The University of Arizona



The University of Arizona College of Medicine at South Campus (UACOMSC) offers a three-year ophthalmology residency program combining clinical training, academic activities, and research opportunities. Two first year positions are available at the PGY-2 level.

The program is located in Tucson, Arizona. Tucson is a medium-sized (over 1 million people), sun-belt city where the lifestyle is relaxed, the dress casual, and the cost of living affordable. Leisure activities center around the outdoors and the surrounding desert. The UA is a huge resource and brings many cultural events to the city.

The UA Department of Ophthalmology attending clinical staff consists of six full-time members. There are two full-time research faculty, two full-time optometrists, a large associate staff of volunteer faculty, and a supporting staff of technical personnel. There are three full-time and seven part-time physicians at the Southern Veterans Administration Health Care System (SAVAHCS). Three affiliated hospitals -- Banner-University Medical Center Tucson (BUMCT), Banner-University Medical Center South (BUMCS) and SAVAHCS -- with active inpatient/outpatient services, as well as research and teaching facilities, are involved in the residency program.

The Department of Ophthalmology is a major southwestern referral center. Residents participate in state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic interventions with patients. The residents will interact with the residents of the UA Program, cross-cover for their respective institutions, and share a common didactic program.


University Hospital Photo
Banner-University Medical Center

Surgery Ctr Photo
Alvernon Surgery Center

Consultations, emergency visits, and outpatient surgery are performed at the Banner-University Medical Center Tucson. This facility, located near the campus of the University of Arizona, is adjacent to the University of Arizona College of Medicine, and affords all the benefits of a university teaching hospital. In the hospital, eye rooms are in the inpatient area as well as in the emergency room. An ambulatory surgery center is located across the street from the ophthalmological clinics on Alvernon.

The Banner-University Medical Center South has inpatient, outpatient, and surgical facilities. This facility is staffed by attendings and first and second year residents. During the first year of residency training, the majority of the time is spent at the outpatient ophthalmological clinics on Alvernon. Emergency room coverage is provided by resident call.

South Campus Hospital Photo
Banner - University Medical Center

Alvernon Clinic Photo
Alvernon Physician Offices


The Southern Arizona Veterans Administration Healthcare System maintains a fully staffed outpatient and inpatient surgical facility, and is staffed by third year residents and University attendings.

VA Photo
Southern Arizona Veterans
Administration Health Care System

Academic Program

The foundation of the residency didactic program is weekly rounds and lectures every Friday morning. Residents present clinical cases weekly at rounds on Wednesday mornings. The Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Science also sponsors Grand Rounds and evening lectures programs with visiting speakers, and both are venues for interaction with the community physicians. Semi-annual oral exams are given to measure resident progress. Residents take the OKAP exam annually.

The Department has a 40-person conference room with multimedia capability. There is a resident office with computers with Internet access, and an on-site library with recent ophthalmic publications and references.

Clinical Training

During the three-year residency, residents assume increasing responsibility for patient care. Beginning residents are closely supervised, and then given increasing autonomy as they demonstrate proficiency and understanding. Residents prepare case presentations, organize journal clubs, and assist in teaching medical students rotating through ophthalmology. In addition, senior residents, with faculty supervision, are expected to supervise and teach junior residents. Faculty are assigned and available for ocnsultation with the residents on all rotations.

Retinoscopy Photo

Slit Lamp Photo

The first year (PGY-2) resident performs complete ocular examinations in the outpatient facilities, becoming proficient in gonioscopy, indirect ophthalmoscopy, tonometry, biomicroscopy, refraction, and physiologic testing. The resident rotates through the Alvernon clinics, SAVAHCS for a continuity care clinic and oculoplastics, and the office of Fishkind, Bakewell and Maltzman Eye Care and Surgery Center for refractive surgery. The resident gains extensive experience in evaluating walk-in and emergency patients on a daily basis. The earliest encounters with ocular trauma are during the first year; and there is exposure to the subspecialty services, including glaucoma, cornea and external disease, neuro-ophthalmology, retina, oculoplastics, pediatrics, and contact lenses. The resident begins assisting at surgery during this year, and performs minor surgical procedures.

The second year (PGY-3) resident rotates through general, glaucoma, cornea and external disease, pediatric, and retina rotations at the Ophthalmology clinics. The resident participates in rotations at Retina Associates Southwest and Cornea Associates. The resident also participates in a continuity care clinic and oculoplastics at SAVAHCS.

