Predictors of Matching in an Ophthalmology Residency Program

Published:December 26, 2012DOI:


      To examine the characteristics of US medical students applying for ophthalmology residency and to determine the predictors of matching.


      A retrospective case series.


      A total of 3435 medical students from the United States who applied to an ophthalmology residency program from 2003 to 2008 were included.


      Matched and unmatched applicants were compared and stratified by predictor variables, including United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 score, Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) status, medical school reputation, and medical school geographic region. Differences in proportions were analyzed using the Fisher exact test. Logistic regression was used to determine the predictors of successful matching.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Successful matching to an ophthalmology program.


      The majority of applicants (72%, 2486/3435) matched in ophthalmology. In multivariate analysis, AOA membership (odds ratio [OR], 2.6, P<0.0001), USMLE score (OR, 1.6; P<0.0001), presence of an ophthalmology residency at medical school (OR, 1.4; P = 0.01), top 25 medical school (OR, 1.4; P<0.03), top 10 medical school (OR, 1.6; P<0.02), and allopathic degree (OR, 4.0; P<0.0001) were statistically significant predictors of matching. Approximately 60% (1442/2486) of applicants matched to the same geographic region as their medical school. Applicants were more likely to match at a program in the same geographic region as their medical school than would be predicted by chance alone (P<0.0001). In multivariate analysis, higher USMLE score (OR, 0.9; P<0.0001) and top 10 medical school (OR, 0.7; P = 0.027) were statistically significant predictors of matching to outside the geographic region as one's medical school.


      The majority of applicants applying for an ophthalmology residency position match successfully. Higher performance on quantitative metrics seems to confer an advantage for matching. The majority of applicants match at a residency program within the same geographic region as one's medical school.

      Financial Disclosure(s)

      The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.
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