CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Journal of Academic Ophthalmology 2018; 10(01): e150-e157
DOI: 10.1055/s-0038-1673675
Research Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Probability of Success in the Ophthalmology Residency Match: Three-Year Outcomes Analysis of San Francisco Matching Program Data

R. Michael Siatkowski
1   Department of Ophthalmology, Dean McGee Eye Institute, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Shahzad I. Mian
2   Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Susan M. Cullican
3   Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri
Laura K. Green
4   Krieger Eye Institute, Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland
Grace Sun
5   Department of Ophthalmology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York
Evan L. Waxman
6   Eye Center, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Laura L. Wayman
7   Department of Ophthalmology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee
Julie Stoner
8   Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Xi Chen
8   Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Steven Feldon
9   Department of Ophthalmology, Flaum Eye Institute, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York
for the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology › Author Affiliations
Funding The Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology supported the statistical analysis performed by Dr. Stoner and Ms. Chen. Dr. Cullican received support from awards to the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Washington University from a Research to Prevent Blindness, unrestricted grant (New York, NY), the NIH Vision Core Grant P30 EY 0268 (Bethesda, MD). The funding organizations had no role in the design or conduct of this research. The study was supported in part by an unrestricted grant from Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc, NY, NY (RMS).
Further Information

Publication History

17 August 2018

03 September 2018

Publication Date:
29 October 2018 (online)


Objective To develop a probability model of matching into a US ophthalmology residency program using San Francisco Matching Program (SF Match) data.

Design Retrospective data analysis of de-identified application and matching data.

Participants Registrants for the 2013, 2014, and 2015 ophthalmology residency matches conducted by the SF Match.

Methods Descriptive statistics of candidates, comparison of continuous and categorical variables between matched and nonmatched candidates, and linear regression modeling were performed. A recursive partitioning method was used to create a probability of matching algorithm.

Main Outcome Measures Probability of successfully matching based on quantifiable candidate characteristics.

Results Over the 3-year period, 1,959 individuals submitted an average of 64 applications and received a mean of nine interview invitations. The overall match rate was 71%, with 78% matching at one of their top five choices. Successful matches were more likely to occur in US medical school graduates (78% vs 20%, p < 0.001) and applicants on their first attempt (76% vs 29%, p < 0.001). The association between matching and number of programs applied became negative with > 48 applications. Probability of matching was “high” (> 80%) among US graduates with a step 1 United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) score >243 (regardless of number of programs applied to), a step 1 USMLE score of 231 to 243 who applied to at least 30 programs, and first-time applicants with a step 1 score >232. No international medical graduates or repeat applicants had a “high” probability of matching.

Conclusions Although advice must be individualized for each candidate, applicants for ophthalmology residency who fall into a “high” probability of matching group are likely to be successful with applications to 45 or fewer programs. Applying to 80 or more programs should be considered for international medical graduates and/or applicants who are previously unmatched. Modification of the match application data form may allow more detailed analysis of variables such as Alpha Omega Alpha or Gold Humanism Honor Society membership, research activity, and composite evaluation on a standardized letter of recommendation.

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