University of Missouri School of Medicine MU Health School of Medicine

Residency Program


The ophthalmology residency program is a fully accredited three-year program with a prerequisite one-year internship. Three residents are accepted every year. Further information can be obtained by contacting Sheri Samp, Residency Coordinator, Mason Eye Institute, One Hospital Dr., Columbia, Missouri 65212, or by telephone at (573) 882-4688.

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For additional information on the University of Missouri School of Medicine Graduate Medical Education Program, please click here.


Our goals are to develop ophthalmologists who can provide quality eye care and meet the needs of patients both now and in the future, and who can contribute to the field of ophthalmology through participation in research.

The residency program is carefully designed and continually updated to meet and exceed these goals. The Department of Ophthalmology continuously develops improved plans for medical and surgical ophthalmology. A commitment exists to maintain an inventory of state-of-the-art equipment. Research opportunities, in both clinical and basic sciences, are an integral part of the program. Resident physicians are also given exposure to health care settings outside the University of Missouri Health Sciences Center through outreach programs with organizations such as Prevention of Blindness.


The ophthalmology residency program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. It is a three year program, and requires completion of at least one year of internship prior to beginning the residency. All training must be in programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) in the U.S. or the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons (RCPS) in Canada.

The majority of residency training takes place at the University of Missouri facilities and the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans Administration Hospital directly across the street from the Mason Eye Institute.  The VA rotation is four months during the second and third years of training, where they receive a  portion of their surgical experience.

Currently, the residency program is structured as follows:

First Year Rotation

First-year residents become acclimated to ophthalmology and to our facilities through a curriculum that includes seeing a progressively increasing volume of patients, observing in surgery, practicing surgery on animal eyes, seeing patients sent for consultation, emergency clinic, blocks in neuro-ophthalmology, cornea/external diseases, and oculoplastics, and participating in medical student teaching. Indirect lenses are to be purchased before the first year of residency begins and the department will assist in ordering.Surgical experience begins in the first year and includes the completion of a small number of cataract extractions via phacoemulsification and oculoplastic procedures.

Second Year Rotation

The current curriculum for second-year residents includes blocks in comprehensive/pediatric ophthalmology, retina/vitreous, and VA Hospital. Residents also continue to see general clinic patients, both new and return, and to take a more active role in surgeries.

The second-year residents often use their allotted meeting time to attend the one-week basic science course. Second-year residents continue to expand their surgical experiences during the comprehensive/pediatric ophthalmology, retina and VA Hospital rotations. The VA rotation in particular is well known for a wide variety of pathology and a high surgical volume.

Third Year Rotation

Third-year residents participate in rotations through the glaucoma, cornea/external diseases and oculoplastics services, as well as at the VA Hospital. They are also still heavily involved in general patient care and surgery, which is performed under the supervision of attending physicians. Administrative duties are also a part of the third-year resident's routine, as each senior serves as chief resident during one four-month rotation.

In the past, the third-year residents have used their allotted meeting time to attend the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Total surgical experience is well above minimum standards in most areas, an average of 180 cataract extractions representing a realistic number.

Parts of the curriculum are applicable to all three years of the residency; i.e. teaching conferences, lectures, seminars, wetlabs and workshops.

Surgical Experience

The total surgical experience for Mason Eye Institute residents is well above minimum standards in all areas, with an average of 180 cataract extractions being performed. Most residents average approximately 25 core vitrectomies, 100 oculoplastics cases, 20 glaucoma filtering procedures, 10 strabismus surgeries, and numerous corneal transplants.

Medical Faculty

Seven full-time faculty members and six part-time faculty members spearhead the clinical part of the department. They are all board-certified and most possess expertise in one or more subspecialties. An attending faculty physician is available for consultation at all times and attends at every surgical procedure. The faculty includes 3 part-time optometrist, one of whom conducts a Contact Lens Clinic. Local ophthalmologists with clinical faculty appointments donate time to the program as well.

Residents have 4 grossing sessions per year with Douglas Miller, MD, PhD, Professor of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences.  In addition, residents participate in a monthly pathology web conference with Deepak Edwards, M.D.,  professor of ophthalmology at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine and Pharmacy and Chair/Program Director for the Department of Ophthalmology at Summa Health System.

Teaching conferences

      • Monday (8:00-9:00 a.m.) - Faculty lectures
      • Wednesday (8:00-9:00 a.m.) - Faculty lectures
      • Friday (7:30-9:00 a.m.) - Pathology and Grand Rounds (3rd & 4th) Fridays
      • Journal Club is held monthly on a Tuesday night
      • Three times a year, visiting professors
      • Examinations and evaluations

The department participates in the national Ophthalmic Knowledge Assessment Program examination (OKAP), which is administered annually. Evaluations of each resident are made by the faculty every four months to allow each resident to gauge his or her progress in the program.


