surgery.

Each fellow is expected to initiate a research program or participate in ongoing ocular research efforts. The department emphasizes research in areas related to biomedical engineering, especially in the area of laser surgical techniques and therapies.

The backgrounds and needs of our applicants vary, but there are many opportunities available so that each fellow can tailor an effective program of clinical and research projects to pursue.

Glaucoma Fellowship Program »

The Glaucoma Fellowship is a 12-month program that begins in July. UC Irvine glaucoma fellows gain broad and in-depth experience in the evaluation and management of the multiple medical and surgical problems related to glaucoma.

Fellows work with glaucoma experts Sameh Mosaed, MD, and Ken Lin, MD, PhD. They have one-on-one interaction with these faculty members at our glaucoma clinic at Gottschalk Medical Plaza on the Irvine campus, at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange and at the VA in Long Beach. Teaching opportunities include working with the residents in the glaucoma specialty clinics.

Glaucoma fellows, working in a referral practice, gain experience in all aspects of the disease, including pediatric cases. Surgical experience includes goniotomies, trabeculotomies and many combined procedures, including lens extraction and posterior segment intervention with our retinal service physicians. Interaction with other subspecialty areas such as neuro-ophthalmology, cornea and retina, is encouraged.

Research is heavily emphasized for our glaucoma fellows. We have ongoing clinical studies in glaucoma drug treatment and surgery. Our basic science projects involve diagnostic techniques to asses nerve fiber layer and the optic disc. We have a strong track record in the use of various types of lasers to treat glaucoma. We also are studying the basic science of glaucoma implants and innovative new medical and surgical techniques. Assessments of novel approaches to glaucoma surgery for primary surgical procedures are underway.

Our program is tailored to each fellow’s strengths and clinical and research interests. One day a week is set aside for ongoing research projects.

Oculofacial Plastic and Orbital Surgery Fellowship Program »

The American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS) endorsed fellowship is 24-months in duration and covers the full spectrum of orbit, eyelid, and lacrimal disease, as well as oculofacial cosmetic surgery. A formal didactic curriculum and rich academic atmosphere supplement high volume clinical and surgical training. Dr. Jeremiah Tao is the fellowship director and Dr. Ken Feldman is the secondary preceptor.  Dr. John Park and Dr. Eli Chang are additional ASOPRS member preceptors.

The fellow gains high volume, hands-on experiences at diverse teaching hospitals, facilities, and healthcare systems. UC Irvine Medical Center is a level-1 trauma center with the full gamut of facial trauma and other oculofacial and orbital disease. The VA Long Beach provides a high-volume source of functional disease. Kaiser Foundation is a large managed care system with a broad range of functional disease and some cosmetic oculoplastic surgery. Gavin Herbert Eye Institute (GHEI) is a new state-of-the-art facility that houses a dedicated aesthetic oculoplastic center, full ORs, a wet lab, and conference rooms. At GHEI, the fellow sees a full spectrum of tertiary ophthalmic plastics as well as cosmetic surgery. The patient populations at the various sites make up a broad range of age, demographic and socioeconomic groups. All sites are approximately 20-30 minutes drive time, except Kaiser that is approximately 40 minutes away from the other sites.

The surgical volume is heavy with the fellow assigned to scheduled OR time of 4 of 5 weekdays. The typical weekly schedule is as follows: Monday (VA Long Beach clinic in AM, OR in PM), Tuesday (AM research time, PM clinic), Wednesday (OR at Kaiser), Thursday (OR at UCI Medical Center), and Friday (OR at GHEI). Some Saturdays, the fellow participates with scheduled OR at UCIMC or VA or both.

Primary fellow cases at all sites drive high levels of surgical competence. These are coupled to extensive assistant surgeon cases that provide an exceptionally balanced and diverse surgical experience. The following is the approximate case type distribution: orbital 10%, trauma cases 10%, anophthalmic socket 10%, lacrimal 20%, reconstructive eyelid 30%, and aesthetic eyelid and facial 20%.

Formal didactics, including journal club, M & M, grand rounds, and case-based conferences complement the clinical learning. Wet labs, including a cadaver course, are also part of the curriculum.