Eye Exam Photo

Surgery Photo

During their third year (PGY-4), the resident serves as Chief Resident for three months, and manages the clinics at SAVAHCS for nine months. The resident at this stage of training performs surgery under faculty supervision. Based on the problem, the resident's experience, and attending preference, there will be successive levels of autonomy. The resident will be involved with the pre-operative and post-operative care of each surgery performed. As Chief Resident, the resident will have responsibility for scheduling their clinical and surgical responsibilities. They will be given blocks of time each week for administrative responsibilities. They will also assist in supervising the junior residents. At the conclusion of the third year, the residents are expected to be able to enter practice without direct supervision.

International Experience

We are fortunate to have a faculty member who practices in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, and who hosts our first year (PGY-2) residents for “Immersion Ophthalmic Spanish” for one to two weeks. The second year (PGY-3) residents participate in an international education experience for one week. This experience allows residents to treat rural and underserved patients.


Click here to read the newsletter about the second year residents' international experience at Kino Bay, from January 6-9, 2016.



The faculty of the University of Arizona Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Science firmly believe that research experience is essential for developing an appreciation of medical literature and scientific methods. The Department subsidizes residents to present their research at national meetings.

University of Arizona clinical faculty have varied research interests in the areas of cornea, cataract surgery, refractive surgery, myopia, glaucoma, infectious diseases, optics, amblyopia, dry eyes, and neuro-ophthalmology. Our research faculty have special interests in the area of optics, cell biology, glaucoma, and visual development. The Department has a very active clinical studies program with special emphasis in Hispanic and Native American eye conditions. The Department has ongoing collaborations with the University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Pharmacology, and Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering.

Optical Sciences Center Photo
College of Optical Sciences   


During the first and second year, call is approximately one night per eight days and one weekend per two months taken from home, covering the three affiliated hospitals. During the third year, weekday and weekend call is approximately one day/week in four for surgical backup, again taken from home.


Residents are employees of Banner Healthcare, and receive 20 days of vacation a year, all scheduled through the Chief Resident and Residency Program Director. There are six holidays per year. Other benefits include medical and dental insurance, professional liability insurance, maternity/paternity leave, and lab coats. Stipends for the academic year 2016-2017 are as follows: PGY-2 $56,650; PGY-3 $59,225; PGY-4 $62,006.

At the University, residents hold designated campus colleague appointments, providing access to the University of Arizona Library and the campus recreation center, as well as other privileges.The program provides residents 10 days per year of sick leave. Educational leave to make presentations at national meetings is available, and, upon Department approval, a travel allotment is provided.


It is a requirement of the program that residents must have satisfactorily completed a PGY-1 program approved by the ACGME. The University of Arizona requires that foreign medical graduates have a valid ECFMG certificate (at time of application), as well as pass the USMLE. Only J-1 visas are sponsored. The Department does not sponsor H1 visas.


The University of Arizona College of Medicine at South Campus Program is a fully accredited residency program.  The program was reviewed in 2012 and re-accredited through the year 2020.

Application Procedure

We accept applications exclusively through the Central Application Service (CAS) of the Ophthalmology Matching Program. We exclusively use the Central Application Service. The address of the Central Application Service is Ophthalmology Matching Program, PO Box 7584, San Francisco, California 94120, phone (415) 447-0350. Information about the Ophthalmology Matching Program can be obtained on their website at  Their application can be downloaded at The application deadline for our residency program beginning in July 2016 is to have the CAS application complete by mid-October.

Resident Selection

Interviews are granted to selected applicants after initial review of completed applications by the faculty. A personal, on-site interview is required. The Ophthalmology Matching Program is used to match all incoming residents.  Interviews are typically held on Friday and Saturday of the second weekend in December.  Each applicant interviews with the full-time clinical faculty, several of the research faculty, and meets all of the current residents.

Internship Opportunities in Tucson

The Tucson Hospitals Medical Education Program (THMEP) offers a transitional year. For more information, contact THMEP at 5301 E. Grant Road, Tucson, Arizona 85712, phone (520) 324-5095, or visit their website (



Research Interests

Todd Altenbernd , MD
Assistant Professor
Residency Program Director


John Christoforidis, MD
Associate Professor

Dr. Christoforidis' research interests include intravitreal properties of treatments used for macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, systemic effects of intravitreal anti-VEGF therapy, and imaging of retinal vascular occlusions.