Each resident is required to complete an annual research project for presentation at the Residents and Alumni Day in May.


First-year residents take call seven nights a month, which includes one weekend and four weekdays. Second-year residents take call three nights a month, either one weekend or three week days. Third-year residents take back-up call every third week. Call is taken from home. Overall, call is quite manageable, though occasionally a weekend will be busy.

Stipends and Benefits

Currently, the salary structure is as follows:

      • PGY-2, $52,797
      • PGY-3, $54,538
      • PGY-4, $56,781

As employees of the University of Missouri, residents are entitled to all employee benefits. Among these are various types of insurance plans, sick leave, access to University facilities and employee discounts. Membership to the University fitness center is currently $7 per month.

Each resident (PGY-2) will be awarded a professional allowance. The purpose of this allowance is to assist with continuing education costs, such as meetings/travel. American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) meeting, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) meeting, books, journals, indirect lenses, etc. The Department works with residents to purchase their indirect lenses for use in the clinic and surgery.

In addition to the above professional allowance, the department provides the following books at the beginning of residency:

      • Thirteen-volume set of Basic and Clinical Science Course Books

A presentation travel bonus for first authors that covers actual travel expenses is available, as is a $500 outstanding presentation award at the annual Residents and Alumni Day. The department also pays expenses associated with research projects, including poster preparation, slides, literature searches and animals, etc.

Each resident is allowed 15 days of vacation time and five days of meeting time. Additionally, the resident physicians are allotted eight national holidays per year, of which each resident works one holiday and receives the remaining seven as vacation. Residents who present papers or posters at meetings are awarded additional meeting time - the meeting days and, if applicable, travel days to and from the meeting.

Surgical Experience

The total surgical experience for Mason Eye Institute residents is well above minimum standards in almost all surgical subspecialty areas.

The following are averages for our residents for different types of surgeries (Class I)

Surgery Average Class I Average Class I (at Mason Eye over 3 years) ACGME minimum
Cataracts 180 86
Corneal surgeries 7 8 (5 keratoplasty and 3 pterygium)
Keratorefractive Surgery 6 6
Strabismus 53 10
Glaucoma Filtering 21 5
Glaucoma Laser - trabeculoplasty 7 5
Glaucoma Laser - iridotomy 13 4
YAG Laser - capsulotomy 8 5
Retina/Vitreous 25 10
Retina Laser - PRP 17 10
Retina - Intravitreal Injections 125 10
Oculoplastics/Orbit 103 28
Oculoplastic/Orbit - Eyelid laceration 4 3
Oculoplastic/Orbit - Chalazion 14 3
Oculoplastic/Orbit - Ptosis/blepharoplasty 27 3
Globe Trauma 6 4



The Mason Eye Institute, housing the Mason Eye Clinic, Mizzou Optical, departmental and research offices, opened in June 1982. The clinic features 18 fully-equipped refracting lanes, a contact lens suite, a low vision room, an imaging area for photography/angiography, endothelial cell counts, and OCT and a minor procedure room and laser suite, ultrasonography and both Goldmann and automated visual field testing.

University Eye Institute East recently moved into lts new location at 3215 Wingate Court, Columbia, Missouri.  This clinic features 16 fully-equipped refracting lanes, a laser suite, an imaging suite, equipment for ultrasonography and visual field testing, and visual electrophysiology diagnostic testing.

The Mason Eye Institute and Eye Institute East see approximately 26,000 patients each year. This provides the residents an excellent opportunity to encounter many varied case types and pathologies during their training. More than 450 eye surgeries are performed at the University of Missouri Health Sciences Center annually the Missouri Center for Outpatient Surgery, Women's and Children's Hospital and the Main OR. The VA Hospital has a complete eye clinic with three refracting lanes, a photo-angiography/perimetry area, an argon laser and A and B scan ultrasound.

The VA Hospital provides a large portion of the resident's clinical and surgical experience, with more than 6,000 patients seen annually and 400 surgeries performed. Some of the services and equipment include:

      • 12 eye exam lanes
      • YAG Laser, Frequency Doubled YAG (green) Laser
      • IOLMaster
      • Pentacam
      • OPD-Scan II Wavefront analyzer
      • Confocal microscope
      • Slit-lamp camera
      • OCT (optical coherence tomography)
      • A-scan, Immersion A-scan, B-scan
      • Minor surgery suite
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