Why Choose the Wills Eye Residency?

Wills Eye has one of the largest and foremost residency programs in the United States. The Wills Eye faculty, uniquely comprised of both full-time academic track and part-time private practitioners who are renowned clinician-scientists and educators, all contribute to ensuring your mastery of skills and competencies needed to build a future in any subspecialty of ophthalmology. Our esprit-de-corps culture encourages professional curiosity, inspires new ideas, and supports personal growth, career development, collaboration, and life-long learning.
Our diverse patient population and extensive referral networks around the world provide trainees with the experience and knowledge to treat not only routine, but also rare and complex diseases of the eye.
Our global initiatives, such as the Wills International Resident Experience (WIRE), enable trainees to acquire knowledge and skill across physical, cultural, and national boundaries as we strive to prevent blindness worldwide.
After graduation, the Wills Eye Alumni Society promotes activities and networking opportunities to connect alumni through conferences, social events, newsletters, and more.

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About the Wills Eye Residency

Wills Eye Hospital provides outstanding clinical training, individualized career mentoring, and an academic environment that fosters innovation, collaboration, and discovery. Our pillars of clinical care, education, and research have made us a global leader in ophthalmology.

How to Apply
Meet Our Residents
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How to Apply

Applications for residency must be submitted through the Central Application Service (CAS) of the San Francisco Matching Program. We do not require additional materials or paperwork. Only applicants who meet the eligibility and selection requirements will be considered.
SF Match will release applications in September 2024 for the class of 2029. Deadline for receipt of materials from CAS is October 1, 2024. After all applications have been reviewed by the entire committee, invitations to interview will be extended in mid-to-late November. Interviews will be held on December 16 and 17, 2024.
For more information on the application process, please email: residencyselection@willseye.org.

Application FAQs

How many applications do you receive and what are you looking for in an applicant?
We receive more than 700 applications and carefully review each one. Our Selection Committee is comprised of 19 members, both faculty and residents. With so many talented and impressive individuals, it is an extremely difficult decision. We look for intelligent, compassionate individuals who are team players and eager to learn in a program with a large clinical volume.

Do you have a cut-off for USMLE Step 2 score?
We do not have a minimum USMLE score requirement. We review all applications thoroughly and do not screen applications based upon scores.

Do you have any unfilled positions?
We do not have any vacancies. The best way to find unfilled positions is to contact the San Francisco Match.

Do you consider foreign graduates?
We accept applications from international medical graduates who meet eligibility requirements including GME guidelines and Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine requirements for VISA status and sponsorship during training.
For specific questions, please contact Jefferson's Office of International Affairs.

Living in Philadelphia
Philadelphia is renowned as the birthplace of the United States, filled with history and world-class institutions which seamlessly integrate with modern food, theater, art, film, music, outdoors, and nightlife. It's a liveable, walkable city with great public transit and reasonable rents.
Philadelphia City Hall and skyline
Ice skating at Dilworth Plaza
Philadelphia is home to four major league sports teams.
Program FAQs

How many residents are in your program? Currently, we have 24 residents with eight positions offered each year.
What do your graduates do? We aim to equip our residents with the foundation and skills needed to do whatever they choose. Depending upon individual interests and aspirations, each year roughly half our residents enter practice and half pursue subspecialty training. Our graduates have pursued fellowship in every subspecialty, although Retina, Oculoplastics, and Cornea have been the most popular choices of our recent graduates.
What are your strengths? Some of our greatest strengths include our clinical volume and research, the Eye Emergency Department, and expert faculty in every subspecialty – including Ocular Pathology. We are especially proud of our talented residents who continue the Wills Eye tradition of esprit de corps among faculty, staff, trainees, and support personnel.
What is the schedule for each year?
PGY 2: Residents spend the bulk of their time in general clinics, the Emergency Room, Pathology, Neuro-Ophthalmology Service, and the Oculoplastics Service. First-years perform minor procedures and lasers as well as extraocular surgery including enucleations/eviscerations and muscle surgeries. They also rotate through each of the major subspecialty Services.

PGY 3: Residents spend more time in the subspecialty Services with increased responsibility for patient care and teaching. They are primarily responsible for the emergency room both during the day and overnight and for inpatient consults at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Second-years perform cataract surgery and more complicated lasers and minor procedures.

PGY 4: Residents function with increased responsibility in the general and subspecialty clinics and perform all types of ocular surgery. Every case is directly supervised; in a supportive learning environment, residents develop skills and confidence so they can perform surgery competently and independently.
What is a resident's pay and what benefits are available?
House Staff Stipends: click here.
Benefits: click here.
What are the didactic sessions like? We host a robust series of didactic lectures, case presentations, and surgical conferences. The Academic Calendar outlines educational sessions offered throughout the year. The Professional Monthly Bulletin lists specific activities for each day of the month.
Do you have an OKAP review course? Yes. Residents have full access to the Annual Wills Review Course and protected morning study time for 7 weeks prior to the OKAP..
Do you have an Ophthalmic library? Yes. Residents have 24/7 access to the Charles D. Kelman Library at Wills Eye, and the Scott Memorial Library at Jefferson.
Do you have a wet lab for residents to practice? Yes. Our residents have both wetlab and drylab practice opportunities. Each year, our faculty organize microsurgical, phacoemulsification, orbital dissection, suturing and subspecialty surgical courses and labs. In addition, residents work with faculty surgical mentors and have 24/7 access to a state-of-the-art practice lab. It contains the same equipment we use in the Operating Room.

Are residents required to perform research?
Yes. Residents may choose from the many research opportunities with faculty in each subspecialty or design their own projects. Although many residents complete several projects, each resident is expected to complete one publication-quality project during training. All research costs as well as travel and lodging related to presentations of projects are funded.



A selection committee reviews all applicants, selects applicants for interview, participates in the interview process and in the final choice of applicants. Click here to view the Committee members.