Harold E. Cross, MD, PhD

Dr. Cross heads the Medical Student Teaching Program.

Erin M. Harvey, PhD
Associate Professor
Ophthalmology and Vision Science,
    and Public Health
Visual Development

The research interests of Erin Harvey are vision screening, critical periods for the treatment of amblyopia in children, measurements of visual deficits in children with amblyopia and astigmatism, and visual perception.

Brian S. McKay, PhD
Research Associate Professor
Ophthalmology and Vision Science,
    and Cell Biology and Anatomy
Neurodegenerative Diseases
    of the Eye

Dr. McKay conducts research in RPE transplantation methods for AMD therapy, and protein expression in glaucoma.

Joseph M. Miller, MD, MPH
Professor and Head
Ophthalmology and Vision Science
Professor, Optical Sciences, and Public Health
Visual Development

Dr. Miller's research interests include normal visual development, the treatment of strabismus and amblyopia, the effect of refractive error on visual development, and the development and evaluation of ophthalmic instruments.

Richard R. Ober, MD

Dr. Ober's research interests include diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, retinal detachment, and vitreoretinal trauma.

Jim T. Schwiegerling, PhD
Associate Professor
Optical Sciences
    and Ophthalmology and Vision Science

Dr. Schwiegerling's research interests are in the area of optical properties of the eye, including raytracing analysis, corneal topography, and wavefront sensing.  Applications include intraoperative and post-operative measurement of corneal shape and customized ablation for refractive surgery.

Rand W. Siekert, OD
General Eye Exams, Contact Lens Care, including keratoconus, aphakia, and post corneal transplants

Dr. Siekert's interests include refractive surgery, as well as complicated contact lens fitting.

Jordana Smith, MD
Assistant Professor
Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus


J. Daniel Twelker, OD, PhD
Associate Professor
Ophthalmology and Vision Science,
    and Public Health
Visual Development

Dr. Twelker's research interests include refractive error in Native American children and pediatric refractive problems.

Le Yu , MD
Assistant Professor
General Ophthalmology

Dr. Yu's interests include complications in cataract surgery, and teaching and assessing competence in cataract surgery.



3rd Year Residents (PGY-4)

Claudia Prospero Ponce, MD
Medical School: 
Ignacio A. Santos School of Medicine, Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (2003-2010)
PGY-1: University of Arizona (2013-2014)

William Stevenson, MD
:  BS, Wichita State University (2002-2006)
Medical School:  University of Kansas School of Medicine (2006-2010)
PGY-1: University of Arizona (2013-2014)

2nd Year Residents (PGY-3)

Jillian Wang, MD
:  BS, Case Western University (2006-2010)
Medical School:  Ohio State University College of Medicine (2010-2014)
PGY-1: University of Cincinnati Medical Center (2014-2015)

Samuel Werner, MD
:  BS, University of Washington (2007-2009)
Medical School:  University of Washington School of Medicine (2010-2014)
PGY-1: Tucson Hospitals Medical Education Program (THMEP) (2014-2015)

1st Year Residents

Colin McInnis, MD
:  BA, Carroll College (2007-2011)
Medical School:  University of Washington School of Medicine (2011-2015)
PGY-1: Tucson Hospital Medicall Education Program (THMEP) (2015-2016)

Kyla Teramoto, MD
:  BS, Santa Clara University (2008-2011)
Medical School:  University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine (2011-2015)
PGY-1: University of Hawaii (2014-2015)

Residents Starting July 2017

Alex Beazer, MD
:  BS, Brigham Young University (2005-2006, 2008-2011)
Medical School:  Tulane University School of Medicine (2012-2016)
PGY-1: Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center (2016-2017)

Jessica Lien, MD
:  BS, University of Wisconsin-Madison (2006-2011)
Medical School:  University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (2012-2016)
PGY-1: Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation (2016-2017)


Residents Photo

The University of Arizona

Founded in 1885, The University of Arizona is ranked by the National Science Foundation as one of the top 25 academic universities in the nation. It is Arizona’s Land Grant university.

