Eye Residents

Program Overview

Ophthalmology Residency Program
Upstate Specialty Services at Harrison Center
Suites E and L,
550 Harrison Street
Syracuse, NY 13202
Map & directions
Phone: 315 464-5253
Hours: 8:30 am- 4:30 pm M-F
Name: Rachel Kammer, Residency Coordinator
Email: KammerR@upstate.edu
Dr. Swan
Robert T. Swan, MD
Residency Director

The Department of Ophthalmology at the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University at Syracuse is a multifaceted organization drawing on the expertise and dedication of dozens of leading physicians and research scientists to provide medicine with advances in research, innovation in patient care, and quality instruction in the practice of ophthalmology.

The Department's facility, known as the University Center for Vision Care, accommodates a resident training facility with phaco lab and sub-specialty consultation. The Department incorporates and serves three of the five hospitals operating in the Syracuse metropolitan area - The SUNY Upstate Medical University Hospital, Crouse Hospital (a private institution), and the Veterans Administration Medical Center. Together, these form the primary ophthalmic referral and teaching centers for the approximately two million people residing in the Central New York region. The residency education program is three years long.

The Department's training program has been strong in providing a broad-based, high-volume, well-supervised educational experiences for promising residents. Thanks to the breadth of study and experience that the program offers, program graduates display competency in all areas of comprehensive ophthalmology. Graduates of the program who choose sub-specialization typically obtain top fellowships across the country.

Vibrant and growing, the Department of Ophthalmology traces its roots back more than 120 years, yet works continuously toward the future, fulfilling the motto that describes its purpose: "To Learn, To Search, To Serve."

How is our program different from other programs?

  • The clinic, inpatient and surgical facilities utilized by the program are within one block of the Upstate Medical University, and nearly all of the Ophthalmologists in the metropolitan area are members of the teaching faculty.
  • The lack of any fellowship programs assures that residents have in depth instruction in all subspecialty areas.
  • The Upstate Medical University is the only tertiary center serving approximately 1 million people.
  • The cost of living in the Central New York region is one of the least expensive in the nation.
  • Major skiing, fishing, and outdoor recreation areas are within 30 minutes of the medical center.

What qualities should an applicant have?

  • A solid academic foundation in the basic and clinical sciences.
  • Small group compatibility.
  • Demonstrated teaching skills.
  • Demonstrated compatibility with support personnel.

Residents are admitted to the program on the advice of the Residency Selection Committee. The committee encourages competitive candidates to spend a day in the Department, tour the campus, talk with current residents, and interview with the faculty. Grades, test scores, letters of recommendation, and personal interviews all play a role in shaping the committee's decisions. J-1 visas are accepted. H1B visas are not accepted.

Educational Requirements

All applicants must have graduated from an allopathic or osteopathic medical school.

All applicants, both graduates of allopathic and osteopathic medical schools, entering ophthalmology training programs must have completed a postgraduate clinical year (PGY-1) in a program in the United States accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) or a program in Canada approved by the appropriate accrediting body in Canada. The PGY-1 must be comprised of training in which the resident has primary responsibility for patient care in fields such as internal medicine, neurology, pediatrics, surgery, family practice, or emergency medicine. As a minimum, 6 months of this year must consist of a broad experience in direct patient care. An individual must have completed an accredited PGY-1 in the United States or in Canada prior to the start of the ophthalmology residency.

All candidates entering residency or fellowship programs at Upstate on or after July 1, 2017 will be subject to a pre-employment (post-offer) drug test.  This includes any prior Upstate resident/fellow who has had a break in service and is returning to employment.  For candidates entering residency or fellowship programs at Upstate, drug screening and final results must be available prior to the first day of their program as a prerequisite to employment.