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Retina Fellowship

UCI offers training in medical retina and vitreoretinal surgery. Two training pathways lasting 24-months. Vitreoretinal Surgery retina fellowship and Clinical and Research International Retinal Fellowship.


Clinical and surgical training is supervised by Baruch Kuppermann, MD, PhD, Stephanie Lu, MD, Mitul Mehta, MD, Mohammed Riazi, MD, and Andrew Browne, MD, PhD, at the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute at the UCI Medical Center in Orange and on the UCI campus, and at Veterans Administration Medical Center in Long Beach. 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.

Two training pathways lasting 24-months exist:

Vitreoretinal Surgery retina fellowship

  • One U.S. board-eligible ophthalmologist is accepted as a clinical/surgical fellow each year
  • Fellows see patients in UCI and VA clinics as well as perform vitreoretinal surgery with attending staff.
  • Fellows spend 3-5 half days per week in the operating room.

Clinical and Research International Retinal Fellowship

  • International retinal fellows are accepted on a rolling basis. International fellows must have completed a retina fellowship in their home country.
  • Current international retina fellows spend about 80 percent of their time engaged in research, about 10 percent seeing clinical patients and about 10 percent observing vitreo-retinal surgery at UCI.
  • 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 UCI Medical Center, working with Dr. Kuppermann.
  • Retinal research fellows, working under the supervision of Drs.Kuppermann and Browne, have a choice of areas in which to conduct their research.
  • To apply for an international fellowship, please e-mail your CV and subspecialty of interest to Department of Ophthalmology Fellowship Coordinator Natally Alvarado |

American Vitreoretinal Surgery Fellowship Eligibility Requirements

Fellowship applicants must have:

  • A medical degree from a U.S. or Canadian medical school approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education
  • Satisfactorily completed steps one, two and three of the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)
  • Successfully completed the Ophthalmic Knowledge Assessment Program (OKAP)
  • Successfully completed a three-year ophthalmology residency
  • A California medical license before beginning the fellowship 
  • Be a U.S. citizen

Application Procedures

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

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

Natally Alvarado
Fellowship Coordinator
Department of Ophthalmology
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-4375
Phone: 949-824-7105

Interview Process

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


  • Choices for health, vision and dental insurance are available through the Veterans 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 academic year
    -Financial support to attend major scientific meetings when the fellow is a first author on a paper or abstract