New Member
10+ Year Member
Jan 16, 2005
I'm just wondering if anyone can give me an idea of just how much research is considered by most programs to be a positive factor in one's application.

I know anything is better than nothing but say all the other aspects of your application are ok, or fairly ok, and you really need the boost from research.

How many case reports is decent?

I'd appreciate any ideas...


Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
Moderator Emeritus
Lifetime Donor
15+ Year Member
Oct 1, 2002
San Diego, CA
Attending Physician
Case reports are not research.

Case reports help to show that you have interest in ophthalmology.

Research does not help unless you're applying to one of the top 10 programs, otherwise, I think it's a space filler unless you found a novel gene.


10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 24, 2005
I agree with Andrew. It definitely shows interest and the ability to talk about a topic intelligently during an interview. I dont think it will necessarily make or break your application.

On the otherhand, if you do a quality project and are able to get it published it is definitely impressive. Plus if in the process you are working with a big wig and/or are able to get a solid letter out of it, it may have an impact on setting you apart from that >250 + AOA student.

Whatever you do, do it with passion, sincerity and dedication and be able to discuss it intelligently at an interview. Never make you're project out to be more than it is, it will definitely bite you in the ass in the end.

Mirror Form

Thyroid Storm
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
May 8, 2003
Visit site
Attending Physician
Andrew_Doan said:
Research does not help unless you're applying to one of the top 10 programs, otherwise, I think it's a space filler unless you found a novel gene.
I wouldn't say that research is completely unhelpful. At the very least, research will:

1) Provide a topic to discuss during your interviews that is interesting and also gives you a chance to show off some knowledge.
2) Show that you want to contribute to the field of ophthalmology. Most program directors and chairmen do research, so they like other people who also do research.
3) Show that you're dedicated to the field, and are less likely to switch to gen surg after matching.
4) Allow you to get to know your research advisor well and get a good letter (this is nice if you can do some research with a well known ophthalmologist).

Granted, most research projects aren't the most important parts of your application. But if you can spare the time, doing a research project is worth considering. Also, if you do a project and submit your abstract to ARVO, you get to go down and present at the annual meeting.


Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Nov 7, 2004
Everyone on the interview trail goes around telling people that thay want to do academic research - a lot of it is BS, but apparently its what the interview committees at top programs want to hear. If you have some actual research then they may actually believe you.

Plus, there are bunches of M.D./PhD's out there applying to Ophtho - and there are some schools that require students to do research e.g Duke, UPenn - so it helps to have research to compete with these people.

Then again there are plenty of porgrams that are more interested in stuff like personality & community service and reserach isn't essential. These same programs tend to be somewhat suspicious of people from big schools (eg Duke/UPenn). It just depends what sort of program you're interested in.