A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, the UA annually receives more than $160 million in outside grants. Nearly one-third of this amount is generated by the College of Medicine. The University is known for its achievements in archeology, arid land studies, astronomy, biotechnology, classics, dendrochronology, material science, music, neuroscience, optical science, philosophy, planetary science, sociology, and speech and hearing sciences.

The UA’s 1,300 faculty members serve nearly 35,000 students in 134 undergraduate, 141 masters, and 99 doctoral programs. The University’s 11 colleges and 8 schools are located on a grassy 334-acre campus in the heart of Tucson, several blocks south of the Arizona Health Sciences Center.

In addition to the vast research and educational facilities, the University also offers students and the community a variety of entertainment, cultural, educational, and artistic opportunities through Centennial Hall, Arizona Center for Creative Photography, the Grace H. Flandrau Planetarium, the Arizona State Museum, the Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum, the Mineral Museum, and The University of Arizona Museum of Art.

To promote physical fitness among students, faculty, and staff, the University recently built a multimillion dollar Recreation Center that offers a 7,000  sq.ft. exercise room with state-of-the-art weight equipment, squash courts, 3,000 sq.ft. of aerobics, Olympic-sized outdoor pool, 14 racquetball courts, and an indoor track.

The UA is also the home of the Wildcat basketball, football, and baseball teams. UA athletics rank among the nation’s top 10 total sports programs. The UA organizes intercollegiate teams in 8 men’s and 9 women’s sports.

College of Medicine

In 1962, the Arizona Board of Regents granted authorization to The University of Arizona to develop a College of Medicine. Ground was broken in May 1996 for the Basic Sciences Building, which was completed in September 1967 and occupied that same month by the 32 students of the first class.  In May 1971, the MD degree was granted to the members of the first graduating class; to-date more than 1,600 students have been graduated. The College of Medicine presently has an enrollment of more than 350 full-time medical students. In addition, the College of Medicine has 38 programs with 287 residents, 74 fellows, and 76 interns.  The Arizona Health Sciences Center complex consists of several interconnected buildings, on a 30-acre site just north of the main campus. These consist of the Basic Sciences Building, the Clinical Sciences Building, Outpatient Clinics, University Medical Center, the Arizona Cancer Center, Life Sciences North, the College of Nursing, and the College of Pharmacy.  A new Children's Research Center and library have recently been completed. The Arizona Health Sciences Center Library holds 165,000 volumes and 3,500 journals and is open 24 hours daily, except on Christmas and New Year's Day. The new medical library is one of the best medical libraries in the country. A new Heart Center is in the planning stages.

History of the Department

The Department is one of the youngest in the College of Medicine.  The Department of Ophthalmology was founded on July 1, 1982.  Prior to that time, it was a section within the Department of Surgery.  The first ophthalmologist to join the full-time faculty in 1973 was Harold E. Cross, MD, PhD, who served as Section Chief.  The residency program opened December 1973 with one resident, Dr. Lee Smalley, and Dr. Alan Crebo was added as the second first year resident in July 1974. Thereafter, two residents were recruited each year.

In 1979, Jonathan Herschler, MD replaced Dr. Cross as Section Chief, and in February 1982 following the Regents' approval of the Department, Dr. Herschler was made the first Administrative Head of the Department of Ophthalmology.  In 1984, Albert Potts, MD became Acting Head of the Department, and in 1985, Barton L. Hodes, MD was appointed as Department Head.  In 1989, Robert W. Snyder, MD, PhD was appointed Acting Head.  Following a national search, Dr. Snyder was appointed Head of the Department of Ophthalmology in July 1991.

In 1991, Joseph M. Miller, MD, MPH was appointed Director of the Residency Program.  His highest priority was to establish a solid educational opportunity for the residents.  In 2003, Robert I. Park, MD was appointed as Director of the Residency Program.  Since 1991 and with the addition of new faculty members, there has been a greater emphasis on excellence in clinical care within the Department.  In 2002, Dr. Noecker was named as Associate Chair for Clinical Activities, with Dr. Snyder refocusing his efforts on research and development and the creation of a University of Arizona Center of Excellence. After 15 years as Head, Dr. Snyder stepped down in 2004, and Dr. Joseph Miller was appointed Head. Lynn Polonski, MD was named Associate Chair for Clinical Activities and W. Daniel Stamer, PhD, as Vice Head for Research. In 2005, the Department was renamed the Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Science. When Dr. Park resigned in 2007, Richard Ober, MD, was appointed as Director of the Residency Program. In July 2013, Dr. Richard Ober resigned as UA Program Director (in anticipation of retirement), and Dr. Patrick Tsai was appointed Program Director. In August 2016, Dr. Tsai joined a private practice and Dr. Joseph Miller became Interim Program Director.

