Glaucoma Fellowship at UPMC

From left to right: UPMC Glaucoma Fellowship Director Dr. Nils Loewen and Glaucoma Faculty Drs. Schuman, Miller and Conner.

Our mission is to train emerging clinician-scientists like you and to provide you with 1. excellent surgical skills, both new and classic ones, 2. current clinical knowledge and 3. compelling research opportunities. We want you to become a leading academic glaucoma specialists.

We offer 2 clincal glauocma fellowship positions that are AUPO certified:
  • Duration: 1 year
  • 1 Fellow
  • Visas Accepted: H1B or O-1 Visas
  • Interview Cycle : Every year
The Department of Ophthalmology at UPMC is a nationwide technology leader and has a long track record of developing and implementing new devices, techniques and software, especially in Glaucoma.   
        Especially in Glaucoma, diagnosis and treatment decisions are increasingly technology and data-analysis driven, exceeding and supplementing the abilities of an unaided human observer. You will have the unique opportunity to master these new tools already before they become available on a larger scale. This allows you to efficiently pursue research projects during your fellowship with us.
        The vision of our Chair, Dr. Joel Schuman, who is both a Professor of Ophthalmology and of Bioengineering, permeates our department, giving the translational and basic research activities here immediacy and weight: there are 12 investigators with R01 grants in our department and 17 total who contribute to a Vision Core research grant. Patient care, education and research are seamlessly integrated and physically located in the same building, in the Eye and Ear Institute. The lab space for research alone exceeds 20,000 sqft in the main building.

The tradition of UPMC's Glaucoma Service - to improve patient care by spearheading clinical and surgical technologies while also performing translational science - is continued under the leadership of the new Glaucoma Fellowship Director, Nils Loewen, MD, PhD who is also the Director of the Glaucoma and Anterior Segment Surgery and the Director of Health Information Technology.  

As our Glaucoma Fellow, you will become an active member of the Glaucoma Service, working closely with all full-time clinical glaucoma faculty — Joel Schuman, MD, Ian Conner, MD, PhDJulia Polat, MD and Nils Loewen, MD, PhD — and the Glaucoma Resident in the clinical and surgical care of our glaucoma patients. The Clinical Glaucoma Fellowship at UPMC is a one-year program, usually beginning in July. 


This clinic includes an array of state-of-the-art equipment including:
  • 28 exam rooms in the main clinic (not counting satellite facilities)
  • one of the first and most mature Epic electronic medical record systems in Ophthalmology that provides powerful analysis (e.g. IOP, RNFL, macular thickness trend graphs that is correlated with medications and events) and research data mining tools for data spanning more than a decade
  • Zeiss Forum data management system
  • several laser treatment rooms with argon, SLT, YAG, and diode lasers
  • several perimetry rooms with most current Humphrey and progression software, as well as Octopus, and Goldmann perimeters
  • an enormous photography and optic disc imaging suite with state-of-the-art Topcon fundus cameras for simultaneous digital color stereo and nerve fiber layer photography, Spectral Domain OCT, and a confocal laser tomography system (HRT3)
  • anterior segment evaluation with UBM and Visante OCT testing
  • state-of-the-art biometry for premium lenses with the Haag-Streit Lenstar LS 900
  • topography and cornea assessment with the wavefront analyzer Zeiss ATLAS™ 9000, OCULUS Pentacam, Orbscan and Konan specular microscopy

A portion of the fellow's week is spent on this service, examining patients with faculty members and performing laser surgery, including trabeculoplasty, iridotomy, and cyclophotocoagulation.

Surgical Procedures

Our fellowship emphasizes new glaucoma surgeries and vision restoration. Practically, that means that we often perform same session glaucoma and cataract surgery with premium lenses. 
        Because of this, it is important that applicants already have very good cataract surgery skills to be able to handle the large amount of complex cataract surgery in this fellowship.

We operate at two surgical centers that allow up to 23 cases per day per single attending. In all, there are four dedicated, fully-equipped operating rooms with 
  • state-of-the-art Zeiss Lumera xenon light microscopes and some Leica microscopes
  • true stereo assistant attachments
  • 1080 HD digital recording equipment
  • 5 Alcon Infiniti phacoemulsification units with ip software and range of tip styles
  • Bausch & Lomb Stellaris PC phacoemulsification unit
  • range of standard and premium lenses (toric, diffractive, pseudo-accommodative) from different manufacturers
  • range of valved and non-valved glaucoma drainage implants
  • large range of horizontal, vertical and combined choppers
  • 2 trabectome units
All surgeries are recorded and critically reviewed by the surgeon and peers after each day. Surgical procedures performed by the Glaucoma Section include:
  • trabectome (ab interno trabeculectomies), iStent, canaloplasty
  • drainage implant devices
  • trabeculectomies with mitomycin C
  • endocyclophotocoagulation
  • combined glaucoma surgeries
  • trabeculotomies and goniotomies (for childhood glaucomas)
  • cataract surgery using different strategies and lens types
  • combined phacoemulsification and glaucoma surgeries for patients with co-existing cataracts and glaucoma
  • anterior segment reconstruction
The fellow will either assist a faculty member in these procedures or serve as primary surgeon with assistance by a faculty member.

Class 1 case counts are typically close to 
  1. 30 trabeculectomies
  2. 60 tube shunts,  
  3. 100 complex cataracts
  4. 50 trabectome ab interno trabeculectomies.
  5. 10 endocyclophotocoagulations (ECP)
  6. 5 pediatric goniotomies

Many of the surgeries the following link were performed by fellows: 
more videos:

Current Glaucoma Fellows

1-Year Fellow: 
Dr. Eric Brown. Residency at Missouri U, Medical School and PhD in Biochemistry: Iowa U; BA Mathematics and Chemistry. Research during during his fellowship here in outcomes Big Data analysis and development of ophthalmology expert systems and pathway software. 
Dr. Brown is a prolific computer programmer who wrote several Android applications with more than 50k installations and contributed to CT imaging software. 

2-Year Fellow: 
Dr. Julia Polat, Residency at WVU, Medical School: Boston University; BS in Biology. Dr. Polat has comprehensive research experience with bioengineering, in particular the Boston Prosthesis and coating technologies. Her current research interest during her two years with us is concerned with outflow tract attenuation following various glaucoma surgery modalities.


The Glaucoma Fellow has certain independent responsibilities in addition to his/her training at the Glaucoma Clinic and Surgical Center.
As a Clinical Instructor faculty member, the fellow participates in the on-call schedule with other faculty members. This involves backing up the residents for nighttime and weekend emergencies and occasionally assisting the residents in or performing emergency surgery.
The Fellow also participates in the Glaucoma Conferences and various other activities.


Although this is a clinical fellowship, participation in research projects is encouraged and desired. We anticipate that one or more of the research projects performed by our fellows will lead to publications in peer-reviewed journals.

At UPMC, the environment to perform clinical research and basic research during a Glaucoma Fellowship is exceptionally strong. In some cases, a two-year fellowship can be arranged, with one year in the laboratory. There are also ample opportunities to work on basic research during a one-year fellowship, for instance in the Loewen lab or in any of the other labs.

How to Apply

To apply for a Clinical Glaucoma Fellowship at UPMC, or to learn more about the Program, contact Ms. Siobahn Gallagher at or 412-647-2256. All applications are handled through the Glaucoma Fellowship MatchOur program is in full compliance with the high standards set forth by the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology Fellowship Compliance Committee (AUPO FCC).

Siobahn Gallagher
GME Sr. Department Manager
Eye & Ear Institute
203 Lothrop Street, Rm 821.1
Pittsburgh, PA 15213