The Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences invests heavily in educating and training eye physicians and surgeons.

Medical Students

The Department is active in didactic teaching for first and second year medical students. Third year medical students have the opportunity to do a clinical selective rotation in Ophthalmology. Fourth year students may do a one-month sub-internship in Ophthalmology.

The Department also mentors students interested in pursuing Ophthalmology as a career. Students can access residency match advising. The Department provides support for the Fellowship of Future Ophthalmologists (medical student interest group).

The department also supports the Community Vision Project in which medical students perform screen eye examinations for underserved patients.


The University of New Mexico, in combination with the Veterans Administration of New Mexico, has been a host to 10 senior ophthalmology residents each year currently from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pennsylvania and Tufts University in Boston Massachusetts. This collaborative educational experience provides an intensive surgical and clinical experience in a broad range of diseases.

The rotation consolidates a resident’s ability to provide primary ophthalmic care and emphasizes blinding conditions in a population of patients distinctly different from those encountered in their home programs. These diseases include ocular trauma, severe diabetic eye disease, advanced cataracts, pterygium, and subacute glaucomas. The rotation involves a significant amount of indigent care. In addition, Hispanic, Native American, and rural patients provide a unique learning opportunity, exposing residents to distinctive cultures and medical concerns.

Residents at UNM can expect to perform high volume cataract surgery, joining a variety of subspecialty and comprehensive cataract surgeons several days each week in the operating room. This is unique in resident training and in contrast to many residency programs in the US where residents are in the OR only once per week during a surgical rotation.

This high volume surgery greatly impacts the speed of the learning curve for new cataract surgeons. And this surgical experience when combined with the clinical experience of managing patients in New Mexico's only Level 1 trauma center offers senior residents a unique experience not unlike a fellowship. Residents at UNM hit the ground running and return to their home programs with new confidence, new skills, new friends/colleagues, and many southwestern memories.


The Southwest Combined Cornea and Glaucoma fellowship is a true anterior segment fellowship aimed at providing a solid experience in both areas of sub-specialization and preparing applicants for diverse future practice settings. The core experience will be in complex cataract surgery, medical and surgical cornea and glaucoma management; this is also coupled with a refractive experience in both laser vision correction and refractive cataract surgery.

During this fellowship the applicant will examine patients and perform surgeries in both an academic and private practice setting; being exposed to the different technologies, instruments, and techniques at both institutions. The fellow will divide time among Drs. Alexander Davis (Academic Cornea and Refractive), Rachel Davis (Academic Glaucoma), and Kenneth Downes (Private Practice Cornea and Refractive).

During this time, the fellow will gain hands-on experience in the pre-operative evaluation, performance and post-operative care of the full spectrum of cornea, glaucoma and anterior segment surgical procedures. These will include penetrating, lamellar and endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK, DMEK), limbal stem cell and amniotic membrane transplantation, glaucoma laser surgery, MIGS surgery (including GATT, Kahook Dual blade, ABiC, iStent inject, Hydrus, and Xen), trabeculectomy, tube shunts, pterygium surgery, complex cataract surgery and MSICS (manual small incision extracapsular cataract surgery), secondary intraocular lens implants (including scleral sutured lenses), anterior segment reconstructive procedures such as iris repair, repair of corneal trauma, and refractive surgery (PRK, PTK, LASIK and incisional procedures).

Additionally, the fellow will manage infectious and inflammatory corneal disorders, ocular surface disorders, full spectrum of mild - severe glaucoma, secondary glaucomas as well as rare anterior segment disorders and post-traumatic eyes. Research is supported but is not required.


All applicants must be:


As part of the role of an attending physician, the fellow will have their own clinic as well as staff residents as appropriate and generate additional surgical volume for non-specialty related cases (eg. Cataract surgery). The fellow will also participate in grand rounds and other lectures throughout the academic year and be expected to present at least one grand round and/or journal club during their time.

Fellows will also assist with UNM hospital and private practice call, and coordinate care as necessary with other call providers.


The Southwest Combined Cornea and Glaucoma fellowship participates in the San Francisco Match Program: #7034.

Program Director: Alexander Davis, MD, PhD

Additional Faculty: Rachel Davis, MD; Kenneth Downes, MD

Program length: 1 year (beginning in July)

Number of positions: 1

SF Match number: 7034