The fellow has opportunities to conduct meaningful research. Basic science opportunities are available through the ophthalmology department that houses a full research division. Unique opportunities with device development are available given the abundant local ophthalmic device and tech industry in Orange County CA. Funding is available for research endeavors.

The base salary is $40,000 in year one and $45,000 in year two, with significant additional income available. The fellow also receives benefits, medical malpractice, with other administrative covered. Additionally, funds are available for meeting travel and research activities. Paid leave for vacation is also offered.

In summary, the ASOPRS fellowship at UC Irvine offers a diverse and high volume ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive educational experience. The academic environment and research opportunities at UC Irvine foster innovation and teaching skills, as well as prepare the graduate to be an outstanding oculoplastic and orbital specialty surgeon.

Retina Fellowship Program »

The Gavin Herbert Eye Institute also offers clinical/surgical vitreo-retinal fellowships and others devoted primarily to vitreo-retinal research. All are 24-month programs.

Clinical and surgical training is supervised by Baruch Kuppermann, MD, Stephanie Lu, MD, Mitul Mehta, MD, Andrew Browne, MD, PhD, and Dr. Mohammad Riazi at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Gottschalk Medical Plaza on the Irvine campus and at the VA Long Beach Healthcare System. Fellows receive extensive clinical and surgical experience in treating vitreo-retinal diseases and they perform a large number of laser and surgical procedures in all areas of retinal disease.

Clinical fellows also are expected to engage in research. Time is set aside for conducting experiments and writing manuscripts, typically two or three half days each week. Clinical fellows conduct their research primarily at the department's research laboratories at the medical center in Orange, working with Dr. Kuppermann and M. Cristina Kenney, MD.

One U.S. board-eligible ophthalmologist is accepted as a clinical/surgical fellow each year and one international retinal fellow is accepted every other year. International fellows must have completed a retina fellowship in their home country.

Retinal research fellows, working under the supervision of Drs. Kenney and Kuppermann, have a choice of areas in which to conduct their research. Current research fellows spend about 80 percent of their time engaged in research, about 10 percent seeing clinical patients and the remaining 10 percent observing vitreo-retinal surgery.

To apply for an international fellowship, please e-mail your CV and subspecialty of interest to Department of Ophthalmology personnel analyst Elise Smith at

Fellowship Eligibility Requirements »

Ophthalmology fellowship applicants must have:

Fellowship Application Procedures »

All fellowship applicants must register with and apply through San Francisco Match. Applications should be received by the department by the end of August 2013.

Send supplemental materials — scores on the Ophthalmic Knowledge Assessment Program (OKAP), a CV and a photograph — via e-mail to:

Doris Romo
Medical Education Program Coordinator
Department of Ophthalmology
850 Health Sciences Road
Irvine, CA 92697
Phone: 949-824-0158
Fax: 949-824-4015

Interview Process  »

Applicants are notified by e-mail if they are selected for personal interviews with faculty members.

Travel Information

Fellowship Health Benefits »

Choices for health, vision and dental insurance are available through the Veteran’s Administration at additional cost.

Life insurance is provided at no additional cost to the fellow.

Long-term disability insurance is offered at an additional cost through the University of California Regents.

Fellows are provided with professional liability coverage for all activities that are approved components of the fellowship program.

Other benefits include:

  • Two weeks of vacation and an academic leave each year
  • Financial support to attend major scientific meetings when the fellow is a first author on a paper or abstract
  • Use of the campus recreational center

Meet our 2010-11 residents & fellows 

Meet our 2012-13 residents & fellows

Meet our 2013-14 residents & fellows

Meet our 2014-15 residents & fellows

Meet our 2015-16 residents & fellows

Meet our 2017-18 residents & fellows


For further inquiries please contact:

Marjan Farid, MD
Cornea Fellowship Program Director
Department of Ophthalmology

Baruch Kuppermann, MD, PhD
Retina Fellowship Program Director
Department of Ophthalmology

Sameh Mosaed, MD
Glaucoma Fellowship Program Director
Department of Ophthalmology

Jeremiah Tao, MD
Oculoplastics Fellowship Program Director
Department of Ophthalmology

Doris Romo
Residency/Fellowship Coordinator
Department of Ophthalmology
UC Irvine School of Medicine
850 Health Sciences Road
Irvine, CA 92697
Phone: 949-824-0158
Fax: 949-824-4015