In 2008, the Department was approved for a residency program at UPH Hospital at Kino, and Dr. Joseph Miller was Program Director. Four residents started the program in July 2009; with two PGY-2 residents recruited each of the following years. In June 2010, the first resident graduated. In August 2010, Dr. Todd Altenbernd was appointed as the Program Director. In July 2011, the program began with a full complement of six residents.



Post-Residency Position



Clara Choo, MD

Glaucoma Fellowship

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

Whitney Smith, MD

Refractive Fellowship

Updegraff Laser Vision, St. Petersburg, FL


Fatimah Gilani, MD

Cornea Fellowship


William McSwain, MD

Private Practice Group

Tucson, AZ


Shivi Agrawal, MD

Cornea Fellowship

Private Practice Group

Price Vision Group, Indianapolis, IN

Tucson, AZ

Deepak Sobti, MD

Oculoplastic and Orbital Surgery/Neuro-ophthalmology Fellowship

University of Texas Southwestern-Dallas


Lorna Grant, MD

Medical Retina Fellowship

University of Iowa

Ami Shah, MD

Neuro-ophthalmology and Oculoplastics Fellowship

Ohio State University


Matthew Feng, MD

Cornea Fellowship
Private Practice Group

Cornea Associates of Indiana

Indianapolis, IN

Thiripurasundari Pugazhendhi, MBBS

Glaucoma Fellowship

Private Practice Group

University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha



Carmen Felix-Tacoronte, MD

Cornea Fellowship
Private Practice Group

Boston Eye Group
Tucson, AZ


Leslie Garay, MD

Cornea Fellowship
Private Practice Group

University of California/San Diego
Flemington, NJ

Tucson and Arizona

Tucson is a unique community that combines Indian, Spanish, Mexican, and pioneer influences with the cultural offers of a modern cosmopolitan center and breathtaking scenic beauty.

Located in a desert valley surrounded by mountain ranges, Tucson is part of the Sonoran Desert. Days here are warm; nights are mild year-round. With an average of 314 days of sunshine each year, Tucson is an ideal setting for bicycling, tennis, golf, swimming, and running. For those who prefer winter sports, the southern-most ski area in the United States lies just an hour’s drive away in the majestic Catalina Mountains, which rise 9,300 feet. The mountains around Tucson attract climbers, hikers, cyclists, equestrians, picnickers, skiers, and both amateur and professional plant and animal observers. Many visitors are surprised at the lushness of the Sonoran Desert, which is home to hundreds of varieties of endemic cacti, trees, and animals. In spring, the desert may be carpeted with wildflowers, and the summer rainy season brings dramatic lightning displays.

The metropolitan area, with a population of over 800,000, boasts symphony, opera and light opera companies, ballet, theater, zoo, museums of art, natural history and Arizona history, the world-famous Sonora Desert Museum, and other attractions. In the Tucson area are San Xavier Del Bac Mission, Kartchner Caverns, Biosphere, and Tubac, the oldest European settlement in Arizona. In addition, there are the year-round musical, theatrical, educational, and scientific presentations of The University of Arizona.

Nearby are two major astronomical exploration centers: Kitt Peak, which houses one of the world’s largest solar telescopes, and Mt. Hopkins, where the Smithsonian Institution has established the first of a new generation of multiple-mirror stellar telescopes. State and national parks, forests, wilderness areas, Sabino Canyon, and the Saguaro National Monuments are within easy reach of Tucson.

Tucson has excellent educational facilities. In addition to The University of Arizona, Pima Community College serves 25,000 students. Seven public school districts serve the Tucson area, as well as many private and parochial schools.

A few famous Arizona sites include the Grand Canyon; the red rocks of Sedona; Oak Creek Canyon; Tombstone, the western town "too tough to die"; and the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

For further information about the residency program, contact:

          Pat Broyles
          Program Coordinator
          (520) 322-3800 ext. 202
          FAX: (520) 321-3665